More Inappropriate Ranting

Me: Doo doo doo, I’m walking my dog, doo doo doo.

Strange woman I have never met before: Excuse me!

Me: Um, yes?

Cranky stranger: You need to feed your dog more! It’s thin as a rail!

Me: Haha, that’s just how she is. Trust me, she eats plenty. *watches as Shiva devours the woman’s front lawn*

Annoying person who needs to mind her own business: Harrumph! Looks practically starved to me! Poor thing. *Shiva moves to chew on her porch*

Me: She just has a very high metabolism. Our vet says she is fine. She’s an agility dog. If she was starving she wouldn’t be able to walk!

*Shiva swallows a lawn chair*

Crazy lady: I think she is too skinny. *Shiva eats the 5,678th piece of kibble I have given her to prevent her from barking at the woman*

Me: Thanks for sharing. I think you are too wrinkly.

Okay, I didn’t say that last part. But the rest of the conversation actually has happened. Multiple times in various forms. I am curious to know why people think they need to share their opinions on my dog’s waist size. I don’t really understand why they think I want to hear it. Or why they think it is anything but extremely rude. Do these same people go around saying the same thing about other people’s children? Do these people also think it is okay to walk up to a stranger to tell him he is too fat?

Maybe they do. It makes me shake my head. It’s a good thing I don’t take this kind of thing personally anymore. If I was more sensitive than I already am, this kind of conversation would probably make me cry. If I was angrier than I already am, this kind of conversation would probably make me throw things. Neither reaction would be very useful. Which is kind of my point.

Yelling at someone on the street never achieves anything. Even if you think there may actually be something wrong. Yelling just puts people on the defensive. It makes you seem like the one with the problem. There are ways express concern without attacking people. Before just saying what immediately comes to mind, maybe we all need to stop and think for a second whether what we have to say is constructive. Most of the time, it probably doesn’t need to be said at all.

Next time someone asks maybe I will say something like this: Shiva’s weight is fine, thanks. How is yours?

52 thoughts on “More Inappropriate Ranting

  1. Been there! Especially with Rufus. The funniest time was when a very portly, okay obese, woman with a fat dog came up to tell us Rufus was fat. Huh? No dear, that’s just really thick fur. Give him a poke and you’ll see.

    I read an interesting article last year about dog obesity in Australia (about 25%) It mentioned how some dog owners were being accused by random strangers (yes, it happens here too!) of underfeeding their dogs when the said dogs were actually a good weight. And the reason? People are now too used to seeing overweight/fat dogs and consider it normal. Sad eh?

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    • There is definitely an increase in pet obesity. I am not really going to deny that. Cats and dogs aren’t getting the exercise they used to when people would just let them outside in the morning to run and play as they wished. It’s a different world now with different laws. Whether or not the problem is as big as everyone proclaims I am unsure. Since I am not a vet, I won’t say much more.

      Anyway, just as I wouldn’t tell someone their dog is too fat, I don’t want to hear that my dog is too thin. For one thing, I am pretty sure if the dog is fat, the owner already knows and is probably doing something about it. If they aren’t doing something about it then my getting in their face isn’t going to change anything. So why get in their face at all? Why not just let people carry on? If I see someone walking their dog, I pretty much always assume they are trying. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be walking their dog at all.

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  2. OMG! I think it would have been priceless if you added the wrinkly part. I don’t get people… They feel that everything is their business…Even when they clearly know nothing! I probably would have let some snarky reply slip out….

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    • It’s a struggle. Since I am still a wee coward when it comes to confrontation, I normally just walk away. But it is more and more tempting…

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    • Heh, that may be true but I am sure most people are fully aware their dogs are overweight. No doubt they hear it from the vet and from others on the street, if they can’t tell for themselves. The dog could have a medical condition. They could have put him on a diet and maybe it just isn’t working. The thing is, you just don’t know. Maybe the person really is over-feeding their dog and doesn’t care. Remarks from a stranger on the street aren’t going to make one bit of difference.

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  3. Ha, ha, you got me rolling on the floor with this one, Kristine. I know very well how annoying it is when people tell you stupid things like that. As a whippet owner, I’ve been told that my dog’s too skinny a million times and I’ve got various responses to this. These range from polite to very rude, depending on what mood they catch me in 😉

    P.S. Shiva looks in perfect shape, by the way!

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    • Thank you! Our new vet thinks so too. She’s an agility dog. We never measure her food or rewards and she probably eats more than many dogs “should”.

      A lot of people have suggested she could be part whippet. That would be awesome if it was true! George is gorgeous!

