Dogs and Other Nuts

You’ve already met my psychotic German shepherd, Goliath.  The one with the stupid name and the drinking problem.   The manic of a dog I was crazy to take into my life.

As you can probably guess, from the moment I put him in my car that first night, all life immediately revolved around Goliath.  Morning, after-work and evening walks became a ritual.  It was good for my health, which was otherwise pretty crappy.  It was good for my psyche, which was also not tops.  It wasn’t so good for some of the other dogs at the park, though.

Mostly outside Goliath was quite friendly, he liked to play with other dogs.  He made many doggy friends, and their owners liked him too.  But more often than I liked to admit, Goliath listened to his darker angel:

Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog NOW!”

He would then race across the park towards his would be victim, dragging me behind him shouting:




God Damn it — STOP!

Goliath was about 18 months old when I finally admitted that something had to be done.  When I knew I had to “fix” the problem.  When he pissed me off so much that there was only one solution:

I had to cut off his balls.

Yup.  Castration.  Dr. Jane, Goliath’s vet, had been telling me to neuter him for months.  Carlos, Goliath’s dog trainer told me to do it, too.  The owners of Goliath’s ‘frenemies’ suggested it less politely.

But I’d never had a neutered dog before.  It seemed harsh.  Cruel.  Unfair.  Plus, I’d always hoped for grandchildren.

Of course I read about what happens to a dog after-balls.  I learned that neutering lowers a dog’s testosterone level – makes him less likely to act like Rocky Balboa at the park.  Less likely to fight with other dogs.  And way less likely to drag me in front of a bus while rushing to attack another dog.  All good things for me.  But for him?  Not so much.

I learned that it’s best to neuter your dog at about six months of age.  But six months was right after I brought home my traumatized, abused dog!  It just didn’t seem nice to turn around and say:

“You’re home now.  Nobody will ever hurt you again.

Oh, except when I cut off your balls.”

And really, I empathized.  I was young, unmarried, childless.  I didn’t want anyone to neuter me.  So how could I do it to my best friend?  I just couldn’t.

At least not until he ticked me off once too often.  (I’m telling you, do not mess with me.)


You want to do WHAT?

We were at Lincoln Park one night for our after-work walk, when Goliath got that urge to fight.  I struggled to hold him, to keep him away from the other dog, to make my maniac behave.  He didn’t.  He wouldn’t.  It took all my strength to keep him from hurting that other dog.

That was it, the last straw.  I’d had enough.  It was time.  And feeling very much like Alice’s mad Queen of Hearts, I made the decision –

“Off with his balls!”

Goliath and I arrived at the animal clinic that Tuesday.  Unfortunately it was our regular vet Dr. Jane’s day off.  A young vet I hadn’t seen before called my name and led Goliath and me into an examining room.

Handsome vet

(Google image)

I have to admit, I was embarrassed.  Dr. Jane was a woman, and, well, I’d hoped to be discussing my dog’s testicles with her — with a woman.  Instead, here was this handsome young guy who I had fallen for immediately.  And rather than flirting with him, there I was talking to him about castrating another man – hardly the best way to get a date.   My heart sank knowing that my chances with the handsome vet were being nipped in the bud.

Dr. David quickly sensed my discomfort.  He knew I was wavering on getting Goliath fixed.  He could tell that I was about to chicken out and change my mind.

“He’ll be fine,” said the vet, looking Goliath over.   “It’s very routine.  He won’t even notice the difference.  But you’ll be much happier with the results.”

Of course I couldn’t look Dr. David in the eye.  Because naturally I was wondering if he would notice if someone cut off his balls.  I was pretty sure he’d notice.  He didn’t seem like the type of guy who wouldn’t.

“Now, I don’t know how much you know about this procedure, but there are actually two different ways of doing this.  We can either castrate him completely –basically cut off his testes — or we can drain the fluids inside.  That has the same effect.”

Drain them?” I said hopefully.

“Yes, we essentially drain him, lowering the testosterone to a more manageable level.  It’s less radical, less risky.  Dog owners are often more comfortable with this procedure.  Now which of those options do you think makes the most sense for this big guy?” he said, looking Goliath right in the eye.

“Draining them sounds much better,” I said, feeling relieved.  I was feeling so good, in fact, that I could actually look Dr. David in the eye again.  They were deep blue …

And so I left Goliath with Dr. David and what I envisioned to be some sort of sterile syphon.   I no longer felt even a smidge of guilt.

