Bad Mom Update

Solomon, as I was writing this. (Note blurred motion in tail area.)

So, I started a whole long post about cooking this morning, which I will probably go back to next week (since it’s more than half-finished, and that’s the kind of thing I like to have handy on vacay). Today, I need to tell you about the trip I just took to the vet.

It was just supposed to be for the puppers’ annual vaccinations. No problem. But of course, ten seconds after we walk in the door, Lucille starts bleeding from her fucking eyeball.

Now, Lucille has always had “weepy” eyes, and because she’s white, they leave disgusting brown streaks down the sides of her nose. That’d be the chihuahua in her. The thing I miss most about Maxine, her mother, is that she used to lick that goop off Lucy’s face every fifteen minutes; I’ve never been able to interest Solomon in doing that, and I have learned that as soon as I wipe it off with a Kleenex, it just comes right back. So Lucy’s face really only gets cleaned up when she goes to the groomer or when Mean Asian Girl comes over, because the latter can’t stand looking at it.

The last time my dogsitter, Tess — who’s also a vet tech at the animal hospital we go to — was here, she left a note saying, “L’s right eye is weepy.” I read that, said, “No shit,” and forgot about it.

Fast forward to today, when I’m sitting in the waiting room at the vet, look down, and see the goop coming from Lucille’s right eye is BRIGHT RED, and there’s a ton of it. I freak out. Tess shows up, I point it out, and Tess says, “Yeah, it’s probably from that cyst at the top of her eye.”

<small voice> Um, what cyst at the top of her eye? </small voice>

My dog has a nasty growth on her eyelid. My dogsitter knew that. I did not.

It’s a tiny cyst, and easy to miss until it starts, you know, bleeding down her face, but still, I feel like the world’s worst mom for not having noticed it. At the same time, if you’re gonna leave me a note about it, could you maybe say “L. has a fucking bloody cyst in her eye,” not “L. has a harmless condition she’s had all her life”?

Anyway, the doc put some ointment in her eyes, and I got some to take home, so it’s all okay. But that’s only the beginning.

Next, we get Solomon on the table (after he busted out of the exam room and tried to hang out under the reception desk instead), and I listen to him squeal like the vet is cutting his throat every time she sticks a needle in him, which is always fun. Then the vet says, “Everything okay with him? Normal elimination? No coughing? No lumps or anything?”

I’m like, “Yep, everything’s fine!” Beat. “Oh, wait, no! HE’S GOT A LUMP ON HIS CHEST! I almost forgot!”

She checks out the lump and confirms what I thought — it feels like a plain old fatty tumor, but if anything changes, I should have it biopsied — but now I’m feeling even worse about my mothering skills. At least I knew about this particular growth, but not only did I not call the doctor as soon as I found it, I completely forgot about it. Strike two.

But here’s the real kicker, and the reason why I’m writing about this here. The thing that made me feel most like a bad mom — worse than not knowing one of my dogs had a cyst that would cause her eyeball to bleed? Was being surrounded by fucking “Is your dog overweight?” posters. There were four of them in the one exam room, assuring me that my stocky little Solly is suffering unnecessarily because his ribs aren’t visible.

I’ve written before about how he’s a couple pounds over his “ideal weight” — which is only a guess, of course, since there’s hardly a breed standard for Corgi-Pug — and there’s just nothing to be done about it. I’ve put him on weight-reducing formula a billion times, and nothing changes. I almost never give him treats (though admittedly, the same can’t be said for Al). If I take him to the park and let him off-leash, he just finds a shady spot to lie down. I could frog-march him around the whole neighborhood every day, but that wouldn’t be fun for either of us. Especially since he acts like I am killing him when I drag him to the end of the block if the weather is anything but 70 degrees and sunny. During winter, he will literally lie down in a snow bank and look up at me like, “No, really, you guys just go on without me.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this dog is a Harding. He likes food, he likes snuggles, he likes naps, he hates forced exercise, and he was pretty much born to be short and fat.