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  4. Well, some people just like to add some “spices” to our life!
    I’d choose to ignore all these remarks and walk away politely with some lame excuses as I’ve no extra energy to cry over it or to be angry at it because I’ve to save my breaths for the housework, errands and doggy work at home.
    But I like your ‘ I think you are too wrinkly.’ It’s cool!!!

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    • LOL. I love the way you put that. “Spices”. 🙂 Good on you for not letting it get to you. Most of the time I let things slide but every once in awhile, I need to rant. 😛

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  5. Wow. People can be so rude sometimes.

    Have you tried educating them on what a dog SHOULD look like at a healthy weight? Maybe educating these misinformed folks would be a way to counteract their comments. Jet is right. Many dogs are overweight. A dog that is at a good weight should have a tapered waist. You should be able to feel their ribs easily. There are lots of pics of what dogs should look like at a healthy weight, I just don’t think people think about it.

    It’s worth a try!

    P.S. I liked how you began your walks! “Doo, doo, doo…”

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    • I have tried. But most of the time the people irritate me so much and I get all flustered and defensive. I can never form a clear argument in that frame of mind. Maybe if I wrote it on a little card I could hand out in such instances? LOL.

      I guess I just shouldn’t let it get to me. Just keep on “doo doo doo”ing my way down the street. 😉

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  6. I too laughed out loud at this (because I wasn’t the one hearing it live). Very well-written.

    People keep trying to tell me Canadians are like Americans but more polite. Maybe the more polite part is disappearing? Oh no.

    I’ve never experienced this personally, but I hear people are at their worst in offering opinions when you’re pregnant.

    I guess if you want to put the best spin on this you could say this woman was trying to be helpful. And yes, not taking it personally, is key.

    And Didi is right. Shiva looks perfect.

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    • Hah! I love the Canadian stereotypes. I love that we have this great reputation. Canadians are people just like everywhere else. Most of us are really nice and others… Maybe they are American expats? 😉

      Mothers definitely get the worst of it. Everyone else thinks they know best. I can only imagine.

      Was she trying to be helpful? Or was she trying to demonstrate her superior knowledge? I like that so many people seem to care about animals, at least. Perhaps I should focus on that aspect.

      Thanks! I’d say Shiva appreciates the compliments but appearance is usually the last thing on her mind.

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    • Yeah… That’s another facet of the whole argument completely and one that deserves fifty million blog posts. It makes me really sad. I’d love to say it’s their loss but unfortunately such stigmas have greater impact than just crossing the street.

      Love the comment about the yorkie. I’ve written before about the unfairness of owning a large dog as opposed to a small one. The expectations are so much higher. Little dogs often get away with everything because of size. It’s aggravating but unfortunately just how things are. My trainer offers classes specifically with little dogs in mind. I wish more people would take them.

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  7. HAHAHA… i think we think the same… this is very similar for my post tomorrow LOL! I mean it’s a little freaky! I almost had it as my post for today but I am waiting for some permission to use a photo LOL. I like your last response… LOL!

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  8. Dude. You totally should say something like “How’s yours?” because they are just being rude and invasive. I’ve never had anyone question my dog’s weight BUT at the dog park, I’ve had this woman walk up to me as I stand there throwing the ball for Mak to tell me that Chai is too small to be in the large dog side of the dog park.

    Here’s the thing: I might even have agreed with her (becuase it’s really more for Chai’s safety from big dogs who don’t know how to be around littler dogs) except that she then said “Listen, I’m a TRAINER and you need to take your dog out of here. I know what I’m talking about” all hoigty and up on her high horse and like I don’t keep all my eyeballs, ears, tongue, nose and a billion other senses on high alert for potential threats to my life-flow, aka my dog.

    Blah.

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    • This is the exact sort of thing I am talking about! What’s with all the anger and hatred? If she felt the need to say something because she was concerned for Chai, couldn’t she have found a nicer way to express this concern? Couldn’t she have talked to you with respect as a fellow dog lover? I. Don’t. Get. It. Why so mean and judgey? Why would she think that would get a positive reaction from you? I would have been tempted to hang out there for hours just out of spite.

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  9. People are nuts, aren’t they? Shiva is beautiful and perfect in physique!
    When we had our first foster Lollie and were first teaching her how to walk on leash, several people approached me in horror, telling me I was choking my dog and she was probably going to die of it. I always wanted to point out that she was choking herself, thank you very much, and that we were in the middle of training so could they kindly move along and mind their own business. Sheesh!

