Princess: On diets, dogs and dogma |

Princess: On diets, dogs and dogma

Alison Berkley Margo

So I found out yesterday that everyone in our family needs to go on a diet.

We took the kids to the vet because George was having some issues with his hind legs. He’s a big 10-year-old German shepherd and has one of those sloping backs that makes him all twisted up, or, like my mom likes to say, “It looks like his rear end doesn’t belong to his front end.” He had a pinched nerve or some issue that made him wipe out every time he walked across the Pergo floors. His legs would splay apart, and he’d stand there looking at me like, “Hey, lady, can you help an old man out here?” It was really sad. So off to the vet we went.

I brought Gertie with me, too, so we could get her nails clipped and throw her on the scale. I almost fell over when I found out she weighed 15 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot; she’s tiny, like the size of a football. She looks like a marshmallow with legs. She’s super-soft, squishy and scrumptious-looking, like you almost want to eat her. I bet she’d taste amazing, like the dog version of veal chops, but don’t tell anyone I said that.

You would think we’d be able to manage to clip her nails ourselves, seeing how small she is. But she totally freaks out and squirms all over the place, and we’ve cut the quick one too many times and it bleeds like crazy. Yes, I tried putting her paw in flour, and it didn’t work.)

So now I have to pay for my pug to get mani/pedis every week. It’s bad enough that she had rhinoplasty surgery. We had it done to improve her breathing passageway, but still. Every Jewish girl I knew growing up who had a nose job told everyone it was to repair her deviated septum. So I doubt anyone is going to believe Gertie had her nose job for medical reasons, even if it’s true.

Two girls had to hold her down while she threw the biggest tantrum you’ve ever seen, squirming and panting, her enormous tongue flapping out like a frog trying to catch a fly. If you have ever seen a pug’s tongue, it’s like one big genetic mistake, way too big for their little flat faces, like it should be in the mouth of a much larger animal, like a horse or a cow. They cooed at her the whole time and fed her treats, but Gertie wasn’t having it. She went ballistic, even snapping at the girls at one point.

“You can’t bite me, Gertie. You have a flat face,” the girl said in a tone I thought was way too nice.

After it was all over I was bracing myself for a lecture, for them to kick us out and tell us that attack pugs weren’t welcome. Then one of the girls brandished her iPhone and started merrily snapping photos of my little bratty dog.

“We’ll post it on our Facebook page,” she said. “She’s just the cutest thing ever.”

And I’m standing there like, “Huh?”

Even as I write this, she’s out on the patio barking her little head off at every little thing she thinks is a perceived threat: the wind, the goats across the street, her own reflection, etc. She thinks she’s a guard dog. I have had several long discussions with her about this, asking her, “What do you plan to do once you confront your imaginary intruder? You can’t even bite.”

I know, I’ll get back to George in just a second.

So the point of my rant is that it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have kids. I mean, just look at my dog. She’s a spoiled little bratty porker who gets way too much attention despite her behavior. Can you imagine what the human variety would have been like? Talk about capitalizing on cute.

Of course George is my stepdog. I inherited him when I met Ryan and did not raise him from puppyhood. So of course George is perfectly behaved and insanely well-trained and has the disposition of an older gentleman. Ryan thinks if George could talk he’d sound like Tim Gunn from Project Runway. He’d be like, “Designers, get to work!” And he’d definitely be neatly dressed in a suit and wire-frame glasses. He’s very regal-looking and has a keen intelligence that comes through in the way he looks at me sometimes, like, “Good Lord, woman. If only I could explain this to you.”

George weighed 107 pounds, which is more than 10 pounds over his normal weight. It’s only because of the arrival of his fat little sister that he’s eating as much as he is. He used to self-regulate his diet, and he was very good at it, maintaining a fashionably low weight and an almost too-thin frame that even Tim Gunn would approve of. Now he’s forced to eat because if he leaves even one morsel in his bowl, the little piglet will come around and devour it hysterically, like it’s the last scrap of food left on earth. Oh, the doc gave George some steroids and his rear legs are good now, so there’s that, in case you wanted to know.

Ryan’s weight also has the number 2 in front of it, and I won’t even step on the scale; my tight clothes provide all I need to know. The other day I was trying to do the lunge-and-stretch — you know, when you take your jeans out of the dryer and they’re all stiff so you try to loosen them up? And they ripped right across the ass — big, red flag.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is our family has gone to the dogs. Funny enough, it’s a great place to be.

The Princess and Ryan are doing a juice cleanse starting Monday. Email your love to

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