Lucille, in fact, is WAY more food-motivated than him — “Hey, you got something to eat?” is totally going on her tombstone. This is the dog who, while walking around the neighborhood, eats first and asks questions later. Burrito wrapper? Twig? Broken glass? IT MIGHT BE FOOD! DOWN THE HATCH! She’s not quite as ambitious as one of the Mean Asian Beagles, whom I have witnessed trying to swallow a dead pigeon whole, but let’s just say she’s not picky. Solly actually is picky. He only likes certain brands of foods. There are dog treats he refuses to eat; there is not dog shit Lucy will refuse to eat.

Guess which one’s thinner.

And of course, there’s no fat acceptance movement for dogs, seeing as how they can’t talk and all. Solly has no way of telling me if he’s perfectly content the way he is, or if he actually is struggling under those couple extra pounds (which are like 10 percent of his body weight). I have no way of knowing if he chooses not to run around when given the opportunity because he feels like he gets plenty of exercise jumping on and off the couch all day, or if it’s because he’s short and fat, so running around is hard. Genetically, he is half herding dog, half lap dog, but with the exception of occasional attempts to corral bigger dogs in the park, the Pug side dominates about 98% of the time.

I have never met a happier-seeming dog in my life. The tail NEVER stops wagging. (Maybe that’s enough exercise for him?) And he’s healthy, insofar as he’s not currently sick, which is all you can really know about a dog. From a Health at Every Size perspective, he’s doing just fine. But when I’m standing there in the middle of four posters telling me how my dog is silently suffering and his weight is decreasing his life expectancy (but I can save him if I buy a specific brand of dog food!), it’s awfully hard to feel like I’m doing enough for him.

Keep reminding me never to have children.

On the plus side, the vet never said a word to me about his weight; it’s the same as it was a year ago, and there’s nothing wrong with him, so she apparently didn’t see a reason to bring it up. But at least half of my anxiety about being surrounded by all those posters came from the anticipation of a lecture I never got.

I can’t imagine where that came from.

Aaanyway. To end this on a happy note, I have to tell you about my conversation with the guy who booked the appointment.

Him: Last name?

Me: Harding.

Him: Dog’s names?

Me: First one’s Lucille. L-U-

Him: Like the guitar?

Me: Yes!

Him: Okay, next?

Me: Solomon. S-O-

Him: Like Solomon Burke?

Me: Yes!

Him: Heh, all right, gotcha. We’re on the same page here.

Which we weren’t, exactly — the dogs both came with the names, and I’m not especially musical. But I love finding out about the outside interests of people I only see in their professional capacities. It’s like the guy who works at our local Starbucks but also plays trombone at our local watering hole once a week. Oh, you mean your whole life doesn’t revolve around making coffee? Who knew?

And since my whole life doesn’t actually revolve around blogging, that’s all for today.

41 thoughts on “Bad Mom Update

  1. this blog totally needs more dog pictures. that’s only one of solomon, and none of lucile, and you don’t even have a “dogs” category. hrmph.

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this dog is a Harding. He likes food, he likes snuggles, he likes naps, he hates forced exercise, and he was pretty much born to be short and fat.

    LOL! I can’t even tell you how many times similar things have been said about various animals in my/my parents’ households.

    But you can guess. :)

  3. My cat, Saima, is also pretty big. We don’t feed her people food (well, except for my husband’s habit of giving her a fingernail-sized sliver of lunch meat when he makes his sandwiches, which he stopped doing recently because it was making both her and our other cat Freya into begging monsters); sometimes I will do the same with canned chicken breast. I mean, we’re talking an amount that is totally insignificant even taking into account the cats’ small size, so I can’t think it amounts to many calories.

    They also get roughly 1-4 treats a day and one of us pours a little over 1/2 cup of food into their combined food dish each night, which never gets all eaten. Obviously I don’t really know, but it would seem that the two of them (and Freya is pretty small) eat about the same amount from what I have been able to observe.

