Afonso is having a tough day – but spay and neuter your pets anyway

Afonso, the young stray we took in a few months back, woke up this morning full of play and love. And with two testicles.

Happy afonso

This afternoon, sans the testicles, he’s not quite as cheerful.


Unhappy afonso

My wife and I felt badly that we had to take Afonso in to be fixed, but aside from loving the bejeebers out of our dogs, we want to act responsibly for them. His procedure went smoothly, and we were told he’d soon be his old playful self again.

In Brazil, like nearly everywhere else on this globe, there is an outright epidemic of stray dogs. And the situation doesn’t appear to be getting better any time soon. The procedure cost us roughly (US) $75. And while Brazilians love their dogs as much as any people on the planet, such an outlay of money for many Brazilians amounts to half of their monthly income.

My wife and I hope some day to find a way to help the stray dog epidemic here. Our hearts break with each sad, stray dog we see on the streets. But even in the U.S., stray dogs are a severe problem. In 2004 in Southern California, we rescued a young stray, and struggled to find it a home after being told at the pound that it was 99.9 percent certain she’d be put to death.

Luckily, having worked for the San Bernardino Sun in the past, I contacted their longtime columnist and sportswriter Paul Oberjuerge, who used the dog (which we took to just calling “Puppy”) in a column as an example of the animal control problems in the area. Made famous, “Puppy” found herself a home.

It was a fluke, of course. Because there are literally millions of Puppys and Afonsos out there right now, on the street, living miserable lives that will only be ended by miserable deaths.

Dogs did their part for humans long ago. It’s possible we wouldn’t even be here if not for their willingness to be our companions, and keep watch over us. For that, and for the outright joy of life that dogs bring us, we need to be eternally grateful.

Spay and neuter your pets. Please.

–WKW

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26 Comments

Filed under 07_wolfrum

26 responses to “Afonso is having a tough day – but spay and neuter your pets anyway

  1. Melissa McEwan

    I love Afonso posts. 🙂

    Spay and neuter your pets. Please.

    You’re the new Bob Barker!

  2. You’re the new Bob Barker!

    We all need to be 😉

    –WKW

  3. JoshWatermanMN

    I remember when I had Boone, my beagle, neutered as a pup. When I arrived to pick him up and the vet techs let him out of the kennel, he took one look at me and ran the other way! It took many many cookies (dog biscuits) before he forgot about what horrors I put him through. 🙂

  4. Melissa McEwan

    We all need to be

    Too true.

  5. I spent 3+ years as a volunteer in an animal shelter; I’ve seen plenty of the results of unfettered breeding.

    Virtually every shelter in America offers free or reduced cost spay/neuter options to people unable to pay for the procedure.

    Outside the US it’s a different story.

  6. It took many many cookies (dog biscuits) before he forgot about what horrors I put him through

    yeah, the medication is wearing off and he’s throwing me some looks that could best be described as “You bastard”

    I spent 3+ years as a volunteer in an animal shelter

    You are a stronger person than I.

    –WKW

  7. Rottweiler

    A culture can be judged by the way it treats its animals. America’s millions of unwanted, abused, abandoned dogs and cats is a heartbreaking disgrace. They suffer and die without ever knowing love. Hunger, fear, pain, and trauma fill their sad existence. Everyone who cares can do something. I take some comfort that humane traps enable me to safely capture feral cats for spaying and neutering. Most dogs have welcomed my rescue efforts; others have been so skittish that they would not let me help except for food and water. You can foster homeless animals for rescue organizations like HOPE. It’s when one of these little souls on the streets make eye contact with me that I feel so much connection. Please make an effort to help. The reward is enormous.

  8. Kate Harding

    And because I can make anything a feminist issue… The first several dogs my family had were all female, all spayed without incident. Then we got a male puppy. When it came time to neuter him, my dad lost it and almost couldn’t bring himself to do it. He had no problem removing a female dog’s reproductive capacity, but the thought of cutting the balls off a boy dog made him break out in a cold sweat.

    He was overruled by 3 angry females, and the dog was neutered, of course. But I’ve since run across that attitude in a surprising number of men. To them I would like to say: neutering your dog is not the same as having YOUR balls cut off, dipshits. For Christ’s sake.

    I’m done now.

    Oh, except to say I wub Afonso.

  9. Jaclyn

    One take-away message from my work with low-cost spay and neuter: Helping people’s pets is helping people. Many people love their pets and want to help keep them healthy, and they don’t want to deal with extra puppies and kittens, but they can’t afford a full-cost spay/neuter. Those people tend to be thrilled and very grateful for the help.

    Also, you can get money from non-animal people by reminding them that more spays and neuters means less dogs and cats. It’s surprising how many people will give based on that!

    Lots of hugs and pets to Afonso!

  10. Jaclyn

    Kate –
    a-fucking-men.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on people who won’t spay a pregnant stray dog. It’s one thing if the dog is far along and it’s a health issue. But when you have an early pregnancy, spay the dog; then you just need to find a home for one dog instead of a dog and an unknown number of puppies! In my mind, anyone who complains about aborting those fetuses is morally obligated to adopt the whole damn litter.

  11. Melissa McEwan

    neutering your dog is not the same as having YOUR balls cut off, dipshits

    LOL! Totally.

  12. I spent 3+ years as a volunteer in an animal shelter

    You are a stronger person than I.

    The only way I could stand it was to pick a “no-kill” shelter. I knew that the animals I worked with were all going to find homes eventually. If I’d been at a shelter where they all had a countdown clock hanging over their heads, I couldn’t have done it.

