Until a few years ago, I did not have this problem. My dog has not always been fat. When she was a puppy, she always had large paws, so we knew she would be big, but we never expected her to be this big. She is very sweet and great with the kids, but she does have a tad bit of a weight problem.

We knew she was a little heavy, but just preferred to put her in the category of “big-boned”. The harsh reality of her of weight problem was brought to our attention by the vet this past winter. We should have known it was bad when the vet said, “Oh my, she’s a big girl,” when we led her into the room. Then we got the bad news: Our 86-pound Boxer needed to lose 16 pounds. It was devastating, not so much for us, but for her. You see, we’d tried to put her on a diet on our own the previous year, and it didn’t go well.

We tried “diet” dog food. She was less than thrilled with it. The first time we gave it to her, we separated her from the other dogs by putting her in the garage with the food. She was in there no more than two minutes before she was scratching at the door to come in. When we opened the door, we got a surprise. She had spilled her food and peed on the floor. She was mad. But, that didn’t stop us from trying again the next day. This time it went even worse than before: She peed and pooped in the garage within a minute of being locked in the same room as the “diet” dog food. Wouldn’t you know, our other dogs- the ones that have trouble keeping weight on- just loved the stuff?

So we have been on a mission to get her to lose weight, yet again. We tried deworming her, and that also seemed to be unsuccessful, as she ended up gaining five more pounds. So, we figured her tape worm was actually keeping her skinny and by getting rid of it, we actual made her fatter. She has managed to lose a little weight, but nowhere near the 16 pounds that she was supposed to lose. We have tried rationing her food, feeding her separately from the other dogs and even giving her the dreaded “diet” dog food again. Nothing really seems to be doing the trick. We can only hope that lots of exercise this spring and summer will help her shed those extra pounds.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.