    My feeling is, Saima appears happy and has always run around and up and down the stairs at will. She recently started slowing down a little, but she’s 9 and no bigger than she has always been, so I’m assuming it’s just an age-related slowdown. They are indoor cats so their life expectancy is way longer than an outdoor cat’s anyway. So I don’t worry too much about her weight, but it’s hard not to feel the “fat owner with fat cat” anxiety at the vet. I just know they assume I am feeding her whole hot dogs and stuff.

    And I will admit to a somewhat guiltier motive… my friend put her cat on a diet and he started going berserk over his tiny food rations to an extent that I found almost sad to watch. I didn’t want to turn my cat into some kind of food obsessive when she doesn’t eat much now anyway, and when she has always had such a casual, graze-y attitude toward cat food in the past.

  4. Hmm. That was pretty me-me-me (so shocking for me, I know). I am sorry for your dogs’ health issues but glad that they don’t seem to be serious or indicative of a problem. Those fatty tumors can be so anxiety-producing. A good friend of mine’s cat has a spaying scar that didn’t heal totally cleanly, so she gets fat that sort of oozes its way out the scar, and my friend is never sure if it is a hernia so she has to have it checked often. It is stressful. Then another friend’s dog had cysts on his skin that were apparently harmless but really big, ugly, and sort of not-harmless-looking. But he lived to a ripe old age so I guess it was fine.

  5. I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, half brother and sister. The boy is, well, *large* for a CKCS (about 24 lbs). If someone remarks, I just tell them that he was accidentally fed the radioactive puppy chow. He’s also much taller and stouter than normal for the breed. He gets the same amount or less food than his much leaner sister. Geau figure. Both of mine are little sidewalk Hoovers too. Sometimes I can’t stop them before they swallow some mystery morsel, so I just have to hope for the best.

    I have a recommendation for the tear stains. This stuff really works. It’s calls Angels Eyes ( but you can also get it from You add it to their food and while their eyes still might weep, they don’t stain the fur red.

    And you’re NOT a bad mom!!!

  6. That must have been so scary when he bled from his eye! I think if my cat, Trixie did that I would totally freak out. I’ve had Trixie for over 15 years now, I found her on the street when I was only 22 years old. I keep telling her she needs to live to be the world’s oldest cat, because I can’t bear the thought of losing her. So far she’s doing a good job of it. She looks fantastic for her age and most people who come over think she’s about 6 years old. I keep telling her to slow down because she’s old, but she refuses to believe me, she still thinks she’s a kitten. We’re both in denial about our age!

    To echo other sentiments here, you sound like a very good Mom to Lucy and Solly, so stop feeling guilty!

  7. I have two cats, and they’re huge. First, in the sense where they’re BIG CATS (inches larger than their littermates) and second, where one of them weighs close to 17 lbs. (Her sister is around 12 or 13 lbs, which is fine on her.) She’s on the weight-reducing amount for a 15-lb cat recommended by the brand of cat food she eats, and she hasn’t gotten any skinnier. I’m not really worried at the moment — I figure she’ll lose weight slowly, and it’s not like we feed them any human food at all. (They throw it up.)

    But it’s not really comfortable when Ella decides to sit on my chest.

  8. How appropriate that I delurk to talk about my dog!

    I also have a corgi-something. Like her humans, She’s a bit of a short-legged chunky monkey, but her vet says her weight is just fine (commented on her “muscular thighs” last time. I giggled.) She’s not a lap dog, but she’s not one of those “Ohmigod, you must make herding dogs work – if they don’t run 7 hours a day they’re bored and destructive!” dogs. She does enjoy a good game of “Chase Me! Now I Chase You!” but more often than not, she’d prefer a nice lie-down with a side of licking the human. I suspect it was because she was picked up as a stray at around two, so maybe she’s done with running around.

