“I caught the dog looking at himself in the full-length mirror today,” I said to my husband. “I think he’s feeling a little self-conscious about his thighs. And he’s worried about putting on weight over the holidays.”

“The dog is worried?” my husband asked.

“Yes, he noticed that he’s put on a few pounds since Halloween and he wants to make sure he doesn’t get any heavier.”

“The dog said that?” my husband wondered.

“He did. He’s going to go on a diet, and I decided to do it with him to give him some support.”

“That’s very nice of you, honey.”

“I know,” I replied. “I’m thoughtful that way.”

It was true, actually. The dog had put on a little weight. But I was the one who binging on leftover Halloween candy and I was the one who was having trouble fitting into her skinny jeans. Now, with Thanksgiving looming, I needed to stop and face the music so I did not end up gaining so much weight this season that I ended up looking like the holiday turkey.

I had heard that you’re more likely to succeed on a food and exercise plan if you do it with a friend, so I decided to enlist the help of a partner. I wanted someone who would go along with whatever exercise I decided to do, who wouldn’t scold me if I cheated on my diet, and would be a willing participant in any hair-brained get-thin-quick scheme I came up with.

So, I drafted the dog. And blamed it on him.

“The dog needs to lose a few pounds,” I said to the vet at our next visit. “What do you recommend?”

“You can cut down on his food intake,” she suggested.

“Oh, but then won’t we, I mean, he, be hungry?”

“He’s a dog. He’s always hungry,” said the vet.

“Yes,” I sighed. “We are. I mean, he is.”

The vet looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“Or we could switch him to a lower calorie kibble and you can supplement with carrots and string beans,” she said.

“That might work,” I replied. “I like carrots. I mean, the dog likes carrots.”

The dog thumped his tail. The vet gave me the side-eye.

“You know, a lot of times dogs gain weight because of too much snacking. Do you think that might be the problem here?” asked the vet.

“Definitely,” I replied.

“If you cut down on the snacks, you probably wouldn’t need to change the meals.”

“Really? You think so?” I wondered enthusiastically.

“Yes. Stop snacking and get more exercise,” she replied.

“I can do that!” I exclaimed. “I mean, I can help the dog with that.”

The vet and I lifted the dog off the examination table.

“I think with a few small changes, the ‘dog’ will drop the weight pretty quickly,” she said and winked at me.

“Thanks so much,” I said to her as I put the dog’s leash back on him. “I’m sure the dog appreciates your advice. Do you have any other suggestions?”

“Yes,” she replied ...

“Get rid of the leftover Halloween candy.”