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    • Ugh! Thank you for demonstrating another point! The unsolicited training “advice” is equally annoying. Unless it looks like actual physical abuse, it probably isn’t any of their business. Do I wince if I see someone yanking their dog a little too hard? Of course. Do I think going up to that person and yelling at them will help? Or course not. We’re all dog lovers, right?

      Why can’t we assume everyone is doing the best they can (thanks Pamela!) and instead of getting judgmental try to see things from the person’s point of view? Maybe say something, politely, and offer some kind suggestions. That would probably go much further.

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  10. Too funny.

    People tell me I’m too thin…I always say, “would you tell someone they’re too fat?”
    No one has ever said yes.

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    • Hahahaha! Good for you. Commenting on someone’s physical appearance, unless it is positive, is never anything but extremely rude. Though, I suppose, to some people calling someone “too thin” is a compliment. Not so much.

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  11. People… well meaning people sometimes… keep telling me i am overfeeding my dog. They say that he’s FAT. But he only takes one meal a day…. and my groomer says he’s too FAT.. but really only one meal a day.. and maybe a treat in the morning when he wakes up… but my Vet says he’s fine.

    He’s healthy and well.. so he’s ok.

    People who don’t own dogs seem to have a lot of opinions about other people’s dog.. and people who don’t have children always love to teach parents how to bring up their kids.

    but i do like the last liner “I think you are too wrinkly.”… you should mebbe mumbled it softly to her next time.. *LOL* Its not even rude to me.

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    • Precisely! Piper is the size he is because that’s the size he is supposed to be. You feed him properly according to what your vet thinks he needs. You give him exercise and do the best you can. It’s no one’s business how much he weighs. He’s healthy and happy and that’s all that matters!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  12. oh man, unwelcome opinions are the worst! if the initial “actually, she’s fine” doesn’t work, then cut to the chase: “you’re being very rude.” walk away.

    some people!

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    • You’re right. Sometimes you just have to call people out on their rudeness. It’s the only way to go.

      LOL. Agreed.

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  13. There will always be someone who thinks they know best. I’ve had a lady repeatedly say Song’s nails are too long. I tell her Greyhounds have longer nails because they have longer quicks. Also had people saying Song is too thin and even on the same day too fat.

    From her photos Shiva looks just fine. You know your dog.

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  14. Ugh, yeah I heard that when Sophie was younger. Her first year we tried every food under the sun trying to find one that worked for her. It took awhile and during the process she was skinny. Not sick, emaciated or starving but skinny. I got so many comments and lectures. It was sooo frustrating and annoying. I was stressed enough that we couldn’t find a food that worked, I really didn’t need complete strangers telling me I was hurting my dog by starving her. 😛

    My other favorite is people who say I am too strict with her on walks. She is leash reactive so she doesn’t get to (nor does she enjoy) meeting dogs while on leash. I will move to avoid running straight into dogs or ask someone to grab their off leash dog if it comes towards us. I have gotten numerous comments about how mean I am for not letting her play with the other dog because the off leash dog is a friendly one.

    One time some guy’s dog charged from inside his house to try to reach Sophie. I moved off the sidewalk to avoid him and the guy yelled at me because his dog followed us off the sidewalk. He told me I put his dog at risk. I finally snapped that time and gave him a peace of my mind, a dog with no recall being allowed to run around on a busy street is dangerous and that is his fault! Furthermore my dog doesn’t want to play and I am keeping her from reacting badly. ARG! Ok vent over.

    Shiva looks greats! Next time I say use the wrinkle comment!

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  15. My mother is convinced Emmett is too thin, despite his voracious appetite and a health clearance from his vet. I honestly think people are just too used to seeing overweight and obese dogs. It’s so irritating for anyone to butt in like that. Don’t you wish you could say the come-backs that pop into your head?! I know I do!

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  16. I have been told Moses is both overweight and underweight in the same week. I usually smile with an “if you say so” and use the feel-the-ribs judgment to determine for myself. While I’m sure the comments are made with the best of intentions, I would really prefer people to mind their own business, and how I handle these inquiries really depends on how they’re presented and what kind of day I’ve been having.

    Do you really have time and patience to explain to each and every busybody exactly how many dogs are overweight these days, that Shiva is healthy, well-exercised and well-fed, and how agility dogs are held to a slimmer standard for their sport? Only if you’re superhuman, so who can blame you if the much deserved retort about their own weight comes forth once in a while?

    This touches on a bigger issue where it does seem that the general public seems to think they have a divine right to be involved with our dogs as public property – commenting on things like behaviour, training, and weight, or even reaching in to pet/grope without asking (happens to me at least once a week, though an even more serious recent Home Depot incident in Ottawa comes to mind).

