cats, customs/rituals, Dogs, pets

How Far Do You Go?

I’m referring to pampering your pets. I am certainly guilty. My daughter even accuses me of spoiling my cat, Sweetie Beattie, just because I give in to her finicky eating habits.

One indulgent act I am certain I would never take. I would never have plastic testicles implanted in my neutered dog, no matter how beloved he might be. Obviously, inventor, Gregg Miller disagrees. He came up with the idea for implanted testicles after his bloodhound, Buck, began to clean himself following castration. According to Miller, the dog acted extremely depressed. However, after the implants, Buck happily resumed his old cleaning habits because they replicated the weight and feel of his natural testicles.

Bumper Sticker. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Bumper Sticker. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

Miller’s invention of Neuticles has been a huge success, with over 500,000 neuticles implanted since 1995 in the U.S. as well as in 49 other countries. Miller even won the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine, a parody of the real Nobel Prize. I would love to have heard THAT acceptance speech.

Package of neuticles. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Package of neuticles. Photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

There seems to be few boundaries for what we won’t do for our animals. I know of other pet owners who regularly inject their diabetic cats with insulin; some who travel out of state to visit veterinarian specialists. Then there is the Colorado couple whose Samoyed needed dialysis with each round costing $1,300. After they were over $25,000 in debt, they established a GoFundMe account to solicit additional funds.

My friend, Marilyn, had a cat, Blossom Dearie, named after the famed jazz singer. Unfortunately, Blossom developed hyperthyroidism and had to be treated with radioactive iodine. As a result, Marilyn had to collect the cat’s feces and deposit them in a hazardous-material container.

And in Australia, as recently as September 14, 2016, a woman rushed her pet goldfish, “Conquer” to the vet. The observant owner had noticed that her fish had stopped eating, and that’s when she realized that Conquer had swallowed a pebble from the bottom of the fish tank. The small stone had gotten stuck in its mouth..

By using anesthesia and a tiny instrument, the vets extracted the jagged rock. The procedure was successful, and Conquer happily returned home to its own fish bowl. The veterinary bill for this life-saving procedure? $500.

Here in Las Cruces, musician, Ross Le Comte and his wife, Alta, had to have their elderly dog, Ace, put down. As the veterinarian administered the first injection, Ross picked up his trumpet and played, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a tune that Ace loved to sing along with Ross on trumpet in a nightly musical ritual.

As Ross tearfully recalled, a few days later, when he and his wife glanced out the back window, they spied a rainbow and said,  “There’s Ace. Everything is Okay.”


Folklorist Norine Dresser cherishes her current feline companion but draws the line at extreme measures.

Sharing nap time with Sweetie Beattie. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.
Sharing nap time with Sweetie Beattie. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2016.

13 thoughts on “How Far Do You Go?”

  1. OK . . . NOW I have heard it all!!! Loved the Over The Rainbow bit. Soooo sweet and would do THAT, BUT . . . the rest is simply INSANE!! With people starving to dead and not even have adequate clean water to drink?? Good grief!!

  2. When my cat Trivia became diabetic, I gave her two shots a day. It made her life better, and it was much easier than I thought. The price was, at the time, far less than I am paying for special cat food for my current cat. When the diabetes became difficult to control and Trivia went blind, we put her down. There are limits, and I discover mine with every cat I have in my life. Fake testicles seem to me (whose neutered male cat is purring on my desk next to me) more for the owner than for the animal.

      1. If I’m gonna go without neuticles, my dog sure can, too. Getting testicle cancer twice has left me with – and pardon the description – an empty sack. I didn’t really see the benefits of implants. But, then again, I.was never in the habit of lickin’ ’em.

  3. Aw, that pix of you and your kitty is adorable. As for the neuticles… well, I notice the pix is from your “collection.” Did you buy them accidentally as ear plugs?

  4. Having worked as a Veterinary Technician for 16 years I can easily testify to the truth of all you’ve written…and more, lol! Adorable photo of you and your sweet kitty!

  5. I think it’s perfectly fine to do anything for a pet if you love them, they keep you company and you want them to enjoy life. If you have the funds or can get them, it’s your pet and your money! Be well Norine and kitty!

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