Today’s the day.  D-Day.  “D” for Duncan.  “D” for Dog.  NOT “D” for Draining.  Duncan, if he knew what was in store would consider it “D” for “DON’T” or maybe “DAMN!”


You're Gonna Do WHAT?

You’re Gonna Do WHAT? To ME?????

I’ve grown up considerably since I first had to take similar action.  And I am now a fake medical expert and a professional Googl-er.

But the old days produced much better stories.  Like this one.

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.)


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 castration – hardly the best way to get a date.   My heart sank knowing that my chances with the handsome vet were also being nipped in the bud.

Dr. David quickly sensed my discomfort.  He knew I was wavering.  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.

“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 …

So I left Goliath with Dr. David and what I envisioned to be some sort of sterile siphon.   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.  He kept a bit 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.  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 Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Dogs, Duncan, Family, Goliath Stories, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Huh?, Humor, Pets, Stupidity, Wild Beasts

79 responses to “Draining

  1. What a hoot! BTW I’ve just “refollowed” your blog. I realized today that I had not received a copy of your blog in ages, so I dropped by to see what you were up to. Turns out that somehow your posts were no longer showing up as a blog I follow???? That’s the reason you haven’t seen me. I thought you were taking a break. So sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PsiFiGal

    Elyse, you crack me up! When you wrote: “And feeling very much like Alice’s mad Queen of Hearts, I made the decision –

    “Off with his balls!”
    I laughed so hard! Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was with you the whole way. I fell for the blue eyed prankster as well. You’re spot on though, both vets are still telling that story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I wonder how many times that particular vet has used the ‘drained’ explanation….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha! All the way through I was thinking “hmm, I’ve never heard of draining. Wonder why our vet never suggested it?” Too funny.

    I remember the day we took our dog, Danny, to be fixed. After we were home I had to go down the basement for something. When I got to the bottom I heard a sound and looked up to see Danny standing at the top of the stairs, peeing all over. Hubby said it was the effects of the procedure, but I think it was a little payback. Can’t blame him, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure it was payback. Positive.

      I slept downstairs in the family room last night. Duncan was in an Elizabethan collar and quite disoriented. As he was for most of the night.

      I did, however, receive more nighttime kisses than I have gotten in years.


  6. Paul

    Funny story Elyse.


  7. That was a low move by that vet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hilarious. I would have fallen for it too if it makes you feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG! I did not see this coming & like you I have some “faux” medical expertise (from Anatomy & Physiology courses & being a Professional patient)! I have never had a neutered dog so I was pretty gullible about that whole area, but I didn’t think they would deceive you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember this story … still made me laugh again, even though I know how it was going to turn out in the end. My big guy was neutered when he was about two years old (so that I could adopt a little terrier mix as a companion for him). Sadly, in my big dog’s case, his aggression issues have never mellowed. Even after ten years, he still thinks every other dog is an open invitation for some unfriendly munching and mauling. I’ve had to be hyper-careful with him, but even so, he’s still managed, a few times, to get too close to some poor unsuspecting canine. I’ve tried exceedingly stern lectures, socialization exercises, overt desensitizing, but it always ends up the same way. Mauling machine, with teeth, and a bad attitude. Eventually I gave up, and just keep him away from all those other cute critters.

    Duncan will be ready for some pampering and spoiling, and afterwards, will be just fine, I’m sure. Way back when, they told me if I got my Cocker Spaniel neutered, that it would help his neurotic behavior. They were mistaken. That dog was a complete nut case from beginning to end. His name was Mackie, but we affectionately called him Wacky Mackie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Try using a muzzle. It won’t stop the aggression, but it will stop the damage. It was the absolute last grasp I had at controlling my occasionally “sees red” companion (yes, he’s neutered). Unfortunately I waited until he’d bitten someone, but that, at least, woke me up. (http://lifeinthechair.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/one-tough-week/ )

      It’s made all the difference in the world in my stress level…


      • Appreciate the suggestion, DB. I’ve actually tried acclimating him to a muzzle, way back when he was still a kiddo, and gave up when he always seemed to manage to claw the thing off of his face. I should have insisted on making it mandatory, (no excuses), but chose the other route, of keeping him isolated. But there’s no denying it can be a bit like waving around a loaded gun with the safety off.

        Now that he’s an oldster, he can’t even be treated at the vet, because he is dangerously unpredictable when a muzzle is even shown to him, and that is further complicated by the fact that any time he becomes even mildly upset, he is prone to have another stroke (he’s had several now). I’ve taken it upon myself to begin the process all over again, quietly at home, because there will eventually be a day that he will need to be euthanized, and he deserves for that experience to be as calm and peaceful as possible, so I’m slowly trying (again) to get him used to the idea of wearing a muzzle. My failure to do right by him when he was a youngster (and insist on teaching him to wear a muzzle peacefully) is now something I must try to repair during his golden years. Wish me luck.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That is really tough, 99. I was always on edge with Goliath, because I never trusted him completely, but I think that was only a taste of what you’re dealing with. And you love him, so you do what you have to do.

