Even after writing three novels and countless essays and blogs, I can’t think of any time when I wrote about testicles. It’s probably because I don’t have them—don’t know when they’re too big or small, too cold or hot, very useful or gone the way of the appendix. Which makes it all the more interesting that a few weeks ago testicles or to be accurate, one testicle or to be really precise, one puppy’s testicle planned out my schedule for two weeks.
It started out with acts of love. Our beautiful, funny, courageous Fido V lived his last and went on to spend Christmas with Jesus. After a holiday season tempered with mourning, we braved snow and sleet to seek our new housemate. I’m using the word housemate, but actually, like all crazy dog lovers, we really went to find another schmoogie-oogie darling boy.
It was as if that scrawny Rottweiler-Hound mix had a neon arrow above his cage, flashing, “THIS IS THE DOG FOR YOU!” We scooped him up into our arms and fell madly and hopelessly in love with the mutt from Tennessee. After a three hour wait, a yard of paperwork and $175.00 donation, we were deemed sane enough to bring Fido VI home.
Within days, our home was transformed into doggy day care as corrals ($200.00) were wrapped around all things dangerous to puppies or expensive to us. I became a canine chef who cooked up a chicken stock and kibble stew Fido loved and a chicken liver-puppy chow mix he turned down. In a few days, he learned his name, understood sit and come (with varying results) and knew the backyard was his bathroom-most of the time. And like all parents, we swear he’s the prettiest dog that ever lived.
After a week it was time for his final vaccines and we chose to use our veterinarian rather than return to the shelter’s clinic. Dr. Parver pronounced Fido healthy, with a good temperament and assured us we’d have years of fun with him. Then he said something so odd, I thought I misheard him. “Did you know they left one testicle when they altered him?”
If you’re not shocked reading this, picture yourself after giving birth and having your ob-gyn asking you if you knew they left one baby in your womb. Testicles aren’t like grapes. They’re not in clusters—just pairs. When they have to be removed, two should land in the trash can: Plop plop. Fido is still a puppy, so maybe it would sound more like plip plip, but definitely not plip!
One week later, we were back at the vet’s. Fido remained calm. I was a wreck. Leaving my baby-albeit a furry one I had only known for 10 days wasn’t easy. What if he died during surgery? What if a fire broke out in the kennel? Mostly I feared his puppy mind would think we abandoned him. As I said before, I am a crazy dog lover (emphasis on crazy).
The next day, we returned to pick him up. I swear he looked thinner—24 hours without my cooking, of course he looked gaunt. Surrounding his adorable puppy head was a giant plastic cone to keep him from nibbling at his stitches. As of this writing, he has accidently walked into every door jamb in our home. Don’t laugh. You try walking with a plastic megaphone around your head for 12 days-not easy. Our vet was kind enough to send the surgery report to the shelter for me. I wasn’t angry and I sure wasn’t about to sue them, but I didn’t want anyone else to go through the worry and expense we did. He also asked if we wanted Fido’s testicle in a jar. We turned down the souvenir. Our Amex total so far includes Vet’s surgery bill-$280, check-up-$180, toys at Petsmart -$37 and Jim’s favorite leather loafers becoming Fido’s favorite gnaw bone-$80. But no cost is too much to see Fido out in his new yard, crossing over a snow mound in his cone head, looking like a little snow plow. It’s been less than a month and already he’s our schmoogie-oogie. Our tale ends well: Fido has found a home and we have a house full of laughter again.