Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Think cosmetic surgery is just for humans? Think again. More and more, veterinarians are approached by pet owners, looking to put their pooches under the knife. While it seems that most canine surgeries are performed for actual medical reasons, some, surprisingly, are not. Take the case of neuticles: testicular implants for male dogs, designed by Dr. Gregg Miller, a vet from Missouri.
In an issue of Animal Fair magazine, Dr. Miller explains that neuticles “are for ‘neuter-resistant pet owners’ who want their dogs to retain their masculinity and self-esteem.” Um. . . who, exactly, are we talking about here? The dogs? Can anyone point me in the direction of a female pet owner who insisted on installing a pair of neuticles in her pet?
Dr. Miller reports that the procedure has allowed for a reduction in the pet population (because neuter-reluctant pet owners are now willing to succumb to surgery). That’s fantastic, but is an artificially-stuffed sac really what it takes?
(And because my writing is about women and body image), is there any parallel between dogs undergoing surgery to please their (male) owners and women undergoing surgery to please their (or attract some) men? Neuticles are a hit because male pet owners use their dogs as narcissistic extensions of themselves. Sure, they may not be feeling as manly as the next guy, but their neuticle-sporting pets may help them negotiate the difference. Is it possible that a husband who encourages his wife to get breast implants, or a man who supports his already-thin partner’s decision to get liposuction, is doing just the same? Because a man with a (unnaturally) thin, large-breasted woman on his arm can advertise his masculinity (especially to other men) and compensate for a lack of self-esteem in much the same way as an extra pair of testicles for all the world to see.