    While the vet seems to think she’s in great shape, the local ladyboys plying their trade on my corner call her “Gorda!”. Since they pet her and she loves the attention and doesn’t speak Spanish, I haven’t corrected them, but I would thank the young ladies to keep their body dysmorphia off my dog. (incidentally, my previous pet, a fat-ass 20-lb lazy cat, lasted for 19 years.)

  9. That must have been so scary when he bled from his eye! I think if my cat, Trixie did that I would totally freak out.

    Well, if it’s gotta happen, there’s really no better place than the vet’s office. :)

  10. The thing that made me feel most like a bad mom — worse than not knowing one of my dogs had a cyst that would cause her eyeball to bleed? Was being surrounded by fucking “Is your dog overweight?” posters. There were four of them in the one exam room

    That sounds like some pediatrician offices I’ve been in. My absolute favorite was the one in the poor part of town with childhood obesity pamphlets (in English and Spanish) on every single table, along with the year-old issues of Parenting (which is like Cosmo for moms – instead of tips on blow jobs we get ‘how to pack a healthy, nutritious, almost-as-fun-as-a-day-at-the-circus lunch’).

    Luckily we’re part of a different, nicer clinic system now, but still… it’s pretty scary sometimes. My kids have a checkup in a couple weeks, and I’m trying not to think about how nervous I am about it. They’re really tall, and one’s got a wee bit of a baby belly, but really they’re completely normal mid-sized kids (even the baby belly is totally normal). However, they’re almost off-the-charts tall, and so if some doc decides to only look at their weight without taking their height into consideration (like when we took H to Urgent Care the other day for a cut on his foot, and the nurse weighed him but didn’t bother to even try to find out his height), I’m worried they’ll be all, “Lady, your 3-year-olds weigh as much as the average 5-year-old” and not give a damn that my 3-year-olds are also as tall as the average 5-year-old.

    Being a mom really sucks sometimes. Try not to feel bad about Lucille. I’ve got a cat with weepy eyes, and if someone left me a note about it, I’d be like, “Yes yes, I know, what’s the big deal?” Also, it’s hard to remember everything when you go to see the doctor, whether it’s a human doc or a pet doc.

  11. My two cats get fed exactly the same amount and rarely get treats. Dweezil zooms about 24/7 like Roadrunner on crack; Wattie spends half the day sleeping on my bed and the other half lying on his back with his legs in the air on the roof of my neighbour’s garden shed; (occasionally he might stalk a frog). Those posters really annoy the hell out of me. It doesn’t do to project human neuroses onto animals. They are who they are, just like us.

    I’m sure you’re a perfectly fab mum, Kate.

  12. Serious vet trauma! Sorry!

    I was actually going to blog about the whole pet/weight thing the other day because I had a similar experience with my cat. Of course there were the obligatory OMG IS YER CAT TEH FAT?!? posters, but it was also specifically mentioned to me because my cat is considered to be about a half pound overweight. When the vet tech originally weighed her, she made a mistake and wrote her weight down as 7.5 pounds–since adulthood she’s hovered around 10 pounds. Last year at her checkup she weighed just over 9 pounds, because she had an abcessed tooth and could barely eat (talk about bad kitty mommy!). So anyway, the vet was practically beside himself with glee that my cat had lost almost two pounds, even though that would represent nearly 20 percent of her body weight. Instead of being concerned, he was congratulating me on “making good progress” with her weight issues.

    I told him that I was concerned about her losing that much weight in a year, and so he weighed her again. Turns out she’s just about 10 pounds, pretty much where she’s always been. So we go back to the concern about the overweight cat. Of course, she’s only “mildly” overweight, but I’m still supposed to take away the one bag of non-light food she’s been getting occasionally. And presumably set up the kitty treadmill and weigh-in station.


  13. I’m sorry for your dog-related stress! They’re all okay, right?

    We put our kitty Moxie on diet food several months ago and I had about a day of feeling really conflicted about it, until John pointed out that Moxie was not actually suffering from patriarchal oppression (that we know of!). We didn’t really mind her being chubby, but her eating habits were all out of whack after our other cat died, so she had gained a lot of weight quickly.

