Mutts & Nuts
A repost from August, 2007
The High Plains Journal has a piece on dogs in which Trent Loos writes:
"Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets -- more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research company based in Rockville, Md. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined.
"'People are no longer satisfied to reward their pet in pet terms,' argues Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. 'They want to reward their pets in human terms.'
"That means hotels instead of kennels, braces to fix crooked teeth, and frilly canine ball gowns. Pet owners are becoming increasingly demanding consumers who won't put up with substandard products, unstimulating environments, or shoddy service for their animals. But the escalating volume and cost of services, especially in the realm of animal medicine, raises ethical issues about how far all this loving should go.
"The demand for pet Neuticals is also going through the roof. What, you might ask, are Neuticals? Neuticals are artificial testicles that dog owners are putting in their neutered dogs in order to maintain the self-esteem of their dog. Not only do you pay to have the testicles removed, now people are shelling out up to $1,000 per dog to replace their testosterone so they aren't intimidated at the park by intact males. . . .
"Do you really believe that someone who pays $1,000 for their dog's self esteem would understand you taking your hunting dog out for a hunt? 'He'll be close to you when you fire the gun and oh, that must really hurt his ears. How do you ever make him swim in that pond or lake to retrieve the bird you shot? To top it all off, you don't even let him eat the bird.'
"How about the cattle working dogs that are born with the natural desire and, further, trained to chase cows, biting them on the legs and risking a swift kick to the head?"
Well I'm not sure it's gotten quite that bad yet. Most Americans are more than O.K. with a dog that works stock and retrieves shot birds. In fact, not only would most Americans be happy to see such an animal working they would be proud to make its acquaintance.
As for Neuticals, I already know what you are asking: Are they for real? Indeed Neuticals are for real, and they are just as insane as they sound: Neuticals are fake testicals.
But wait there's more.
How to phrase this? Well (- ahem -), it seems that neuticals come in three models: NeuticlesORIGINAL (rigid), NeuticlesNATURAL (natural softness), and Neuticles UltraPLUS® (super soft).
And why do you need this variety?
Please, God, don't tell me people want to feel big nuts on dogs and they want them to feel as natural as possible. And please God, don't tell me they know the difference?
Are you creeped out by all this yet? Yeah, me too!
But then it occured to me what these Neuticals are really about. And, as odd as it may sound, it made me feel better.
You see, it may not be about perversion. It may be about cheating.
Think about it. You have a male dog that you want to show, but it is a monorchid, i.e. it has one testicle. Or a deformed testicle. Or a really small testicle on one side, any or all of which would preclude it from winning in the show ring.
What do you do? Answer: Get a Neutical implant!
And who is going to know?
Well the judge might suspect something is amiss if he reaches up there to do a "nut check" and finds a hard golf ball next to a softer one that is more ovoid So, you have to "match the hatch," just like in fly fishing. Which is why Neuticals not only come come in every size, but also in three silicone densities.
It's all about fraud, and it makes perfect sense.
Or at least it makes perfect sense if you are liar and cheat interested in winning in the world of show dogs at any cost.
And there's no shortage of those, are there? Today dog coats are dyed and powdered, pedigrees are faked, coats are cut to hide faults, noses are blackened, ears are surgically corrected, and teeth are straightened and bonded. So Neuticals are really not such a big leap, are they?