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?