  13. Betsy

    A culture can be judged by the way it treats its animals. America’s millions of unwanted, abused, abandoned dogs and cats is a heartbreaking disgrace. They suffer and die without ever knowing love. Hunger, fear, pain, and trauma fill their sad existence.

    This quote fills me with all kinds of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, yes, I agree. But it also makes me want to say, snarkily, that a culture can be judged by the way it treats its poor, its children, etc. And if we’re sticking with the way it treats its animals, why don’t we also extend that compassion to animals other than dogs and cats? Pigs are as intelligent as dogs (assuming that’s a legitimate critera, which I’m agnostic on) but few people seem to care how they’re treated. Factory-farmed meat animals all suffer and die under terrible circumstances. I know it’s not that simple, and I’m not trying to derail, especially because I wholeheartedly support all the sentiments offered here. But after living and working full-time at a homeless shelter, it makes me a little uncomfortable that some people seem to care so much more about animals in need than people in need. And yet – there are a lot of good causes, and the last thing I want to do is criticize someone who’s trying to reduce suffering in the world.

    Bah. Sorry for my confused and circular road-to-nowhere comment.

  14. oddjob

    neutering your dog is not the same as having YOUR balls cut off, dipshits

    But isn’t it true for too many humans that a huge part of the pet experience is emotionally equating the pet with a human family member? Once you get to that level of emotional identification it’s not surprising to me that a guy would freak over getting that done to a male pet dog. (I’m not justifying it, only trying to figure out a mechanism for how it comes about.)

  15. I recently discovered a feral mother cat and three kittens in the shrubs outside my new house. I have been attempting to catch them, in the hopes that at least the kittens could be acclimated and then adopted. Sadly, they are having none of it. So I am going to be contacting the hilariously named Spay N’Stay, which will come out and live trap the animals, spay and neuter them, and then release them. No, it is not the ideal situation, but the no-kill shelter is full and I would like to do my best to ensure that there are no future generations of little beasties living outdoors near my place, if I can prevent it.

  16. Lizard

    Thanks, WKW! Good boy, Afonso!

    For what it’s worth—removing a dog’s sex organs also removes its sex drives. They don’t miss what they don’t want, and if they’re not neutered, they spend their lives fighting urges that they usually can’t (and definitely shouldn’t) act upon. A neutered dog is generally a whole lot happier and more fulfilled than an intact one.

    I am duty-bound by my years as a shelter administrator to say something about “no-kill” shelters….namely, that the issue is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface. I’ll spare everyone my soapbox and simply link to this page; read the “best answer,” which is an excellent overview of the pros and cons of “no-kill.”

  17. Lizard

    Once you get to that level of emotional identification it’s not surprising to me that a guy would freak over getting that done to a male pet dog.

    I used to put it to guys this way: “If you knew that you could never have sex again in your whole life, would you want to keep wanting it?”

  18. I am duty-bound by my years as a shelter administrator to say something about “no-kill” shelters….namely, that the issue is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface.

    Yeah, I was going to try and make a point about that as well. By no means would I blanket all no-kill shelters together (I’m not at all as well-versed on them as Lizard and others surely are), but I do know that in some cases I’ve seen, there are fates worse than death for some of these dogs, as was pointed out in the link Lizard provided.

    –WKW

  19. Kate Harding

    Oddjob, to some extent, I’m sure you’re right that that’s how it comes about. What bothers me is that in my dad’s case, he’d never lost a moment’s sleep over giving female dogs hysterectomies. And for that matter, neither have I or any woman I know, no matter how much we love our dogs.

  20. oddjob

    I completely understand what bothers you, Kate. No it’s not fair (or equal, or anything else). Perhaps the only observation I can offer by any way of explanation is that human testicles are intensely sensitive to pain and you learn that vividly. Maybe in the process of identification he began to imagine an equivalent pain and couldn’t even contemplate it.

    It’s only speculation, and it’s not meant as a justification for it certainly is not one.

  21. oddjob

    (…. and as a guy, you learn that vividly.)

  22. KarateMonkey

    I’ve heard from RedSonja plenty of times about idiots who can’t bear to neuter their dogs, and if she’s not too beat from work today she may even jump in later and share some stories about the local no kill shelter that sends animals to her old clinic. The short version is we almost surrendered one of our cats to them, but ended up putting her to sleep because they were full. After a bit of experience with them at work we’re glad that’s the descision we ended up going with.

    Mostly, I just jumped in to post a link to neuticles.

  23. KarateMonkey

    For some reason my link didn’t work. It should be http://www.neuticles.com.

  24. Melissa

    Awww I love the lampshade head. I was disappointed when my kitten got spayed that we didn’t come home from the shelter with a conehead kitty. As miserable he is now after surgery, think of the joy he’ll bring you with that lampshade on his head!

    I’m kidding…oh, not really. How can you not laugh at that?

  25. Jaclyn

    Lizard,
    Thank you for the work you have done. Animal control and kill shelter administration must be horrifically difficult to do, but oh so necessary. Please know that many animal lovers do appreciate it, while at the same time doing what little we can to make euthanasia due to space and money constraints a thing of the past.

  26. WKW — thanks for putting out this message, even while your pup is feeling less than frisky and giving you Kujo vibes.

    Lizard — thanks for your post about “no kill” shelters. Our local shelter does very little euth, and has a high adoption rate (ave kennel time is less than 6 weeks) — but this is also helped along by the fact that I live in a pretty rural area, with a hearty coyote population, which means that we don’t have a huge feral dog/cat pop., and we keep our animewls inside after sunset.

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