    Anyway–point is, I’m glad we didn’t have those posters in our vet’s office! I would have felt even worse about putting her On A Diet. Moxie, that is. Our vet is pretty thin as is. ;-)

  14. Well, since weight’s something that is a) easily measured and b) requires no effort or thinking on the Vet’s (or Doc’s) part, I’m beginning to see where the obsession comes from; the desire to spend no energy and still look like you’re doing your job. Way to go, lazy-ass doctors.

    Oh, and for bad parenting, I have the sneaking suspicion my dog ate my rosin. I have only found the green-felt backing, with no actual rosin in sight. She seems to be pottying just fine, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope that if she did consume it, it’s not going to cause any problems. At least not until my roommate returns with her car.

  15. I almost never give him treats (though admittedly, the same can’t be said for Al).

    Yeah, you should stop giving Al all those treats.

    The nice thing for dogs, aside from the fact that they aren’t being patriarchally oppressed as far as we know, is that there are breed standards. I think you wrote about this once — that nobody expects a pug to look like a whippet. Even if Solly’s not purebred, with corgi and pug background, the vet’s not going to expect him to be, say, tall. Nobody thinks genetics is some kind of bullshit excuse when it comes to dogs.

  16. That is so cool, that your vet receptionist would automatically associate your furbabies’ names with Solomon Burke and B.B. King! One of my cats is named Zevon, and almost nobody asks me, “You mean like Warren?” And yes, I named him after Warren. He’s defnitely my excitable boy, though not psychotic excitable like in the song.

    BTW, my mom’s cat’s name is Lucille, and my brother did name her after the guitar. (My mom, however, obviously had a different Lucille in mind when she named Lucille’s companion cat Desi.)

    I could identify with this whole post, though, because 1) my cat Pendo has a funky-gunky eye from a birth defect which people ask me about constantly, and 2) I have to bring my furbags in for their shots next Saturday, because I’m moving and they’re way overdue for shots and the kennel won’t accept them shotless. None has been to a vet for years; they haven’t needed it. (They’re 3, 5, and 7 years old.)

    And yes, two of them are BIG cats (Pendo, the eldest, is only “big” without capitals), and they’re likely to stay that way. I give them indoor formula even though they go out, and you’d think that given that they eat less and move more in the summer because of warmer weather and more running around they’d have lost weight, but they haven’t. So if the vet says anything about their weight — I’m just bracing myself for “oh the fat cat lady with three fat cats she must be stuffing them” assumptions — I’m gonna tell ’em that. Furthermore, Zevon (the youngest) is my heaviest cat, and he’s also the most active; he barely even sits still a minute he’s awake, always wanting to play fetch, etc. Like me, he doesn’t “look” quite as heavy as he is.

    Of course, I do worry that my Binkley, who’s probably my largest cat in terms of, um, surface area — the fluffiest AND the fattest — won’t fit through the kitty door at my new (rented) house. (That’s his pic you see as my avatar when I’m signed into WordPress.)

  17. I almost never give him treats (though admittedly, the same can’t be said for Al).

    Yeah, you should stop giving Al all those treats.

    Oh, fuck you. :)

    Actually, I noticed that earlier and decided to wait and see who busted me on it. (Especially after Laura’s comment about putting the vet on a diet.) Gold star!

  18. And speaking of treats, Binkley hates every “cat treat” I’ve ever offered him, and I must have tried out a dozen on him. His favorite snack (other than salmon or albacore off the barbecue, which he gets little tastes of once a week) is catnip. Yes, he eats it. I’ve even offered him treats containing catnip, but he turns up his mottled nose at them. So much for him pigging out.

  19. i was wondering how the puppers were doing. glad to have an update. your descriptions of sol & lucy are hilarious — i can so feel the love. you’re not a bad mom. you’re human, and shit slips through the cracks sometimes. hell — who hasn’t forgotten about or procrastinated taking care of a non-pressing medical issue?

    i think you should give al all the treats you want … after he rolls over and begs of course. bonus points if you provide some you-tube action on that one!

