Take Puppy to the vet. Meet with vet technician, who touts “advanced toys” for highly smart breeds. “A destructive dog is really just a bored dog,” she says, explaining how important it is to challenge Puppy and casually noting that her own dog carries her groceries for her. Consider whether to reveal that Puppy occasionally eats her own poop. Nix that confession, while greenlighting analogy to that time your physics PhD-candidate brother got placed in the middle math group in the first grade. Receive blank stare in response.
Breathe sigh of relief as real vet enters. Attempt to win her approval with a big smile and firm handshake, mainly designed to assuage your own guilt at your decision, circa five seconds ago, not to invest in Baby Einstein puppy products.
Watch as vet’s expression dissolves into one of Trouble, Concern and Disapproval as she feels around Puppy’s middle. Listen as she says something about Puppy being “extremely underweight” and cautions that she might not be able to administer vaccinations right now – vaccinations required to keep puppy healthy! happy! alive! – because Puppy doesn’t have enough fat around ribs.
Underweight: consider this term, essentially a completely foreign concept to your personal life. Recall Puppy wolfing down her allotted servings of Purina puppy chow, scavenging for crumbs on kitchen floor, turning to rocks and wood chips as forms of sustenance on daily walks. Recall alerting mother to possibility that Puppy needed more to eat. Recall her response: “She’s a dog! Of course she always wants more food!” Decide to blame entire fiasco on mother.
Begin to wonder why elephant in the room isn’t being addressed: Puppy is the cutest puppy in the world! Puppy is mobbed by devout fans every time she exits the house! People stop their cars to ask about Puppy! How could something be wrong with a puppy that cute? How could the Cutest Puppy Alive be underweight? How could the entire city of Philadelphia (and a good chunk of tourists) be wrong about Puppy?
Feel Puppy’s middle, as instructed by vet. Feel ribs poke out against taut skin. Decide vet may have something on groupies (a degree in veterinary medicine, for example.) Concede point: puppy, may, in fact be underweight.
Also concede fact that some fault for puppy’s under-weight-ness may possibly lie with person doing the feeding, or lack thereof. Feel terribly guilty. Vow to plump up Puppy! Vow to return for three-week checkup with exceedingly obese canine! No one will ever have seen such a chubby dog! Victory will be yours!
Begin to wonder if all of those commercials for Toddlers in Tiaras, frequently spliced in between Say Yes to the Dress, might be getting to you.
Bring puppy home and proceed to fill her bowl with four times as much food as she typically ingests for supper. Find jar of nearly-expired peanut butter in the cabinet and cram as much as possible in the only “advanced toy” currently in your possession: a Kong you received as a gift, a gift that puppy generally has little interest in, because it doesn’t squeak. Watch as puppy becomes enthralled with smart-dog toy! Consider prepping her Mensa application.
Watch as Puppy poops twice in the corner of your living room.
See poop as opportunity to make jokes about puppy’s resistance to weight gain. Suggest she star in her own Lifetime movie. Pitch suggestions for title: “You Can Never Be Too Thin: The Franny Foo Foo Story.” Or “The More I Poo, The Less I Weigh: A Canine Perspective On Anorexia.” Laugh.
Stop laughing as she poops a third time in the corner.
Really stop laughing as she proceeds to wake up during the night, crying, every two hours, only to be carried down the three flights of stairs and splatter a less-than-attractive substance on the sidewalk lining 12th Street.
Vow to call vet promptly Monday morning and admit defeat. In the meantime, put yourself on intensive, carbohydrate-only diet, bingeing on pineapple upside down cake, soft pretzels and pasta all day. You may, in fact, be incapable of bringing your puppy above Holocaust-era levels of starvation. But adding a little padding around your middle? That, you can handle.