With everyone talking about New Year’s resolutions and getting back in shape for 2009, I’m in the mood to discuss my fat dog.

Glory was a skinny dog when we adopted her from the Border Collie Rescue of San Diego five years ago. Listed among her bad habits was "counter surfing."

I had no idea what that was, but my guess was right on target.

"Counter surfing" is cool California slang for dogs who can’t keep their front paws on the floor. When Glory is in the kitchen, she suddenly feels human and no longer needs four feet.

I could have broken her of this bad habit years ago when we first welcomed her into our home. But I gave in to her puppy-dog eyes and didn’t see what harm could come from slipping her some leftovers while I cooked for and then cleaned up after my hungry brood.

In less than a month’s time, we no longer had a skinny dog, but we still had a counter surfer.

She proved to be a first-rate sandwich stealer and pizza thief. Since the boys and I were at home more than Ron, we learned to guard our food at all times.

Then one night, Glory ran off with his T-bone steak, and he learned to be as vigilant as the rest of us.

After a year and a half of California counter surfing, Glory had filled out, and then some. Flying her across the country with us would have cost as much as a used car, so she accompanied Ron in the pickup truck.

Both of them smelled like dirty dogs when they pulled into the driveway.

That first winter in Pennsylvania, Ron started pointing his finger in her direction and suggesting we had a fatty in our family.

I jumped to my pooch’s defense, blaming her fuller appearance on her woolly winter coat. "Plus, she needs a little extra padding to keep warm here," I added. "She is from southern California, ya know."

Ron’s only response was, "Yeah, right!"

But after taking her to the doggie doctor, my husband had plenty to say.

According to the veterinarian, Glory was 15 pounds over her ideal weight. Ron had a great big "I told you so" look on his face as he gave me the news.

He described a new diet plan that involved replacing her second daily bowl of dog food with canned green beans.

At that point, I had seen Glory eat everything from aluminum foil to cupcake liners, but I had never seen her eat a green bean.

Eliminating leftovers was another big part of the plan. Surprisingly, it was also the part Glory and I had the most trouble following.

For the first few weeks, she shocked me by reluctantly gulping down those green beans at the end of the day, when her sad eyes hadn’t worked their magic on me.

But then, I grew weak as she continued to follow my every move and waited patiently for me to "accidentally" drop food. That green bean diet put us both to the test.

Like most dieters, she lost a few pounds at the beginning, and then we started to cheat. It was right before bedtime, when she stood there looking at those dreaded green beans, that I finally gave in and began to sprinkle a bit of grated cheese on top.

We were back to our old tricks within days, and Ron didn’t even seem to mind. Evidently, he was getting a bit tired of cleaning up after our dieting doggie.

It had totally escaped my mind that the reason green beans are so filling is because they have lots of fiber!

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 18 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at or visit her Web site at

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