  20. My human baby is the reason I have had regular talks with our local health clinic nurse about normal weight RANGES. I’m in Australia, all babies get weighed and measured for free along with their immunisations by a specialist nurse.

    Every Fucking Time We Go I have to repeat “He’s not underweight or underfed, he’s just taking after his father”. My son is on the 75th percentile for height, and the 10th percentile for weight. My partner is a tall stringbean. I’m tall and, before I got pregnant, I was always skinny. There is no planet on which our baby would be average. The chart is out of date because it was produced from a cohort where most babies were bottle-fed formula, and given solid food at a very early age. In line with current health recommendations, my kid is breastfed, and didn’t have solids til nearly six months. The chart, in short, is completely useless in assessing my son. But still they imply that I’m starving him.

  21. Other Kate, weirdly enough, I was a really scrawny kid and hospitalized for “failure to thrive” at 17 mos. old.

    At the time (1976), they just wanted to figure out why I couldn’t gain weight, and fix it. (They did, evidently. Though I remained on the skinny end of skinny until puberty.) These days, that diagnosis would automatically trigger a neglect investigation, as I understand it.

    Who are these people who are so convinced that mothers are routinely either starving their children or wildly overfeeding them on purpose? And why the fuck are they in positions of power?

  22. I’m delurking for the dog post too, so I ought to say thanks, in general, for this blog.

    My dog wouldn’t let me clear out her eyes unless I let her her eat anything that came out. I can’t decide if I was a good mommy or a bad mommy for going along with it. But despite these “extra calories,” she was an amazing self-regulator when it came to weight, always within a pound of her adult weight at every vet’s visit. I only now realize how ridiculous it is that I was proud of that, or that I attributed it solely to the fact that I didn’t feed her human food except the occasional poultry and peanut butter.


  24. Thorn, I’m right there with ya. My daughter, now 10, is way the hell off the charts in both height and weight. (I’m 5’4″ and we’re eye to eye. We also wear the same size shoe – 8. I expect her to pass me in both any time now.) But, for some reason, her height has never come into consideration when I’m being chastised for having a chunky kid. I’ve actually had to point it out to doctors when they start on the “ZOMG, she’s over the 100th percentile for weight!” Well, yeah, and she’s over the 100th percentile for height, too – so where’s the disparity? But no, it’s teh fat…it’s always teh fat.

  25. Heh. I share a home with an Italian Greyhound and a tall, skinny man. They both eat treats all damned day and never gain an ounce. I’m often thought about getting another dog – a pug or a French bulldog – to even things out.

  26. Christine – Oh, it must be so much harder for a girl as well. Just… at least big boys get to be “strapping!”, y’know?

    Friends of ours have a 4yo daughter who is off the charts for height and weight, and I find myself really glad her mom is a) too smart to discount height and b) tougher than one would expect, so hopefully they can avoid having some doctor put pressure on them to make her diet or anything stupid like that.

    It’s so crazy to me – I remember when my boys were babies, all the pediatricians were, “Oh, so long as their height and weight are pretty proportional and they’re growing along a consistent curve, we don’t care.” Then they get a little older and suddenly all that good sense goes right out the window in favor of Teh Faaaaat Panic!

  27. It’s so hard with pets to know when there’s really something wrong. I had an American Eskimo dog who always had those stains around her eyes … I just figured it’s what happens when you have a white dog. If it didn’t look infected, I can’t think of too many people who’d realize that Lucille had a cyst as opposed to just normal eye goop. And if the vet tech/pet sitter had noticed the cyst, I’d think something other than “L’s eye is weepy” would have been more appropriate.

