Time To Lose

Have you and your dog gained weight during the pandemic?


One of my sisters – the one who has three little dogs – lives just a few miles away from me. Even so, we talk on the phone more than we actually see each other, especially since the shelter-in-place orders went into effect. She’s an out-of-work chef, so over the past few months, there were quite a few occasions that she made too much amazing food for herself and her husband, and she brought leftovers to my house.   

If you’re like me, you’ve gained weight during the pandemic – no going to the gym and way too much stress-eating. But am I going to turn down the amazing soups and salads and desserts that used to draw raves at the restaurants where my sister worked? I am not. 

So I feel for my sister’s little dogs. They live with this incredibly talented, big-hearted, generous chef. How are they going to keep their figures? Well, with one exception, they are not. One of the three dogs, Lucky, has never had a big appetite and has always been on the slim side. (Lucky is a former stray I picked up off a roadside about three years ago. He went unclaimed for a month at our local shelter and then repeatedly flunked the shelter’s behavior evaluations. He also bit more than one kennel worker at the shelter. My sister had fallen in love with him based on the photos I took of him when I found him and had to work hard to convince the shelter that, biter or not, she would bring him around in no time, and she did! He truly earned his name.)

I thought of Lucky when I needed a model to demonstrate how to teach a dog to go into a crate, to accompany Training Editor Pat Miller’s crate-training article (page 10). It took me over an hour and a lot of treats to tempt the soaking wet, starving, tick-covered stray to get into my car on that rainy evening three years ago, and I’m sure he hasn’t been in a crate since he left the shelter. So I called my sister and asked to borrow him for a photo shoot. The resulting pictures are on page 11; Pat’s recommended techniques really work!

I drove to my sister’s house, she opened the door, and all three little dogs poured out, barking happily . . . and I was astounded at how fat the two little females had gotten since I had last seen them. “Pam!” I exclaimed.

“I know, I know!” she countered. “When they closed the park where we usually take our walks, it really set us back!”

I know, my sister knows, and probably you know, too: To control weight gain, one has to exercise and reduce caloric intake. If you need incentive, inspiration, or instruction, you’ll find it starting on page 16.