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What I Learned from My Fat Dog Buddy

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This is our fat dog Buddy. We love Buddy. He has been with our family for over 10 years. He has been there for the ups, he has been there for the downs, and he has been there for everything in between. Buddy is loyal. He is our family’s number one supporter. Regardless of what kind of day you have had, Buddy is always at the door to greet you, tail wagging and a toy in his mouth waiting to play.


Naturally, the honeymoon phase of a new puppy has waned over the past 10 years.  For the kids, time spent friends and technology has increased, and time throwing a stick to Buddy in the yard has decreased.  Buddy doesn’t judge.  Still, every single day, he greets each family member at the door, with optimistic puppy eyes and a wagging tail, even if the kids step over him as if he were invisible on their way to their iPhone to check Instagram.  The reality is Buddy is no longer the star of the show.

One look at Buddy and you can see how he copes … with food.  Buddy is an emotional eater.  My wife and I are stumped.  We measure his nutritional blend of food religiously and let him have a run of the backyard, but he keeps getting bigger and bigger.  After the vet calls Buddy “morbidly obese” and yells at us, we further restrict his diet and encourage more exercise, and he just gets bigger.

The reality is there are 6 people in our family, and I am 100% convinced I am the only member who doesn’t sneak Buddy table food.  You see, we all sincerely love Buddy and deep down we realize we don’t spend the quality or quantity of time with him he deserves.  We compensate by sneaking him some goodies.  We know it isn’t good for him, but the quick-hit of happy he displays with each treat is hard to resist.  It seems like the perfect solution.  Buddy is happy and our guilt is relieved.

We had a discussion around the dinner table the other night.  Do we love Buddy more by giving him the food he deeply desires (but doesn’t need), or do we love him more by denying him?

Love is complicated.  We never want to see those we love hurt or want in any way.  Not even for a moment.  We want to help in any way we can.  However we have to be cautious in how we define help.  In order to love in a way that empowers and doesn’t enable we may have to deny those we love and allow them to fail and experience pain in order to learn and grow.

So … I love you Buddy, but get away from my pizza.

 

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Co-Author of "Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World." Why listen to the OolaGuru? Need some street cred? Believe in "show me, don't tell me?" Some highlights:
OolaFitness: Ironman
OolaFinance: Completely debt and financially free by age 40
OolaFamily: Married 20+ years to his kindergarten classmate, 4 beautiful kids
OolaField: Formally retired at age 42. Now does only what he wants only when he wants to be
OolaFaith: Yet not the man he wants to be, but grateful he is not the man he used to be
OolaFriends: Let's just say he is networked
OolaFun: Travel is his passion. 53 countries and counting . . .