    I never look that closely at the posters in the vet’s office (I’m usually too busy trying to keep cats from going crazy in the carrier, or the dog from jumping onto every new arrival), but our vet’s attitude toward their weight seems similar to your vet’s, Kate. We have 4 cats (and 2 foster kittens at the moment) and a dog, some of whom are not “thin enough to feel the ribs.” The only thing the vet’s ever said is to watch for weight loss in the cats, as it could be a sign of illness. Maybe he’s not worried because their weight is pretty stable from visit to visit. Now if I could just convince my doctor to do the same.

  28. Animals come in such a range of sizes. I had a cat for 18 1/2 years who weighed five pounds until she got very old, and went down to 4 1/2. Now I have three year old litter mates who weigh 10 and 12 pounds. Bigger bones, bigger paws, bigger cats. They eat about the same amount that my tiny Missy did.

    I know the thing about feeling like I haven’t been a good mom to my pets. They don’t complain, and sometimes I’m all involved in other things and don’t catch it as soon as I would like to. The last time one of mine was sick, I was waiting for surgery and sleeping in my recliner at night because I couldn’t lay in the bed and I was so out of it that Pippin really got very sick before I came to and did something about it. I felt like the worst cat mom in the world.

  29. Hi Kate, I have been reading your blog for a while but haven’t posted before.

    My dog was quite overweight for most of her life — “fat and happy, just like Mom” I used to say — and the vet used to mention it from time to time, but never made a big deal out of it. Until she got severe arthritis and then it made sense to reduce her weight a bit. I was pleased that the vet never made an issue about her weight until it was actually affecting her health.

    Now my dog is quite old and we pay more attention to keeping her weight up than down.

  30. I went to the vet to pick up Frontline yesterday, and what did I see but a chubby little pug/corgi who looked just like Solomon! Her tail wag wiggled her whole butt, and she had to greet each person in the waiting room with a butt wiggle, a happy grunt and a lick. She was a cute little sausage, like you’d expect of a pug/corgi, but she seemed fairly energetic. Her person said she was 17 (!!!).

    Bite me, weight obsessed medical professionals.

  31. Darcy, good point that the time to worry is probably when the dog actually has a problem. And Solly still does two flights of stairs at least twice a day with ease (at 10 years old).

    Honestly, though, I have no idea HOW we would reduce Solly’s weight if we needed to — especially if he had mobility problems that made exercise even more of a pain in his (and my) ass — short of starving him. So I hope it never comes to that.

  32. OMG, Nerdycellist, where do you live? Because I want to go camp out in your vet’s office until I see that dog! She sounds exactly like him, personality-wise.

    My sister called me one time to say, “I just saw Solomon’s twin!” and I got all excited. And I saw her German Shephered/Basset Hound mix’s twin on a rescue site once and had to forward it immediately. That’s the weird thing about having mutts — when you see a similar one, it’s this stupid big deal.

    I know Lucy had at least one litter of pups before I got her (her lady parts are a little worse for the wear), and I wonder all the time about where they are and what they look like. Because I am that kind of obsessed dork.

    And yay for living to 17!

  33. I live in Hollywood, the vet was in West Hollywood. Ardala’s a corgi/terrier?/valhund?/shepherd? (had a couple of neighborhood kids tell me they thought she was german shepherd/fox) and I am obsessed with finding more like her. Not that the landlord would allow it even if I could afford another dog, but dang do corgis make cute mutts. My parents live in the chicagoland area and I kept checking PetFinder and forwarding them local dogs that looked like her. They adopted a cat instead. (I put her dogster page in my link if you want to look at another cute doggie.)

    Since we adopted her from the SPCA, we have no idea exactly what kind of dog she is, or how many littermates she had. I’m thinking of getting that “Wisdom Panel” doggie DNA test done, but my roommate is totally against it. She is also against me referring to Ardala as a Dingo, though, so I’m not sure her opinion matters.

  34. Okay, I’m not going to stake out your vet’s office, then, but damn.

    Ardala is SO CUTE. And yeah, “shepherd/fox/dingo” looks about right. :) The pic of her on the Lassie star kills me. You’re brilliant.

