The topic came to mind while I was watching the baseball playoffs —
or more specifically, watching the number of times the players were shown clutching their crotches, re-positioning their packages, bunking their junk…OK, OK, I know they are (mostly) adjusting their protective cups, but still. Someday I may count the number of on-camera crotch grabs versus sloppy spits. It should be quite a matchup.
Anyway, this touching display of testosterone reminded me of something that hit me like a screwball to the solar plexus when I first heard about it: cosmetic testicular implants for dogs. Yep, you heard me right: cosmetic testicular implants for dogs. The doggie doctor pitching this procedure said things like, “It will restore the animal’s natural look,” and “It can encourage people to neuter who otherwise wouldn’t.” I don’t remember his selling points exactly; I was struggling for air.
Once I recovered, I did some research and sure enough, the “Neuticles” website extols the product’s ability to allow “pets to retain their natural look, self esteem (sic) and aids the pet’s owner with the trauma associated with altering.” The poster pair on the home page is none other than that cultural icon of selflessness and empathy for all creatures, Kim Kardashian, and her dog Rocky (who received his implants on TV, natch).
Now I’m not sure about Kim, but I’ve known a lot of animals both pre and post-neutering, and if they have suffered a drop in self-esteem, I’ve somehow failed to notice it. Anecdotally, dogs may be a tad less domineering — or is that more relaxed? — after their testosterone levels drop. Switching species just for a second, science suggests that men with smaller testicles are more likely to take an active, nurturing role in child rearing. Hmm, is any of this a problem?
But back to just dogs. Maybe this machismo manifestation will catch on (or maybe not; only half a million have sold in the eighteen years since introduction). I’m for almost anything that encourages people to humanely reduce the homeless animal population and its concomitant killing in shelters, so if testicular implants help do the job, fine. They may indeed give comfort to human males who are still squeamish about the idea of removing part of a dog’s “manhood.”
They may also, however, pose a social dilemma for vocal spay/neuter advocates. Let’s say you see an intact dog on the street and your instinct is to ask his human whether he’s forgotten to have the dog altered, or whether he’s sporting a pair of Neuticles. Is the question more akin to remarking, “Excuse me, sir, but I couldn’t help noticing that your fly is open,” or asking, “Excuse me, ma’am, but are those real?”
Either way, I have to admit that the entrepreneur who conceived of falsie canine cajones is just doing something that’s as traditionally American as, well, baseball. He fielded an idea, drafted a team, and put a product in play that takes balls – in this case, silicone ones. Or perhaps polypropylene. Depends how big your sac – oh, excuse me! wallet – is.
—There are methods which keep canines “intact” while rendering them infertile. The FDA has approved a drug that works via injection to the testes; Zeuterin’s inventors say it’s too soon to know whether it will suppress mating behaviors. Vasectomy is also an option, but the drive to mate is clearly unchanged.