Last week, the world fell in love/felt really bad for Obie, the morbidly obese dachshund who was taken in by a volunteer in Portland. But at twice the size of a healthy dachshund, Obie’s isn’t the tragic tale it could have been. In fact, I think it’s actually really inspiring, particularly for non-canines who are struggling with their weight. Here’s what we can learn from Obie.
Blame helps no one
Plenty of onlookers have been quick to judge the owners who allowed Obie to get as large as he is, but as Nora, the volunteer who is caring for him, stated on his Facebook wall, the owners weren’t able to care for him–and blaming them doesn’t help anyone.
Similarly, obese and overweight humans frequently get blamed and shamed for “letting themselves go.” But that kind of negative thinking is hurtful–and it doesn’t help anyone lose weight. Fat-shaming isn’t what is going to get anyone healthy, just like blaming Obie’s former owners isn’t going to get him lose the weight and restart his life.
It’s never too late to get healthy
Just like nearly one third of Americans, Obie’s life was in danger because of his excessive weight, sedentary lifestyle, and highly caloric diet. He is literally the fattest dachshund alive, which could make some people regard him as a lost cause.
But, due to the kindness of strangers, he is now getting the help he needs–and has already lost a substantial amount of weight. And while most overweight, obese, or otherwise unhealthy individuals probably won’t get that kind of intervention, there’s a message of hope in Obie’s situation: You’re never too far gone to get up, get active, and make a healthy change. And you don’t have to do it alone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Without Nora’s kindness–and donations and encouragement from Obie’s thousands of adoring fans–Obie wouldn’t have the same opportunity. But his journey toward health couldn’t have gotten started without the original owners plea for help.
Obie is being flooded with really positive encouragement (seriously, go look at these photos–they’ll restore your faith in humanity), which may not be super-helpful for a dog, but for a human can make all the difference. Whether it’s the support of your friends and family, or an online community like SparkPeople, reaching out and telling those around you that you’re making a conscious effort to get your health on can help remove some of the isolation and stigma around eating healthy and working out.
If a friend needs help, be supportive, not judgmental
People have been so, so kind to Obie, which is a lesson we all should take to heart. It’s easy to look at a friend who may not be taking great care of themselves and, when they decide to make a change, meet it with criticism or skepticism. But that’s not being a good friend–and it’s not being supportive.
Treat your friend like almost 50,000 people on Facebook have treated Obie–with concern, kindness, and encouragement.
If you’d like to donate to Obie’s cause, you can send donations through Pay Pal here
Image via The Biggest Loser, Doxie Edition