    I got Solly from an all corgi and corgi-mix rescue , so I was looking at pics of all sorts of corgi mixes before I ended up with him. Yeah, they make damn cute dogs. You can see more of Solly and Lucy from 2000 here. His muzzle used to be so black!

    Fuck. I need Dogster pages.

  35. Animals come in such a range of sizes. I had a cat for 18 1/2 years who weighed five pounds until she got very old, and went down to 4 1/2. Now I have three year old litter mates who weigh 10 and 12 pounds. Bigger bones, bigger paws, bigger cats. They eat about the same amount that my tiny Missy did.

    Yes, and cats who reach the late teens often develop hyperthyroidism, which makes them lose weight no matter how much they eat. So given that more cats than ever are reaching those ages, it makes evolutionary sense for them to be heavier, since they’ll need that extra padding when they get older! Also, the pet food these days is by far better quality than it was 20 or 30 years ago, Chinese wheat gluten scandals notwithstanding, hence more larger animals.

  36. Ok – Forgive me, but I only check my favorite websites during weekdays, while at work.

    Anyhow, in terms of being a bad parent, I can relate. My Jack Russell Mickey had a small growth on his back leg. Well, we let it go for a little while and noticed after a few months that it had slightly increased in size. We’ve since had it removed, but have been told that is a cancerous tumor (grade 1). Basically this tumor will grow back and our options were $4500.00 for radiation treatments with an 85% success rate OR to amputate his back leg. My husband and I are not in the financial position to pay for radiation treatments, which leaves us with the second option. I feel horrible….and hope, against all odds that the tumor never returns and Mickey keeps his back leg.

    Anyhow, I wanted to share. Sometimes issues with our best friends on four legs are unavoidable, even if you’d like to turn a blind eye.

  37. dang do corgis make cute mutts

    Why, yes. Yes, they do.

    I’ve got two fat cats, and a dog who put on weight after a knee injury and a new job kept me from taking her on good long walks. I got yelled at about the dog, though I think that was mostly because of the speed of the gain, rather than the fact of it. She’s not really fat at all, but the vet wants me to watch it.

    I’ve had some luck getting my cats to lose a little weight by switching them to a high-protein, low-carb cat food. Lite foods, especially dry ones, are full of carbohydrates, and since cats are carnivores, that doesn’t really help.

    I use Innova Evo, because it’s dry. I can’t stand dealing with wet cat food.

    Mind you, they’re old now, and not terribly inclined to exercise, so there’s only so much switching their diet can do.

  38. How utterly awesome that the dog post is bringing us out of the woodwork! Corgi mixes are, indeed, one of the finer things in life, perhaps the finest. I have a corgador (corgi/lab) who looks like a chubby lab on corgi legs with a giant square head. Sometimes I think he is a vanity pet–i wanted something that looks like me (in the short/squat sense. I am not actually furry). And he lives for snacks. And my other dog is a greyhound/shepherd. She’s kind of picky with food but she eats like a horse and never puts on a pound. A microcosm of the real world. Frankly, though, I find my little chub guy to be the best looking dog in the world. And my vet is amazed that a once homeless rescue is as strapping and healthy he is at around 12 years old.

    The problem with dogs is–they don’t let you know when they’re hurt until it’s awful. I’ve let ear infections fester, have found untreated wounds, and quite often find hidden puddles of barf around the house. But you’d never know from their behavior. They’re not nearly as whiny as humans. Except when it’s time for dinner.

  39. As a fat girl myself, I feel guilty about making my corgi diet- BUT- and this is an important but- according to my breed-specialist vet? 85% of the corgis she sees with back injuries are overweight, and she’s NEVER seen a back injury in a normal-weight corgi that wasn’t caused by an accident like falling off an a-frame or getting hit by a car. Dogs =/= people and I can be an FA without feeling like my dogs should be fat.

    PS Solly is ADORABLE.

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