Monday, August 04, 2008

Feeling really uneasy

Apart from a restless night, with dreams verging on nightmares - we took the doggie in to the vet's today, to be castrated. I have to use that word - 'neutered' seems like a weasel word.

If his hormones are the problem, I wonder why we haven't yet invented a 'bromide' (the chemical that soldiers and prisoners suspect their warders and officers of putting in the tea, to make them more manageable). I certainly don't like seeing him frustrated (what chance does he have of getting laid?) and fighting other young males, and all that. But it does seem a bit brutal.

I still have a problem with the 'special creation' rules we apply to humans, though. The male youth that hang around over the road from the house, or who hot-rod up our residential street, jeer and taunt at passers-by, and may be carrying knives - we don't discuss castrating them to calm them down, now do we? Or rather, only old-fashioned right-wing nutcases do - or people in countries that still consider stoning to death people who commit adultery (say) or chopping the hands off thieves.

And yet - the supposedly 'rational' decision with a dog is just that. And I fully appreciate that he doesn't live a 'natural' life anyway. I just feel queasy about the decision. It does seem like the top of a slippery slope that lets people cut vocal chords because barking annoys humans, etc.

And even the Dog Whisperer recommends it, although it does make it a little less amazing that he can run a pack of 40-50 dogs in his yard. Getting to be Top Dog by cutting everyone else's balls off does sound a bit medaeval to me. Eunuchs in the harem spring to mind. And surely they were still employed as body-guards, so perhaps it doesn't curb aggression at all? Or am I confusing Hollywood images with reality?

Anyway - like I say. I am feeling wobbly. Drugging him, and then watching him resist with all his might from being dragged into the operating room. Very distressing.

Of course, I am (by most people's standards) sentimental about animals. I don't eat them, for instance. I don't have the farmer's casual approach to 'animals' because I think of them as fellow 'sentient beings' in the Buddhist tradition. I can't pretend (like fishermen) that they don't feel pain. I certainly would find it very difficult to kill one (I even apologise to snails when I step on them in the garden, and feel quite awful for my momentary lapse of awareness).

I don't completely trust anyone who says 'it's for their own good' - when the generation before me had their tonsils removed automatically (thankfully, medical opinion changed by my time). And the same generation of Americans (as me) all got circumcized, even if they weren't either Jewish or Muslim. Another thing which might simply depend on 'fashion', or medical opinion, or even medical income-streams. Or might be a good idea medically (traumatising your male child in the first few weeks doesn't sound like a good idea to me).

Still, it's done. It's probably too late already. It goes with the territory of having a dog for a pet.

I have quite a resistance to doctors, anyway - which comes more from my dad, I think. Women generally seem better at dealing with the earthbound practicalities of life. I have had teeth out, and stitches in my forehead, but that's about it. By contrast, I have held other people's hands approaching childbirth, abortions, hysterectomies, death, etc. There's no comparison.

That doesn't mean that I am not crying as I type. Better end this tea-break, and get back to work.

Sorry, mate.

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