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     Health advocates announced yesterday that prairie dog obesity had reached new levels. Yes, the ground squirrel—most known for being adorable and making the most depressing roadkill—is getting fat. In a meeting with prairie dogs last Wednesday, health experts reported they took rodents aside individually and gently judged them.
 “No. It’s not just a little hibernation weight around the middle or extra pounds from your eight-pup pregnancy,” they said in a calm, measured voice. “You’re getting tubby, and—we don’t want to get into this too much—but everyone agrees with us, even Hannah.”
 Researchers report the rodents don’t find their previous diet to be palatable, a diet that consisted mainly of weeds, fibrous grasses, and small bugs you could only stomach with large amounts of ketchup. Instead, prairie dogs have found Milk Duds and Snickers eaten while lying on the floor and hating themselves to be significantly better than subsistence-living and frenzied sprints from dogs.
 Experts attribute the epidemic to a lack of exercise and the failure of government programs to make prairie dog pups appreciate the value of the great outdoors, the same outdoors that viciously murdered their cousin Kenny.
 “I’m scared,” Benny Jr., relative of the deceased, said. 
 Random people, without even a passable knowledge of health, have begun to offer unsolicited advice to the small furry rodent. “You know what really helped me? Giving up chocolate,” a person no one cares about said. “All I eat now is flax seed bars and vegetables I have to boil for six hours. No side effects either. Just washboard abs and uncontrollable anger.”
 These same people have developed a weight-loss clinic that introduces prairie dogs to healthy food choices and what to do when a human offers you Cheetos. They have also constructed a Whole Foods on top of several prairie dog holes.
 Fitness types—desperate to change the life of someone other than themselves—have begun offering exercise programs dedicated to burning off those extra calories and show up at six o’clock on a Saturday morning in fluorescent exercise gear and thumping bass music. 
 “We’re just out here doing squats and sprints, having a great time,” Max, the fitness instructor, said far too loudly for that time of morning. “We’re about changing lifestyles here, so you can be a better you.” He then flexed his muscles in a way that you couldn’t tell if he was trying to flex or doing what he does naturally.
 The reaction of prairie dogs to the exercise programs was to exit their holes and cheep, which was and is their response to everything. Rodent experts translated the cheeps to mean, “We’re completely fine with our lifestyle choices actually. And my wife here worked the night-shift, so could you turn the music down? Say... are you flexing, or is that just the way you normally stand?”
 As with any crisis, politicians —about as uninformed as a protester who only went along because that one attractive girl was going—have issued statements that may or may not have been addressing prairie dog obesity. 
 “You usually see this sort of thing in lower-income communities who have no access to expensive organic food, modern exercise equipment, or fistfuls of diet pills,” Senator Harrison of Idaho said. “Isn’t it great to live in a society where social norms make us hate ourselves? I’ll say.” Harrison then went on to gain twenty pounds and get uncontrollable nosebleeds—not from anything weight-related but still.
 Predators, on the other hand, have expressed unanimous approval of their prey’s weight gain.
  “I don’t really see what the problem is,” hawk Francis Johnson said while sharpening his talons. Johnson is also known by his street name, “He Who Casts Ominous Shadow On The Ground” and “Thugalicious.”
 Later, it became clear that prairie dogs were only putting on weight to survive the winter. Almost everyone was embarrassed and apologized to prairie dogs, except Max who had been distracted by a shiny penny and missed the announcement.​​

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