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  17. That is so rude.

    Thankfully you have a blog on which to humorously vent!

    Have you considered printing out flyers to hand to everyone who questions you about Shiva?

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  18. I just *love* random strangers that feel they have the right to come up to you and share their opinions. When I was a vendor at dog shows, people came up to me *all the time* to tell me to trim Jerseys nails ’cause they were just too long. And I had to be nice to these people since I was selling stuff.

    I trim Jersey’s nails once a week. She just has long nails and there is zero that I can do about it, trust me, I’ve tried. But it’s not like I can trim more once a week. There’s just not enough to cut.

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  19. That is frustrating! I’ve had people tell me that I was walking Bailey too fast. When he doesn’t want to go inside he starts walking slow and with his deformed leg it looks like hes having trouble walking. I had a concerned women tell me he looked hurt. She had good intentions but no he is fine that is just how he walks.

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  20. Ugh! That kind of stuff happens to me ALL THE TIME and when I come back inside and announce “GUESS what just happened to me?” and proceed to rant, I’m told that I get in too many arguments.

    I am not an argumentative person. I avoid confrontation, it makes me uncomfortable. But I think there’s something about walking your dog that calls out to strangers “Hey! Hey you! Come over here and give me your two cents, okay?”

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  21. I’ve had the same thing happen too! You should totally say that next time. People seem to think that if you have a dog with you they can say anything to you…it’s like kids, it’s a real barrier-buster. At least most people seem to understand that greyhounds are SUPPOSED to be skinny…

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  22. Okay, now. Let’s see if we can gives her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she just had a stroke. Or maybe she was drunk. Or maybe…um…okay, those are really the only two things that I can think of that would excuse her being so rude. Peoples are very strange sometimes. Is it bad that a teensy little bit of me REALLY wishes you’d made that comment abouts her being wrinkly? Heehee!

    Me and mom thinks you handled it VERY well!

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  23. Well, as a person who lives with Greyhounds, I’ve had my share of those conversations. Frankly, I think most of my dogs are a pretty healthy weight, and I see WAY too many dogs who are obese and overweight. I generally inform them that my dogs are athletes and born to be this way. Carrying too much weight is actually very bad for them — their frames aren’t meant to carry extra weight. Depending on how I am approached, I either mention that, or I tell them that they see the vet who assures me they are in excellent health.

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  24. Running a kennel, fat/obese dogs probably account for 50% or more of the dogs that come in to us. And we are not afraid to say something (my boss has more guts about this than I do). And you would not believe how many times people say “really????”, in response to this we often will either pull out a weight chart or bring out a live example of a healthy weight.
    I thought Georgia had a very interesting point about how that is seen as the norm now so fit dogs are actually said to be too skinny by the general public. I have occasionally had a hard time keeping weight on Luna, but more often I am carefully watching her food to keep her at her ideal living weight. Her brother Wyatt seems to maintain an even weight much easier. So I have had my struggles with weight for Luna so I know where you’re coming from. I also would not walk up to a stranger on the street and say as that woman has, these are client that have come to us for training or boarding so we already have a relationship. It makes me sad to see fat/obese dogs especially when it interferes with their job/original purpose/life. I feel like it’s largely a human created problem, so for me there is very little excuse for it (I understand medical issues sometimes play a role, and I even suggest they get their dogs checked on occasion).

    Anyway, that’s all I shall say, but now you have me thinking of witty responses lol.
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  25. Really??? Unbelievable!!! You are much more patient than I am, and diplomatic. Or maybe we people of the wet coast are more mannerly than to comment on another dog’s waistline. Anyway, I think you handled it very well … have you considered running for MP?? 🙂 Some of them could use a lesson in civility.

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  26. People sure have odd ideas about when they need to step in and take charge, huh? But the desciption of Shiva was priceless – we used to have one of those!

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  27. I had somebody tell me my dog was too skinny once. I think people are so used to fat dogs these days because nobody walks them anymore that normal weight dogs that actually get excerise just look too thin.

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  28. She’s obviously insane, and rude. And, yes, these people would comment on a human’s size – just like the perfect stranger who thought it would be beneficial to tell me – obviously pregnant – that my butt and legs were too big. [sigh] It’s infuriating.

    Good for you for keeping Shiva at a good weight.

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  29. I think you need a really good nonsense reply like, “Yes, we just brought her home from a rescue– look how the previous owners treated her!” Then you look like hero. (of course, you’ll need a new explanation next time you run into the same person.)

    And I’m terrified of taking Our Best Friend for his annual check-up ’cause he’s gained too much weight over the winter. 😦

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