Friday, February 5, 2010

What it means to spay Buffy

We make a lot of decision for Buffy. We chose her vet, her food, which puppy class she was going to take and even her Halloween costume. Sometimes when we are at the pet store, we hold up two toys and let Buffy pick one but more often than not Diana and I have dictated the important decision in Buffy’s life. One of the most important decisions in Buffy’s life we made well-before getting her.

Our dog was going to get spayed.

This decision didn't really phase Diana or I until a week before this procedure was to happen. Part of it was the risk factors in the surgery. Buffy would have to go under which has its and the spay surgery though routine is quite invasive. It’s a lot more than getting tubes tie. It’s more have the entire plumbing system is removed. If you still don’t get what, I mean think about the technical name for this procedure: ovariohysterectomy.

We were also concerned about the 24 hours Buffy would be at the vet. Diana dropped Buffy off at 8am on Friday and we picked her up Saturday at 8am. They do this for a couple reasons. First off to observe Buffy and make sure that there aren’t any complications and second to spare the owners.

A dog coming out of anesthesia is groggy, often nauseous, cannot get up on his or her four legs and with the surgery is often in pain. This sight is sometimes too much to take for owners, Lord knows it would be for me. Regardless of these logical reasons, Diana and I missed her terribly especially at night knowing that our dog was sleeping only half a block away at our vets in a strange place without the comforts of home.

The main thing that Diana and I talked about at length was the fact that we were deciding whether Buffy was going to have kids. This is a life altering decision for Buffy and she had no say in it. She will never raise puppies, know what it means to be around a family of dogs and never get a chance to be a mom.

However there are positives. Buffy never going to go in heat, which takes away a host of other social and physical issues. Her risk of certain kinds of cancer will drop dramatically (this argument is a little silly though, I mean it’s kind of like saying “the plus side of losing your foot is that your chances of stubbing your toe is much less”). And well there’s a bunch of other arguments all over the web, from mood changes and other health issues. Honestly none of them really convinced me that this was such a positive thing to do.

Look, it’s not like Diana and I are irresponsible dog owners. I think we can keep our dog from getting action on the weekends. But what I realized is that getting Buffy spayed isn’t really so much about Diana and I or even Buffy, it’s about something bigger.

As a country, we have an embarrassing and ridiculous problem: there is an excess of unwanted pets. While many people give up there pets for understandable and respectable reasons, most unwanted pets are result or irresponsible owners who either don’t do their homework before getting a dog or let their dog breed and then have unwanted pets. This with the addition of unsold pets from breeders and puppy mills a result of corrupt monetary motivations causes a problem that there is excuse for.

A pet is a luxury. A luxury in our society shouldn’t become a problem, because it’s something at the first place that isn’t necessarily. Now I’m not some super-hippy environmentalist, but I do think cruelty to animals is unethical and complete avoidable and allowing dogs to breeds resulting in puppies that no one is cruel and reprehensible.

Buffy being spayed is saying we believe in what it means to care for a dog. We’re taking the extra effort to do something that vast majority of dogs owners should do. I’m not saying that people breed dogs. Buffy’s breeder Dorothy Christiansen is a fantastic breeder, who takes responsibility for her dogs. Her level of care is such that she makes everyone who gets a dog from her sign a contract. This documents states that if a buyer decided to get rid of the dog they got from her they will return the dog to her and not a shelter so that she can find the dog a new home or else keep the dogs as her own pet. Unfortunately, not every breeder is as responsible as Dorothy because if they were we would have a fraction of the pets in shelters that we do right now.

Buffy’s recovering well. Her first night back she woke up at 4am needing to go to the bathroom, which is the first time since the first night we got her home that she didn’t make it through the night. This isn’t too big a deal, anesthesia usually throws the digestive system off a tad. We’ve been giving her pill for the pain which we are sure is lessening.

Oh yeah, she has to wear a cone of shame to keep Buffy from licking her incision. When you put in on forward, she is quite confused. It’s both hilarious and sad all at the same time. We flipped it down, still does the trick and she can operate like a usually puppy. . . .for the most part. She can’t really scratch her ears with her hinds legs so we’ve been helping her with that.

I don’t think Buffy will even understand why we left her at the vet overnight or why she has a scar on her tummy. She’ll never know why she’ll never have any babies. But I think she’ll be ok. Diana and I will more than make up for it for the rest of her life. And trust me Buffy there will eventually be kids running around that you can more than help Diana and I parent.

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