"We say our pets are our family, and yet, would you cut off a family member’s nuts?"

Rank transphobia.

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Get back to work, Katie

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Great post. I'll look forward to hearing what you have to say about testicles. My dog came already neutered at 10 weeks old from the rescue organization I got him from, so there was no decision to make. But boy am I glad he doesn't have testicles. He's bossy and domineering and likes to humps things enough as it is.

I've heard the anti-neuter/spay arguments and to me they don't add up. First, they seem to overly rely on personal anecdotes of THEIR unfixed dog managing just fine but never account for the fact that their dog lives in a world where 99.9% of other dogs are fixed so it isn't an issue. I cannot even imagine what the dog park would be like if all the males were intact and a bitch in heat showed up. They're chaotic enough as it is. The next argument seems to be that we could leave animals intact and would just need to rely on responsible owners keeping their bitches confined in the home for two weeks whenever they went into heat. But any plan that relies on the vast majority of Americans to be responsible, especially in a sustainable way over time, doesn't hold up in my book. We're a chaotic, individualistic, and sometimes borderline ungovernable people. We're not Finns or Swedes. Americans aren't as a whole responsible. Look how many unplanned, excess litters and dogs there are now when we already have a culture that demands almost mandatory compliance with early neuter/spay. I can't even imagine how overrun with puppies we would be if the norm was to leave animals intact. I can get online on the local petfinder where I live and find 3,000 available puppies from people who didn't bother fixing their animals right now. Perhaps it's different around Seattle, but do you really want all of America to look more like how it is in the South and more rural areas where most of the unintentional puppies come from, before they're distributed and sent to rescues and shelters in the cities and the north? That would seem to be backwards.

Last, if you're never going to allow your dog to mate, is it not cruel to leave the mechanism for desire to mate intact? You're just going to let them have a desire and drive their whole life, and never let them fulfill it? That seems mean and much crueler to me than removing their testicles, which despite how you described is not a big deal of an operation and most dogs and cats are perfectly fine the next day and don't seem to notice anything even happened. It seems to me that if you're never going to allow them to indulge their urges, it's kinder to take the urges away.

Keep it up and I like your parentheses.

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Please don’t neuter Moose! Dogs need their hormones throughout their lives. Please reach out to Chris Zink DVM PhD for the research she’s done on this subject. If you’re concerned about accidental breeding, vasectomy is available.

If the rescue wackos really cared about the long term health of the dog, they’d advocate for vasectomy and ovary-sparing spay. There is a Facebook group devoted to educating people on these options. I’ve seen rescues take in elderly, intact males with serious health issues, and the first thing every rescue did was neuter the old dog. WTF?? Many rescues and humane societies also spay or neuter 8-week-old puppies, setting the dog up for a lifetime of musculoskeletal and endocrine issues. Early spay/neuter actually changes the angle of the knee because the growth plates close much later than they should without hormones to regulate growth. Removing the testicles or ovaries is removing a vital part of the dogs endocrine system. The adrenal glands also produce sex hormones, and ramp up production after the primary producer has been cut out. The entire endocrine system is thrown off balance.

I live in a big city, compete in dog sports, and regularly walk my dogs off leash. My oldest intact male, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, will be 15 in Feb 2021. He’s never wandered, fought with other males, or accidentally impregnated a bitch. He knows how to behave around intact bitches because he’s been exposed to them since puppyhood and taught acceptable behavior. I have his intact 5-yr-old male offspring from a planned breeding of Agility Champion to Agility Champion. My younger male also doesn’t wander, fight with other males, mark in the house, etc, because he’s been well socialized and trained. I can’t say the same for the neutered males we’ve encountered. BTW just because a male has been neutered doesn’t mean he can’t mount and tie with a bitch in standing heat.

I hope you will talk to reputable purebred dog breeders from breed and kennel clubs, orthopedic vets, holistic vets, and rehab vets. I look forward to the remaining posts.

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You don’t see tomcats around much anymore. But they can be monsters. Shredded like Jesus with an awful spray. And they can easily put a human in the hospital.

For my goats, the effects of testicles are dramatic and unsettling. In addition to the horns and the beard they drench their faces in piss to charm the ladies. If you’ve ever been within 100 yards of a buck goat in full rut you’d know it. And they will jump over a house to get to a doe. Which is why I find myself cutting off a couple dozen balls every spring.

I only hope if your kept kanine does escape, lured by the siren song of some feral bitch, you will do the right thing and holler “The Moose is loose!”

I wonder, then, why dogs don’t have such a dramatic transformation?

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I really enjoyed this first article - well done.

