Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fletcher's Traumatic Loss...

The Facts

Fletcher got neutered.

His Side

Bob Barker may not host “The Price Is Right” anymore, but his effect on our society is still felt every time someone gets their pet spayed or neutered. I never understood why he always encouraged us to do that at the end of each episode until I realized how many animals are without loving homes. We were also required to get Fletcher neutered in accordance with our adoption agreement. I’m not sure what they would do if we didn’t but I didn’t intend to find out. 

The poor guy lost part of his manhood and I thought he would be depressed after such a traumatic loss. It turns out that he isn’t. Over a month later, he is the same hyper, sometimes annoying, fun-loving, needy, but cute-as-a-button pup that he was before he was neutered. Even right after the surgery, he wanted to run around and play. We received strict instructions to not let him jump up on stuff or run around too much in an effort to keep his stitches in place while his incision healed. He made it very difficult to obey those instructions. 

He did, however, have to wear the “cone of shame” as it’s called. Well, we put one on him and he promptly figured out how to get out of it. So we tried this inflatable neck thing that helped keep him from licking. It looked more tolerable on him but he didn’t ever tell me which one he liked better. It stayed on him (except for this one time… he’s stubborn), and his incision healed perfectly. He did, somehow, get his stitches out before his follow-up appointment when the vet was going to take them out. It was okay, though, because he was just fine. At his follow-up visit, they took him to the back for about two minutes and brought him back out. They told us “he looks great, and everyone loves him back there!” He must really put on the charm for them!

The other thing to note is that we got some pain pills to give him to help with the pain he may experience during healing. The vet told us that they may make him tired, which I would have been cool with. Despite him acting like he had no pain, we gave him the pills because the vet suggested it. They didn’t make him tired. Not at all. All they did was make him use the bathroom a lot… the smelly kind. And it was more smelly than usual on this medicine. Like, remarkably smelly. He had never really had an issue with waking up in the middle of the night until this medicine. And he was waking up to go to the bathroom. When we told the vet this, they said he may be having a slight reaction to the medicine and, if he seemed okay, we could take him off the medicine. Oh, if only we had known this three days before! 

It comes as no surprise to me that Fletcher acts the same now as he did before his surgery but one thing does surprise me… he still humps stuff. He has his favorite towel that we allow him to do with as he pleases and he certainly still does as he pleases with it. I guess I figured that kind of behavior would cease once he was “snipped” but I guess not. His energetic behavior, biting, and scratching must not have had anything to do with his manhood and have everything to do with him being a puppy. Hopefully he will calm down a little as he gets older but, if not, we will love him all the same!

Her Side

So, our little puppy has grown up so fast. We knew the day would come, but we didn’t think much about it. Yep, he had to get neutered. Even if the shelter from which we adopted him didn’t require such an action to be taken, I assure you we would have done this of our own accord. We scheduled his surgery a month in advance and by the end of that month we were more than ready to take his “manhood” away from him, after all, some his actions were becoming a bit graphic. We dealt with his mannerisms by telling ourselves that once he was neutered he would be a changed dog. It’s the little bit of hope we had left to cling to.

Fletcher had to be at the vet bright and early on the morning of his surgery, so we both got up and took him. We were told he wouldn’t be able to go home until that evening, so that they could monitor him after being put under anesthesia. I nervously awaited and finally received the call from his vet that the surgery went well and he was waking up nicely. She mentioned that he might be groggy and may not act like himself for at least a day (something I was, honestly, completely okay with). Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not what happened at all. I picked him up and he literally acted like he had nothing done to him at all. He wanted to jump up and down and run around and play. I tried to discourage his behavior, but there is only so much you can do to keep a dog calm and still… and none of my tactics seemed to work.

As a result of his surgery, Fletcher was bound to the cone of shame. I felt like a horrible pet parent for making him wear it because he looked absolutely pitiful with it on and I can’t imagine it would be very comfortable. Nonetheless, I wasn’t about to have him pop out stitches and have to go back in for another surgery. So, we stuck with it. I’m pretty sure that Fletcher was trying to get back at us for making him have this surgery done because he began to wake up in the middle of the night… at 1:00, then 3:00 and then 5:00. Each time we tried to make sure he wasn’t in pain, and he wasn’t… he just wanted to play. How can such a small puppy be such a big jerk?

Well, we followed the vet’s orders of keeping him in the cone of shame until we noticed that he had somehow removed both of his stitches. Thankfully he was completely healed at this point, so we didn’t have any trips back to the vet to fix anything.

Now, I don’t know if we had just been misinformed all of our lives about what neutering does to a dog… temperamentally speaking (we know what the physical manifestations of it are), but what ensued after he completely healed is not at all what we thought it would be. We thought Fletcher would calm down a bit and not be so graphic with some of his mannerisms. We thought that his energy level might mellow out just a tad. We thought that he might somehow be less naughty and realize that he isn’t allowed to do certain things (well this one is more out of wishful thinking). NONE OF THIS IS TRUE. He is just as hyper as he was before and he absolutely does not act like we had him neutered.

So, now that we have let the reality of the situation sink in; that our dog is un-phased by his surgery and that he’s destined to be a hyper puppy for at least another year, we are slowly trying to figure out how to deal with him. There are still days that I would like to give him a doggy chill pill (I’m only halfway joking about this) and we are now awaiting the day that he grows out of his “puppy” stage… if that ever actually happens.

Turns out we might have chosen the most hyperactive dog to call our own but we love him despite his hyperactivity. Some days it’s harder than others, especially when he destroys something that is near and dear to your heart, but at the end of the day he is ours… and that is something I wouldn’t dream of changing.

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