You know what?  Even doing the procedure late helped.   After the surgery, Goliath was less interested in killing other male dogs.  From time to time one of them really ticked him off and led me to believe that those sacks hadn’t been completely drained, after all.  But the newly drained Goliath was a huge improvement over the old testosterone-filled maniac.  For the rest of his life he was considerably less aggressive.

The draining also left him with his pride.  A smidge of flesh in between his legs to chew on.  It eased my guilt — after all, they’d only drained some fluid from him, and doctors and vets do that sort of things all the time.  Goliath was still a man.  He kept the semblance of his balls.  He still had something to chew on.  He was still alpha dog. I had not turned him into a pansy.

In the intervening years, I married John, a man who quickly became devoted to Goliath.  A few years later, when we had all moved out of state, I took Goliath to a new vet.  Goliath was then about nine years old –getting up there in doggy years.  The poor old guy was having problems urinating and needed some attention.

But when I gave the new vet, Dr. Joe, the rundown of Goliath’s health history, I got an unexpected lesson when I mentioned to the man how Goliath had been “fixed” at 18 months.

“I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I should probably tell you that you know, Goliath wasn’t actually ‘castrated,’ he was ‘drained.’”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, at the time the vet said that either they could castrate him, ummmm, cut off his, ummmm, testicles, or drain them.  I chose to have him ‘drained.’”

I’m pretty sure that all of Dr. Joe’s medical training in delivering disturbing news culminated in this one moment with me.  Every cell in his face solidified so that there wasn’t even a hint of a smile.

“Ummmm, Ma’am?”  he said without so much as a hint of humor,  “There is no such procedure in veterinary medicine.  We don’t “drain” the dogs.  We surgically remove the testes.  All that’s left is the skin.”

“Oh,” I replied.

I’ve never told this story before.  Somehow, I bet both vets have.


Filed under Dogs, Family, Goliath Stories, Humor, Pets, Stupidity

78 responses to “Dogs and Other Nuts

  1. Interesting Read


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  5. Hilarious! As I was reading this I was feeling quite incensed that MY vet hadn’t offered the same procedure for my poor dog. Reading to the end, I now see why! 😉


    • Karyn? Is that you? Your picture is up, but you are ID’d as “Admin” — and when I saw all the comments from “Admin” I was afraid I’d really screwed something up!

      I hope you’re well.

      This was not my finest hour as a dog mother, I’m afraid!


  6. This is too funny, Elyse. Did you ever break the news to Golaith?


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  8. Hahaha! “Queen of Hearts” is hysterical! How nice of you to (try to) leave Goliath some bit of pride. Obviously, what you didn’t know, didn’t hurt either of you.


    • He was such a character, and I was firmly wrapped around his over-sized paw. But the experience certainly wounded my pride, Peg. There are few times in my life when I have ever felt like such a dummy — all because I really didn’t want to know. Sometimes medicine is better that way!


  9. Elyse. This was one of your best stories. I’m laughing so hard I’m choking! Oh, my word. . .poor Goliath knew the truth and probably had plenty to say about it to his animal friends. “Can you believe this chick, she is clueless!” Good one!


    • Thanks, Eleanor. I’m actually going to enter a modified version of it in a contest. Wish me luck!

      And I think that the handsome vet was thinking I was clueless, too. Oy.


  10. I bet you felt “drained” after that huh? LOL Thanks for telling the story, I think we all go through those moments of guilt with our babies…<3


  11. Snoring Dog Studio

    Punked by a vet! In no way is “drain” the same thing as “excavate.” Wow. That’s not even a euphemism for what was done to Goliath. I bet he knew, though. Your pup knew all along. He could tell he was lighter in the shorts.


  12. Well done … I didn’t anticipate that ending. I wonder if Dr. Kildare came up with that one on his own or is that a legendary method within vet world.


  13. Doctor Blue eyes wanted to make it easier for you. So sweet of him. 🙂


  14. Hilarious. I thought at first it must be a new procedure. A rose by any other name is still a rose, and all that. At least he’s ok.


    • It did let me do the deed without guilt, so that’s good. But this happened a long time ago — we lost Goliath in 1992. I’ve been collecting some stories about him, though.


