Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Neuticle Rant


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.

11 comments:

PalmTreeChick said...

Cute dog! That yours?

ps22 said...

Very eye-opening, this is something I had never heard of before! I usually think (probably too optimistically) that most pet owners are generally good people. But after having lived in NYC for a bit, I do agree that some people (men and women) use pets are narcissistic extensions of themselves. This is sad. As far as men who seek trophy mates...this reminds me of a friend, the "nice" guy whom all the girls adore like a brother but never want to date. He ended up dating a very attractive girl for a long time. Despite her very difficult personality (we all thought he was way too good for her), he stuck around and was treated like a doormat because he never believed he could do better. I guess I'm just trying to say that I agree with you that men subtly coerce women into risky behaviors (e.g., your example with liposuction), but that many men have their own insecurities just like women with body image issues.

Teacher lady said...

This sickens me. Any time we "humanize" animals, it's usually to their detriment. I'm guessing men think, "I can't do that to him - I care about him and I sure wouldn't want my balls lopped off." Dogs care about approximately 4 things: eating, eliminating previously eaten food, chewing on stuff and playing. Ugh. I don't know what else to say. Sorry, off topic, but people doing stupid things to their animals is really a hot-button issue for me.

Beth said...

Has there ever been any verified research to show that pets lose self esteem from neutering? Biochemically, I know their personalities sometimes calm down, though I doubt their simple brains could find consolation in a new, unfunctioning set of testicles. A pet owner who pet chooses cosmetic surgery has a greatly displaced sense of self inferiority. Similarly, a partner who encourages their mate to have cosmetic surgery would be trying to compensate for their own psychological issues. I DO support plastic surgery, but not at the instigation of another party.

Haley-O said...

Wow. That is messed up. Your analysis is really interesting: what is with men and implants? I guess they like to play god and create dogs in the image of themselves and women in the image of their desire...?

cookie monster said...

i know there was a really serious point there and all that but i culdnt stop myself from laughing at the fact that there are people who would give their dogs fake bollocks!

some people really are strange....

wading through recovery said...

seriously,

that

is

so

wrong.


...on so many levels

i don't even know where to start.

littlem said...

OH my GOD.

If these prospective owners are adopting from shelters, the shelter managers should quiz them relentlessly.

Cosmetic surgery for pets - did anyone bother to ASK the pets if THEY wanted the surgery? I've heard of projection, but this is going SO too far I'm clearly sputtering.

(I love dogs, and the heat is bad, so I'm more than a little ill right now.)

It's probably pretty clear where I stand on the "trophy wife/gf" issue.

(And ps22, not to be too terribly cynical, but what if your friend was putting up with that banshee he was dating because he thought her looks gave him status?)

I think the only solution -- for us women, dogs, whomever -- is just to STAY AWAY from these men.

Ladies, observe your dates and ask them as many questions as their egos can handle; figure out their insecurities -- and yours -- before you end up wearing them.

Literally.

ps22 said...

little m.....totally agree with you. Yes, i do think he dated her to have status. But i think his need for status stems from certain insecurities (like it does for most people). Good point.

annie said...

First of all, I want that puppy! So adorable. Interesting topic for me because I have four dogs, one male. I have had them all fixed at six months on the dot. When it was time for my little boy to go in, I actually asked the vet if he could have a vasectomy, because (even being a female) it felt a little weird to me to have him castrated. The doctor told me that it was actually better for his general health to have the whole thing off so that was my answer. I can't imagine opting for testicular implants. I bet you're right that if we took a poll, we would not find one female who would do that to her dog.

drstaceyny said...

ptc--nope (though very cute!)

ps--I'd like to think that most pet owners are good people, but with the wealth of cases of pet neglect/abuse, I'm not sure they are.

I hope your friend was able to get out of that relationship. I agree that many men have their own set of insecurities (thus, the turning to culturally approved beautiful women to boost them).

tl--me, too. . .

beth--as far as I'm aware, there's so way to (quantifiably) measure self-esteem in dogs. I'm not even sure our self-esteem measures for humans are that precise!

haley--interesting take on this. . .

cm--yes, they are. Thanks for stopping by. . .

wtr--me either. . .

little m--good advice.

annie--was it more difficult than spaying your femals b/c it's visible/obvious?