I briefly mentioned Wesley, my foster chihuahua, awhile back in a general post about life. Since then, I have officially adopted him and we’re very happy together.
What I’m not happy about, however, is the comments I get from strangers about his body.
You read that right — random people come up and make their opinions known about the size and shape of my dog. Just like they do for people, they think that his appearance is up for public commentary.
When I first got Wes, he was very skinny. You could feel his spine and ribs in a pretty pronounced way. The vet point-blank told me he was underweight. Of course he was! Someone found him abandoned, so who knows how much he was eating — even when he was with people, if they were the type who would abandon a dog, they probably didn’t take great care of him. He was not neutered, and his nails were overgrown too. So yeah, he was too skinny.
If someone told me this about their dog, my response would probably be something like, “poor baby, I’m glad he has you to take care of him now.” No comments on his weight because I assume his human and his vet know him best.
Except that’s not how it happened. When I would be telling people about him, inevitably I’d get to the part about him being underweight. Many people would give a reasonable response like the one above. However, far too many others (really, any is too many) would tell me that he looks fine how he is and not to let him gain too much weight.
I’m not kidding. There are people who would respond to this adorable pup’s sad story by telling me not to “let” him get chubby. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised — messed up body image is a helluva drug, and it runs deep in our society. But it’s appalling to me that anyone would say that. But they did — multiple people, in fact!
He has since gained weight and become “normal,” so this doesn’t come up so much anymore. However, I know that if he gets much bigger and looks chubby, I’ll get more unwanted comments. My late pup Zelda was a bit on the corpulent side, especially as she got sicker, and people remarked on it all the time.
All I want for my dog is that he’s happy and healthy, so we can have as much time together as possible. Whatever size he is for that to happen is fine by me. It’s not anyone else’s business.
If you see a random dog on the street, just like with people, refrain from commenting on its weight. This isn’t hard! Just don’t mention it! Mention how sweet, adorable, or charming the pupper is, not how fat or thin it may be. Animals and humans come in varying shapes and sizes, and they’re all OK — and they’re all none of your business.