The weeks preceding his annual exam provoked much thought. I note that as I write, the two adjectives - unaltered and male - seem as important as the noun category, dog.
We use this time before the annual exam to observe our dog and to try to understand him even more than before. There's a very good rhetorical question that I hear: How would you like it if you had a collar and leash on you all day? So I learn and learn about dogs. I learn that Retrievers were bred to hunt, to provide people with food; other dogs have it in their genealogical nature to be sheep-herders, such as the Corgi, out in the fields and mountains; still other dogs, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, were bred to find and kill rats who sneak into the farmers' food supply and thus deplete the food stock for humans. These dogs are specialists. We humans have been dependent on dogs for our survival. Though I find myself being more endeared to Joey, and I find Joey to be more bonded to me, I find myself becoming more aware and more appreciative of the differences between dogs and humans.
There are arguments everywhere - by medical professionals, by dog behaviorists - against leaving male dogs whole. The arguments go: 'It's better for their health.' 'They are more sociable.' 'They are better behaved.' I'm not convinced. There are also ethical and religious considerations that are important to us.
But if Joey were castrated, what would he be, exactly? And what would we be saying about him? And why?
Joey had a stay at animal boarding and the on-call vet there said that Joey's prostate was enlarge and he would need emergency surgery to remove his testicles. What? Coincidental with his boarding?
We ordered a blood and urine test and ordered the results be sent to our darling veterinarian. Joey went for his annual exam as scheduled. His prostate ws slightly enlarged but nothing extraordinary or dangerous to his health.
The blood test and the manual examination of Joey's prostate showed, indeed, that we were right all along. We all decided to take no action, and let Joey continue living as he was.
Phil and I are happy we pursued our path of action. We knew our dog and his medical history. and we consulted with a doctor who we trust and who has Joey's interest at heart. We are glad we reached out for a second opinion, and to have the opportunity to work together with Joey's long-term doctor.
Dr. Kiko is also happy that Joey will remain whole.
If you haven't read Joey's post on his recent annual physical exam, please do so now, so you can put together the two halves of the story.