Perhaps the Internet knew I needed a little levity today. I was browsing (read: procrastinating) last night and came across an article entitled "Fake dog testicles help pet owners accept neutering." Seriously, who wouldn't be drawn to a headline beginning with the words "Fake dog testicles?"
Apparently the procedure's been around for quite a while -- I did seem to remember something about it from the dredges of memory -- and is gaining some momentum among pet owners who want to neuter their pet dog but feel they are depriving the poor pooch of doggie masculinity, or are making him feel empty, or perhaps they feel guilty endorsing the removal of such a clearly enjoyable licking diversion. I'm not sure. At any rate, the procedure is done after an animal is neutered, and replaces the real deals with silicone lookalikes. They've sold over 250,000 sets since 1995, costing up to $1,800, "for implantation in animals as diverse as a rhesus monkey in Arkansas and a water buffalo in Colorado." Most vets seem slightly bemused, some disapproving but some willing to humor eccentric owners if it encourages the control of pet populations.
The thing that got me the most was the statement that Neuticles are "marketed for their 'real' shape and feel."
Huh? Feel? Assuming dogs aren't too discerning while licking their nether-regions (and I think we can assume this is the case), who is feeling these? I guess I can sort of, kind of, almost see how someone overly concerned with manliness or gender in general would appreciate Neuticles as a sort of showcase for the dog's alleged mettle. But who's conducting tactile examinations? Another guy said he liked the procedure because otherwise it "just wouldn't look right." I don't know; I think I generally engage pets via the other end.
In related news (yes, really) we recently took our new cat in to be neutered (sans Neuticles request). After a cursory examination, the vet called me back to tell me there was nothing left to remove. Something of an animal person and (I thought) pretty observant, I felt fairly stupid to have overlooked this. I asked: "So, uh how can you..."
"Tell? Like this." At this point he received a considerably peeved look from the cat as he demonstrated how he arrived at his conclusion. "It's not receded at all, so you wouldn't really know unless you palpated the scrotal sack. See?" I assured him I did not, in fact, make a habit of palpating such things.
The cat continued to shoot reproachful looks at me the whole way home.