Hi.  My name is Tate, but most of you probably know me by my former name, Ms. Potato.

You could say that I am a girl with a bit of a past as I entered “the system” after being seized during a SWAT raid on my house in Idaho.  I was taken to the Idaho Falls shelter where I did some time in gen pop before I was transported to the AAC in Jackson.

During my intake session the AAC staff took me over to medical next door at Jackson Animal Hospital where I was deemed to be morbidly obese, weighing in at 77 lbs.  I took some offense to that characterization and the way they talked about me as if I wasn’t in the room, but the next thing I knew, I was placed on something called a “diet” and only fed a mere two times a day.  While the food I was given wasn’t bad, I can’t say that it was good either; it tasted like sadness, like a salad without Ranch dressing.

It was during my intake that I was given the name Ms. Potato as nobody could quite sort what breed of dog I was and it was said, again – like I wasn’t in the room – that I looked like a Russet potato with legs.  Haha, really funny.

My time at the AAC was comfortable, except for my hunger pains.  The AAC staff took good care of me during the day, giving me lots of pets, but, sadly, not many snacks.  Lots of nice people came by the shelter and would take me on walks around town wearing the “Orange is the New Black” “Adopt Me” vest that, frankly, did little for my figure.

I looked forward to every evening and the weekends when I got to go stay at my halfway house with my foster mom Kelly. She was the best.  She would take me on walks with her dog Ella and when she wasn’t at home, Ella and I would cuddle on Kelly’s bed.  The best thing about Kelly’s place was when she would move my favorite chair next to the window so I could lay on it and keep watch over the neighborhood.

During these two months there was a kid who was always at the shelter and I could tell that she was way into me.  She would give me lots of pets and an occasional treat when the guards weren’t looking.  I knew I was her favorite when she swabbed my mouth for a DNA test so that the question about my breed could finally be put to rest.  (By the way, I’m 50% Chinese Shar-Pei, 37.5% Airedale Terrier, with a 12.5% air of mystery.)

This kid was super persistent with her mom, trying to talk her into letting the kid spring me from this joint.  I spent one weekend with them as my fosters during which I was on my very best behavior.  A couple of weeks later I went to stay with them again and I laid it on thick with the mom, showing her my charming personality and how hilariously cute I am.  I made myself right at home, dozing belly-up in front of their fireplace.

Sure enough, my plan with the kid worked like a charm and the next week we were all back at the AAC getting my parole papers.  It was my best day!  After leaving the shelter they took me to get my very own collar and a tag.  I was no longer a homeless dog.

From that moment on, my name became Tate.

I like my new home.  In addition to the kid, there is a bigger kid who lets me sleep in her room, and I now have 4 dog siblings.  At first there were some adjustment issues with my dog sister Jessie.  Just like most tall, skinny, beautiful girls, she is a little crazy, but the other dogs advised me that if I just let Jessie think she is in charge (even though we all ignore her and do what we want), everything would be cool. They were right.

I love my new siblings even if I don’t look like them.  They are all hounds and have long hound dog ears.  Alas, my ears are tiny; as a side-by-side comparison showed, they are smaller than a Dorito.  Mmmmm….Doritos….I love Doritos.  Initially I was afraid that the body shaming over my ear size would continue forever and I looked into getting some ear extensions, but my new family has embraced me with all of my unique proportions – small ears and nubbin tail included!

My new family has kept me on a diet, and although the flavor of the food has improved, the quantity has not.  They frequently make jokes about how I ate too much Taco Bell back when I lived in “the crack house.” They also tell me that I need to keep working on my fitness and they take me on lots of walks.  My new mom has said they will even try me out on some hikes, but only in the shade and not during the heat of the day because apparently I don’t have the most efficient cooling system.

I enjoy running around in my fenced yard with my new brothers and sisters and I am an ever-vigilant watch dog patrolling the perimeter, protecting everyone from any free roaming ungulates that dare to approach MY house.  I have worked out a deal with my new parents: in the winter they dig paths through the snow for me and in the summer I dig holes in the yard (along with one of my brothers) for them.  I see it as a win-win.

While I don’t love being on a diet, my rations have slowly increased and when the kid took me for my weigh-in this week, I was down to a svelte 48.6 lbs!  I feel so much better and have so much more energy than when I first moved to Jackson.  I hate looking back at the old pictures of myself.  I am proud to say that I am no longer a Russet potato, but now I am more of a fingerling.

If you see me on the streets, feel free to call me the Real Slim Tatey.