So, this is all that's left...
Maybe I can squeeze out a few minutes of computer time with him occupied.
This Thoughtful Thursday will have no literary content (did I hear a cheer?), but it is still very thoughtful. It also is a two-parter. The first part is found HERE, or you can just click the picture at the top of the right-hand column. The second part is this: I am taking Puddy to the vet's tomorrow to get... well, what should I call it? Neutered? But that seems to say, "I don't have a boy or a girl dog; I have an other/neither." Fixed? But there's nothing wrong with him to "fix." Altered? I certainly hope he won't be altered beyond a very select few testosterone-driven traits! Castrated? Seems a bit too clinical. Besides, it makes me think of the worst parts of either ancient Greece or Freud. So, I think I'll turn to a euphemism-- "snipped." Just know I use it more from social protest than squeamishness.
This was a very long and tough decision on our part (my wife and I, that is). Initially, our desire from Day One when we got Puddy was to keep him "intact" for breeding purposes (another problematic word-- will he be less of a dog after this procedure, whereas he is intact now?). The intent was to breed him with a Beagle for Puggles, since he has a few "undesirables" according to the pug breed standard (i.e., apricot-fawn coat, a bit too tall, a bit slim, etc.). He is an absolutely gorgeous specimen, and we liked the idea of a) not wasting that genetic line, and b) having a little bit of Puddy out there in the world. We have never intended to show him-- we're just too busy to focus on that like one needs to in order to succeed. However, we have since backed off of that stance and about two weeks ago I scheduled with our vet to get him snipped.
On the pro side of the issue, we have the unquestioned health benefits to Puddy. We love him so much and want to keep him around for a long time. This helps that. Also, every vet or Petsmart employee we have talked to has advocated snipping for population control reasons. We actually received a bit of a backlash from well-meaning persons suggesting that we visit the "doggie death row" at kill shelters before we breed him. Of course, no one should make a decision like this because they feel guilted into it, but there is a logical point there amidst the emotional ploy. There are thousands of dogs in that situation across America. Breeding Puddy will increase the supply of dogs outside of kill shelters, which will decrease the demand for dogs inside kill shelters, which will contribute (albeit indirectly) to more dogs being euthanized at these places. Then there were practicality concerns. We liked the idea of perpetuating Puddy's genetic line, but we weren't going to take any of the Puggles (we have set an iron-clad two-dog rule in our house). Also, while there is usually a financial arrangement set up between the owners, it is rarely (if ever) significant. In fact, the more profitable it would be for us (meaning, the more times we stud him), the more logical force the "death row" argument gets.
Finally, we have noticed Puddy developing some strongly testosterone-driven traits. He is not marking, but he is "dominant" everywhere, and frequently with Snoufer. This ranges from mounting to increased territoriality to possessiveness/aggressiveness with toys and food. In fact, Snoufer and him are getting along a good deal less cordially since Puddy has hit about 5-6 months. Also, he is absolutely "wired" 24-7. He reacts to every sound, he sprints recklessly around the house (often leading to collisions), and it is hard to get him to sit still for much more than a few seconds. One of my favorite things about him when he was little was whenever we would sit on the ground, he would immediately crawl in our lap and stay there until we removed him. It absolutely melted my heart. However, once he hit 5-6 months, he rejected this entirely. He does not snuggle, even when tired. We are hoping that getting him snipped will address some of these issues. Major caveat: WE DO NOT WANT HIM TO CHANGE SIGNIFICANTLY. We like not having an overweight dog, we like having a dog that can at least keep up with Snoufer, and we don't want a dog that is attached to us 24-7. We picked Puddy out of his litter-mates because he showed an independent and adventurous spirit, and we DO NOT want to lose that. I am just worried about the trends I see developing, since my family had a Scottish Terrier when I was in High School who became so testosterone-driven that he could not enjoy life. And, for our part, we were less able to enjoy him.
On the con side of the issue, I am terrified of putting my little guy under anaesthesia. This is an irrational fear, and I know it. Snoufer came through fine, so do thousands more each day. Yet, when it comes to Puddy, 1/10 of 1% is enough to cause my stomach to churn. Also, there is still the lingering desire my wife and I had initially to breed him which, while being outweighed by other considerations, is nonetheless as strong as ever. There is also the concern that the personality changes will be too drastic. Finally (and I don't know how to put this other than boldfaced and blatantly), I am a guy. Being in the field of psychology, I am very familiar with Freud and his concept of "castration anxiety" (it is one of the main drives for the Oedipus Complex, if anyone cares). While he is in many ways a crackpot and a nutjob, he's got a nugget of gold stuck in the rough here. It wierds me out-- I'll admit it.
None of these cons are enough to make me not get Puddy snipped. The logic is just too strong on the other side. However, they are plenty more than enough to cause me many sleep-deprived hours and an emotional roller-coaster the past few weeks. I know I'm doing the right thing; it just hasn't sunk into my gut yet. So why am I posting this? Not really sure. Part of it is catharsis, part of it is to let you know what's going on, part of it is to grope in the dark for reassurance, and part of it is because I like the sound of my own thoughts a bit too much. Take it for what you will. In any case, I welcome and crave everyone's prayers, good thoughts, well-wishes, and/or personal stories. I'll update with news and pictures as I can and feel like it. I may need to dig into the archives, though-- there's only so many pictures one can take of a pug with a cone around his head giving you the "Glummy face" from the couch. In the meantime, here are some pictures of Puddy and Snoufer.
Seriously Dad, it's not as funny as you think.
Oooh! Look at my new toy! I love this thing.
So does Snoufer.
Look at my proud pug stance-- protecting the family, one intruder at a time.
And saving the best for last to celebrate the start of the football season... Hey, if Jason Taylor can be on Dancing With the Stars, so can I!