Need to shed some pounds? Adopt a dog

The Baltimore Sun

To lose 30 pounds, Patti Lawson worked like a dog. And now, she's written a book to prove it.

Lawson is author of The Dog Diet, a memoir stuffed with anecdotes about how her real-life pooch helped her lose the one around her tummy - and regain self-confidence, hope and a bit of wit in the process.

The attorney-turned-writer's narrative was named "Dog Humor Book of the Year" by the Dog Writers Association of America in February.

In the winter of 2002, heartbroken because of the end of a long-term romance and disillusioned with her career as a finance attorney, Lawson did what she said many people do when they're unhappy: She ate.

She ate ice cream, pizza, fast food. But when noshing didn't satisfy her loneliness and her weight increased by 30 pounds, Lawson decided it was time to find another balm for her sadness at her local PetSmart.

Caring for Sadie, a part-cocker spaniel, part-German shepherd puppy, didn't just change Lawson's disposition. It unexpectedly changed her diet.

In March 2003, Lawson said Sadie's vet warned her not to feed her new pet any junk food, but it seemed the canine only had cravings for heart-clogging cuisine. Like her owner, the dog wanted ice cream, pizza and fast food.

Every time Lawson would come home with fatty fare for herself, Sadie would jump on her master, nosing her way into Lawson's meals.

She started eating healthy foods that were both palatable and safe for Sadie - hardboiled eggs, tuna in water, cottage cheese - as well as raw vegetables that the pup simply shunned.

Lawson said she also started enjoying exercise, or what the author coined "dogercise:" any movement with Sadie that got her off the couch and onto the sidewalks.

Over seven months, Lawson said she lost her post-breakup weight.

In April 2006, Lawson's book was published by HCI Books.

"I went out and adopted a dog, but she rescued me," Lawson said.

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