  15. winsomebella

    Yep, I think the two vets got some mileage out of that one 🙂


  16. Oh my GOD. ohmygodohmygodohmygod. This was so hysterical! The ending killed me. You must have been three shades of red. And I would have totally fallen story for that too. When the doc told me Jim’s vasectomy was no big deal, just a quick little snip and he wouldn’t have much pain, I believed him.


    • Oh I was, and the ending nearly killed me, too. I am rarely that embarrassed.

      I think that the doctors tell you that things don’t hurt because it doesn’t hurt them — the doctors.


  17. Can you imagine if you had actually dated that young vet? How embarrassing that would have been! Great story, truly funny. I’m glad you shared.


  18. I was trying to figure out how you bought this one. Thinking to myself, Goliath got his nuts drained out of his sacs, she didn’t realize this. Oh no, poor Elyse.

    Then I thought, maybe the nice young vet liked her.


  19. This is hilarious. I am imagining the color draining from your face as the new vet explained what neutering entails.


    • That’s precisely what happened. And I never went to that guy again. I found another new vet down the road. While I can laugh at my own humiliation, I try not to rub my own nose in it unless it is for entertainment purposes.


  20. Ha! Great story. Glad I didn’t have to take our dog to the vet on his big day. My husband did.


  21. Great story. Draining a dog’s balls, as if they had a leak!

    I’ve managed to avoid these uncomfortable situations by adopting from shelters. They insist on the “fixing” before you take the little guy (or gal) home these days. They used to trust us to do it; now they don’t. 😉


    • I thought of it as more of draining an abscess, not a leak — but it’s a funny image, isn’t it. If the vet hadn’t been so cute I might have been less embarrassed and asked more questions. But he told me what I wanted to hear, that I didn’t have to castrate my best friend!

      My next dog will likely be from the shelter — there are plenty of dogs there that need love.


  22. Great story. I would guess this happens more often than you think. Sometimes doctors may just need a way to tell people what they need to hear about something they need to get done–and it works. I wonder how many times that vet used that tactic to get others to neuter their dogs?


    • Yes, it probably does happen way too often. We need to keep our wits about us with medical folks of all types. Scary.

      I never saw the handsome vet again. But it’s just as well, because I’m sure he’s still laughing at me.


  23. I wonder if that first vet has that spiel prepared, or if it was on the spot, just for you. Quick thinking, I suppose. That or he was insane.


    • There are a few options of what was running through his mind:
      1. How gullible is she?
      2. She’s pretty cute; maybe if she’s smart I’ll ask her out. Uhhh, nope.
      3. This story will be great in my memoir
      4. A vet’s stand up comedy act

      Or yeah, maybe he was insane. Or sadistic. Or totally warped. But I’m tellin’ you, B-man, I would have loved to find out!


  24. bigsheepcommunications

    One more example of why I don’t really trust most medical professionals (with the exception of fake medical professionals like you :-D).


    • With the internet I don’t think they can get away with as much these days!

      I’ve always wondered if he was joking — but then when I fell for it he couldn’t find a way out of it. That’s the positive spin I can put on it!

      Would you believe I’ve actually done some medical writing on veterinary medicine? I didn’t mention this story first, though.


  25. wow, what a story! I was sitting there reading and thinking “I have never heard of that before!!” and well, I guess there is a reason! We had our dog Balsam “done” as early as we could, I think it may have been even at 4 months! And he’s happy and mopey and kind of type B, couldn’t hurt a fly….and it works well that way. Goliath seems like he’s a trip!


    • Yup, there’s a reason you haven’t heard of this procedure. Probably not many have. Oy vey.

      I’m a big believer in neutering. My sister-in-law works at a local shelter filled with unwanted animals.

      Goliath was quite a trip — the most expressive human like maniac of a dog I’ve ever known. He ruled my life for 10 years and I loved him. I still miss him (it’s been 20 years) although it is nice to be able to get pizza delivered!


  26. Totally believed it and was actually thinking “I wonder if they do this to people?” If anyone has any swamp land to sell, I’m your girl. This gave me a good laugh just imagining the new Doctor’s face….hahahaha!


    • Yeah, Tops, I believed it for close to 10 years. It sounded so plausible. So non “I’m cutting off your balls”-ish. Sigh.

      I’ll be standing in line with you for the swamp. We’ll have a blast!