      At least you’re not in denial about it. There have been a lot of times when Cooper especially was attacked. The owner would. Deny their dog was aggressive and later we’d talk to somebody else whose dog had been bitten too. (Cooper was the least aggressive dog I’ve ever known. A marshmallow.)

      I read your exchange with Daddy bear, too. And while I can’t offer advice on the muzzle issue, I can let you know that when it was Cooper’s time, the vet came to our house. It as much less stressful. Still sucked, of course.


    • Wacky Mackie — I love it!


  11. Oh my, what a story. Thank you for the laugh.


  12. Ha ha! Love it. I had my rough collie ‘done’ as I had an elderly GSD at the time. The vet gave him a vasectomy rather than castration (though full castration seems to be favoured now), so he still had all the equipment, but if he tried it on, she sat on his head!


  13. Haha! And I bet dogs are responsible for at least 50% of the the utterances of “damn!”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m pretty sure that vet was into you.


  15. NotAPunkRocker

    Wrong kind of euphemism there…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I read your post at first scratching my head. I’ve had tons of pets and never heard of that. How could that be. My Jake was neutered and he had a nice sack (empty of course) of skin to lick and strut. Can’t believe the vet gave you that line (although you did need to neuter that dog). Nowadays people would sue him. Makes you long for the old days when you didn’t know what was going on. Really funny post. Poor Duncan! He will be just fine (as long as he has a nice sack of skin to lick).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Kate, Goliath needed to be neutered. I actually don’t mind the ruse. I might have changed my mind!

      And you’re right — today people would sue. Oy.


  17. Ha! The whole time I was reading this I was thinking, “I’ve never heard of ‘draining’ before. If that’s the case, how would they keep things from reaccumulating?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. It sounded to odd. Now that I’ve read the whole thing, I understand why! Too funny. Loved this story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. meandcoffeefairy

    My Min Pin, got hit by a car and survived, no longer do I let any dog ride not in a cage in my car, painful lesson learned. I felt sorry for her and didn’t get her fixed, but the doctor told me if she got pregnant, it would kill her, due to narrowing of back from accident. Just like right now, I was sitting at the computer typing away, when Maggie came into the room looking happy as hell, seconds later two male dogs entered looking exhausted as hell. Maggie was in heat, they had bounced on my back door and it had come open, and them bastard had deflowered my Maggie! Maggie got fixed the next morning, she didn’t seem to lose any of her spirit, still a spit fire of a dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, after a story like that, I’m glad to hear that Maggie is doing well!

      I no longer worry about it. There are so many unwanted animals that I think it’s important that unless breeding a champion, then all dogs and cats should be fixed. But not “drained”!

      Duncan probably disagrees!


  19. For whatever reason, I can picture you yelling, “Cut off his balls!” … Alright … at least under your breath. Meanwhile, Duncan soon to be NBD.


  20. I have never heard of this draining biz! My dogs and my cats were all “neutered,” no discussion about the way it was done. If we had options and nobody told me . . . .


  21. So funny, I can just imagine the conversation around Dr. David’s dinner table that night, discussing the fact that in order to convince some woman to neuter her dog, he had to make up a procedure that sounded less painful. If only Goliath could talk, he would have set you straight much sooner!


    • As long as he wasn’t telling the story to a date! Because I WANTED TO BE THAT DATE! Oh well. Life worked out just fine.

      And you’re right. Goliath would have set me straight immediately! “Mom, they cut off my balls. Why did you let them cut off my balls?”


  22. merbear74

    Damn, that was rotten of that doctor to lie to you! I was thinking, how nice that they can just drain his balls….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I didn’t have a problem with having our 90-lb German Shepherd neutered, but my husband did. You’d think they were cutting of his balls instead of the dog’s. Wish our vet had told him the dog would be “drained” instead of castrated – maybe there would have been a little less drama.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I thought I was learning something entirely new… ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. OMD! (O-my-dog) I laughed so hard at this. So, so funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I knew what was coming but still hysterical. I think the doctor told my husband something similar when he had the Big Snip.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. There’s nothing cruel about neutering a dog. If it was either that or back to the kennel cage, I’d say he got off light.

    My dog continues to be nothing but a miserable problem to me. A dark, angry demon. But my daughters would disown me if I got rid of her. I’m trapped. Trapped!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Dunc…you (and your gazebos) have my deepest sympathy.

    Quick Dog “Doing What Dogs Do” (licking their nuts) Joke: Two guys are standing on the sidewalk looking across the street when they see a dog licking his balls. Guy 1 says: “I wish I could do that!” Guy 2 Replies in a thick Southern accent: “That dog will biiiiite yeeeeewwwwww!” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Awesome post!!!! 🙂 Had me in stitches!

    Liked by 1 person

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