Hey, I’m not the problem!

Dear Labby,

I responded to a plea from a local rescue group and am now fostering a dangerously overweight Bulldog. I’m walking him several times a day and strictly monitoring his diet, hoping to get him to a healthy state so that he can be placed for adoption. I’ve only had him four days but have already had random strangers on the street yell words to this effect at me: “You’re abusing your dog, quit overfeeding him!” Labby, I’m trying to undo someone else’s abuse and the comments are infuriating. Should I respond to these busybodies? If so, how?

Signed:

Bothered by Incorrect Guesses at Bulldog’s Obesity and Need Effective Defense

Dear Bothered by Incorrect Guesses at Bulldog’s Obesity and Need Effective Defense:

Why are people so stupid? No wait, I mean nasty. No wait, I mean ignorant. No seriously, wait! I mean well-intentioned but ultimately ill-informed. (I would never call anyone stupid – I’m an etiquette expert, after all.)

With the pet obesity epidemic on the rise, it’s not surprising — although not an excuse — that folks would take it upon themselves to comment on your chubby charge. Does the rescue group have business cards? If so, B.I.G. B.O.N.E.D., procure a few. The next time Judgmental Judy renders her observation, hand her a business card and say, “If you’d like to be part of the Phat Dog Rescue foster program, we’d love to have your help ensuring these homeless animals get their necessary daily walks.”

If business cards aren’t available, you can still get your point across. “Thank you so much for your concern. Sumo is my foster dog, and I’m doing all I can to get him slimmed down and adoption ready.” Feel free to add: “We rescued him from Al’s House of Metabolic Research, you ignorant lump of buffalo manure” (but so softly they won’t be able to hear it over their roaring mortification).

Got a petiquette question for Dear Labby? Email dearlabby@dogtime.com.