  27. I was so gullible I believed every word. Even though I had 2 male dogs, neither was “fixed.” They were both so sweet & lovable there never seemed to be a need.


    • It is a hard decision, especially if they don’t have the Uber Testosterone like Goliath did. Our dogs growing up weren’t neutered, either. We once had a dog who broke into the dog pound because there was a desirable female inside.

      I’m very much in favor of neutering now. My sister-in-law works at a local shelter and there are too many unwanted/abandoned dogs. (That’s where I’ll go for my next one.)


  28. That made me laugh, mostly because when I was reading the story, I was actually kind of embarrassed that I’d never heard of this procedure before.

    When I took Thunder in to be neutered, he was a six-month-old kitten. Instead of shaving the affected area, they just pluck as much hair as they need to and then make a tiny incision on each side. The incisions were so small, in fact, that I couldn’t really see them, and for days I worried that maybe they’d just plucked some hair, gotten distracted, and forgotten to complete the operation.


    • Thunder might have preferred to just be plucked! But I’m assuming they did not get distracted?

      Funny that neither of us had heard of the procedure — isn’t it?


      • In the 8 years since then, he’s shown no signs of being un-snipped, so I’m pretty sure they finished the procedure. I was just surprised at how fast and easy the recovery was.

        It really is funny — I was all, “how could I not know that? That’s the kind of thing I know about. Maybe it’s just for dogs? But still, how could I not know that?”.


        • Perhaps neither of us had heard of it because it doesn’t exist?


          • Yeah — what I was trying to get at was that you had me completely taken in until I got to the punch line.

            And actually — although this story is hilarious and everything worked out for the best, I think what the first vet did was unethical. He lied to you and then performed a procedure you didn’t consent to (the fact that I’m sure you would have agreed to it if you’d known the truth makes it less bad, but still not really okay).


  29. I’m glad they came up with a solution that worked for you, and you never had to worry about them doing that to you.
    Because I think for females, it’s called “spayed”…

    *slinks out back door.*


  30. Hahaha! This gave me a good laugh. I haven’t nor really plan to
    ‘drain’ or otherwise remove anything from my very male cat. Oh he can bless his whiskers on this blog later.


    • It was easier to do to the cat I had a long time ago when he began spraying pee everywhere to show his manhood. He was especially attracted to my record collection.

      Glad to give you a chuckle, Duck.


  31. cooper

    Our second was castrated…and he still wants to kill everything male, dogs and people. but he’s a complete freak as well. I hear the first vet is working at a Jiffy Lube now….


    • I was thinking that the first vet is now doing standup comedy …

      Perhaps if you’d had that second dog drained things would have worked out better, Cooper.

      My Cooper by the way fathered a litter of puppies when he was 5 months old. He was staying with our breeder while we were on vacation and mated with a much older woman — a Clumber Spaniel who the breeder was having terrible trouble breeding because they’re just not into that! Apparently, they like their boys young! So there was a litter of Clingers born and nobody could figure it out for the longest time.


  32. This part of it was pure gold:
    “I’ve never told this story before. Somehow, I bet both vets have.”

    I can empathize with the reluctance to take this step in attempting to curtail the aggressiveness in a male dog … I struggled against making the decision with my Akita for months and months, until I finally decided it had to be done. I’m fairly sure he still hasn’t forgiven me.


    • It’s a hard thing to do to your best friend, isn’t it? But I bet he forgives you, 99. They forgive anything when they love you — and they never remind you of past transgressions, either.


  33. Help Me Help Holly ♥

    Hilarious post! Thanks for putting a smile on my face this afternoon 🙂 I can’t believe a vet lied to you like that! Loving Goliath, off to read more to find out about this drinking problem….


    • Thanks and welcome, Holly. I would love to know the first vet’s thinking — maybe he was joking and then when I believed him he couldn’t think of a way out? That’s the charitable version … but he was sooooo cute that I would have believed anything just to have him keep talking. Naturally, I never saw him again!


  34. That’s so funny! Caught my by surprise, but I have to admit, I am relieved. Somehow the idea of “draining” him seemed worse, and just more, I don’t know……icky!


  35. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cringe in embarrassment on your behalf! I’m sure this taught you to sit up and pay attention to medical procedures – especially when it comes to your own proverbial balls.


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