Dogs can have body image struggles too!

There is not much argument that many women (and, I hear, increasingly more men too) view their bodies as larger than in fact they are.  Have you ever been in a group exercise class and noticed that, when asked to stand with feet “hip distance apart,” many women will place their feet out significantly farther?  That probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but I find it funny to watch my dog Lizzy, who appears to have a similar body image problem.  Months ago I noticed that she will not come through the open door until it is opened unnecessarily wide, wide enough to fit two of her through it!  When I have tried to coax her to come through a door too narrow for her liking, she looks up at me as if to say, “Can’t you see there is NO WAY that my wide hips can fit through that supermodel-thin opening you have prepared for me?!”  It has become a house joke that we have one dog (Lizzy) who seems to feel so much larger than she is, and another dog (Stella) who seems to view herself more accurately.  

This morning, Lizzy gave me another reason to laugh.  As I was resting in bed, she came alongside to get a little pat on the head.  I completed the morning ritual as she stood in the 2-foot wide (at least!) space between the bed and the wall.  When she had had enough, instead of turning to leave, which was entirely possible given her size, she backed her way out of the opening, a distance of about 6 feet. She clearly decided that turning around to go out was not possible  due to her size, despite how much easier it would have been than walking backwards on 4 legs.  I can only hope, for Lizzy’s sake, that dogs view their size from the standpoint of “the bigger the better.”  Then I can rest easy, knowing  that her self esteem is in healthy shape, albeit somewhat distorted!

Take a lesson from Liz the Labrador Retriever:  The way you view yourself may or may not have anything to do with reality.  Yet it certainly affects how you live, and more importantly, what you think is possible.  And never forget how important it is to keep the attitude LIGHT!



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