This is probably a silly thing to say on my part, but I’ve even experienced the sort of “judgement culture” you mention with my dog, who may well be one of the most loved, most spoiled, most well-cared-for canines ever.

He’s getting a little on in years and developed a prostate infection last summer. It put him off his food and he lost some weight. We did our best to get him better and bought calorie-dense dog food to put some weight back on him.

Once he got over the infection, the vet castrated him to prevent another one, and he got better and filled out again.

But during the entire time he was underweight, people gave me dirty looks when I was out walking him, sometimes even making comments about calling the ASPCA.

I get that they were concerned, but their instant assumption that our dog was neglected could not have been further from the truth.

It was very frustrating and worrying.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.