I'm looking forward to the chapter regarding myths about rescues. We purchased a bernedoodle (a bernese mountain dog/poodle mix) almost three years ago. In doing research prior to our purchase, I encountered a lot of irrational thought out there regarding rescues, breeders, and specifically doodles.

We've rescued a dog before. She was a good dog, but suffered from severe separation anxiety. She would constantly escape if she was left in the backyard, or destroy things or hurt herself if confined somewhere else while we were gone. It made us anxious every time we had to leave her alone for any amount of time longer than an hour or so. We adopted her when she was three, and her anxiety was already deeply engrained in her - there was really nothing we could do to get her to change. Also, there was really no way to be aware of her condition prior to us taking her home.

So when it was time to get another dog, we wanted to get a puppy, so that we were in more control of how the dog developed, and hopefully avoid having a dog that had some sort of severe behavioral flaw. This has paid off, as we now have a dog that is pretty obedient, and will gladly spend a few hours in her crate if we need to leave her alone for a while. I have very little guilt about purchasing a dog from a breeder, and until doing research about prior to our purchase, was unaware that some believe that I should feel any guilt.

I had no idea that many people believe that all dog breeding is unethical. Additionally, doodles get criticism from both sides - from the rescue activists who think designer breeds are especially unethical, and from many dog breeders, who believe that intentionally creating mixed breed dogs is unethical. It's a little bizarre, with a lot irrational thinking going on. I'll wait on sharing more of my thoughts on this until the chapter about rescues is published.

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I really enjoyed this! I think that emotional support animals are a fascinating insight into American culture - I don't think that trend has played out anywhere else in the same way. I also think shelter policy and the common internet trends of being outraged at people going to breeders are/should be up for critique - shelters can be surprisingly prescriptive about who deserves to get a dog and who doesn't. Hope this newsletter will address both these issues

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Isn't it interesting how someone can go from "I had no concept of people taking their dog on vacation" to entertaining full-blown animal rights? and that many times the same people who despise those who use the word "fur baby" are often those who believe a dog can be "humiliated" by a costume?

You probably ran into one of those people who thinks they're right because they've challenged authority in some way. They are probably also telling you to feed your dog a bacteria-laden raw diet and to avoid a certain number of vaccinations. They also probably told you that they don't need to neuter or spay because they can control their dogs, failing to realize just how easy that is considering most other dogs are spay and neutered. Speaking of vaccinations, those anti-neuter types are no different from anti-vaxxers who think the reason their kid hasn't gotten measles yet is because of their "natural" diet and their strong immune systems, not herd immunity.

Dogs need not be free-ranging to have problems. Unaltered dogs often find themselves attempting to wander more, increasing their chances of running away to get hit by a car or of course, finding a female in heat, which they will go crazy to get to if another "progressive" dog owner happens to live in your region. I'd steer clear of the animal rights nut perspective that it is wrong to "violate" a dog's bodily autonomy and just go with what the vast majority of veterinarians recommend (despite some evidence, not conclusive, of potential health issues, but currently the evidence supports spaying with cost vs. benefit. Also the timing of neutering for a dog with golden retriever DNA may also be of relevance).

Get your dog neutered.

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Katie, great job!! Wasn’t sure quite what to expect but enjoyed several lol moments that earned me the side-eye from my wife. Looking forward to this series continuing.

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If there are barkmitvahs, and since we are talking about body autonomy and the lipstick problem (which my wife calls the 'carrot issue'), are there dog circumcisions?

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PS I'd like to see you research and write about the fable of hypoallergenic dogs.

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I'm a proponent of spaying and neutering after the age of 18 months-2 years for any dog not destined to be bred (on purpose). There isn't any evidence that it shortens their lives but there is plenty of evidence that it makes happier and healthier pets. And that's what they are, pets. They're dogs, not humans and as such are forced to live in very unnatural environments that are better tolerated by dogs not being driven by hormones to procreate.

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I got my dog from a shelter so he was already neutered when i got him but the dog I had as a kid was female. We didn't spay her until she was about 3 and wouldn't stop humping everyone. After the spaying she stopped humping people and her separation anxiety got better.

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The "hypoallergenic dog" myth leads to many bad outcomes for people and dogs. I am hoping that people stop spreading it.

"'Please don't believe the Internet that there is a breed or some variety of breeds that are going to be safe for you,' says Dr. Robert Wood, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, 'because that clearly is not the case.'"


"Hair" and "fur" are two different words for the same thing: keratin. All dogs with coats shed, but ones with curly or silky coats shed into their own coats (instead of onto the floor), which is why they have to be groomed often to avoid matting. No one is allergic to hair/fur anyway. The allergen is the dander (skin cells).

Thanks and best regards.

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Chapter 2: The Cuddling of the American Dog?

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