Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dog's Delicate Surgery: The Guys Sympathize

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dog's Delicate Surgery: The Guys Sympathize

Article excerpt

IT'S been a rough week for the dog.

Being a responsible pet owner, not wanting to increase the puppy population of the world, I agreed with the vet that it was time for Reggie to be neutered. It was not a popular decision in our family, nor a democratic one - my husband and son taking an understandably dim view of castration, and the dog being denied a voice in the matter.

Men are typically unwilling to bring a male dog in for this particular surgical procedure, Dr. Tim says. In fact, he tells me of a veterinary catalog that advertises testicular implants for dogs who have been "fixed." "What for?" I ask, wondering who benefits from canine prosthetic devices - other than the company who sells them. It's hard to imagine any dog, male or female, gullible enough to be taken in by such artificial enhancement. I mean, who is fooling whom? Whatever their faults, dogs are pretty much without pretense, and surely even the dumbest of dogs would not come out of his post-operative anesthetic haze, check his equipment and think: "Oh, good. Everything's intact. Must have been a bad dream." Dr. Tim ventures a guess that such implants are requested by women dog owners whose husbands are opposed to having the dog neutered. The idea is, I guess, to wait for the mister to be out of town for a day or two, schlep the dog in for surgery, and follow up with the false assets. That way, the man of the house is none the wiser, and Bowser is still Macho Dog, in the eyes of his master. "It's kind of a male thing," Dr. Tim sighs. On the day Reggie's surgery is scheduled, there is no question that I will be the one to take him. As we pull out of the driveway, the other members of the household shake their heads mournfully and say insensitive things to both me and the dog. I let him ride in the front seat. "It'll be all right," I say. "You'll be fine." I have uttered these words on innumerable occasions, to my children (and myself) when assurance was needed. I recite the litany of animals I have owned, all neutered without complication. …

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