When I was 16 years old Hunter, our chunky cocker spaniel, waddled out of my mom’s purse and into our lives for the next 12 years. He ate everything except green beans, just like me, and he tinkled if he was happy to see you (not exactly like me).
Hunter was my heartbreak pet. He saw me through every boyfriend, every breakup, and was with us long enough to meet Michael and give his sniffs of approval.
Like many pets, he was more than a dog, Hunter was a family member. My parents referred to him as my brother. He was so close to my heart that I included him in the “In Remembrance” portion of our wedding program. “Bride’s most loyal companion.”
This however, is not a story about the dog. This is a story about the vet.
Today I had to take Riggins to the vet and a memory of Hunter and I immediately sprung to mind.
When Hunter was out in public, he would always get the same type of responses from people. After doting on him for being cute and well-behaved they would say things like:
“Oh, he’s a chunker!”
“That’s a big boy!”
“He sure is hefty.”
Or the occasional, unwelcome gasp of, “Oh my god, he’s so fat!” … Pardon me, Margaret*, so are your ankles but I am not squeezing them and expecting you to grin.
Before I continue, I need to emphasize that we absolutely adored the veterinarian. He was an older gentleman who had been a vet for many years and had the kindest disposition. All the animals and their owners loved him. He would always see Hunter and say, “Look at this happy, healthy little piglet!” and Hunter would roll on to his back and show his very pink and piglety belly to the doctor for a rub. Before ending the appointment, the vet would gently mention that we probably needed to take Hunter on more walks and give him less treats. The vet wasn’t wrong. Hunter ate everything, even an entire bag of chocolate kisses (twice!) and had glittery foil potty for the days following.
On one particularly memorable visit to the vet, the doctor was finishing up Hunter’s physical. He said, “Give me just a second, I’ll be right back.” The doctor walked back in with a shopping bag and said, “Here is Hunter’s medication and I put in some good information for you..” I saw a little book in the bag and assumed it was info about the heartworm medication Hunter was taking. I didn’t have time to look at it just then, what with the dog, my purse, and medication all in hand, so I smiled and said, “Thank you very much!” and made my way to the car.
It wasn’t until I got home and unloaded Hunter and my belongings that I pulled out the book. Much to my chagrin it was not a book about heartworm medication. I can’t remember the exact title, but it might as well have been called Portly Pups and People: Losing Weight with our Four Legged Friends. I stood, mouth agape, in stunned silence for about three seconds and then I laughed. I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself (just like Hunter). The veterinarian had called me out in the nicest way he could manage. It was hilarious.
And that is the story of how I was “fat-shamed” by the vet. Quotations because I say that as jokingly as possible. If I was a different person, I might have gotten upset or offended, but to be fair, was the vet wrong about me or Hunter? Absolutely not! We were both happy little piglets who could use the information he gave us. Did we? No, but it makes for a good story.
It’s so important to be willing to laugh at yourself and find the humor when others hunt for offense. People who love to be offended end up the Margarets of the world, miserable, bitter, and recoiling at the sight of a precious, chunky dog. We know it’s true because we see their rants on Facebook.
I hope your week is full of laughter.
*I don’t know anyone named Margaret. If you do, I apologize in advance. But also, you could just laugh because I’m probably right.
Note: I know my posts are often faith based or words of encouragement, but sometimes we need to read something lighthearted. I’ve written about how I’ve done every diet you can possibly imagine and even some you can’t. I’m thinking about adding an additional blog series with a short story about those adventures. All lighthearted. Maybe a different day of the week? Maybe once or twice a month? What do you think?