I have a little story I like to tell to people who are reluctant to get their dogs spayed. The story varies from person to person, depending on what I think will have the most impact. Sometimes it’s the cautionary tale of Sue, the boxer who accidentally got pregnant by her brother, had two puppies die in utero, needed an emergency c-section, then finished the month out with eclampsia. Other times it’s Myrtle, the dachshund with a life-threatening pyometra that required a $3000 emergency surgery. Mammary gland adenocarcinoma, retained placentas, you name it, I can tell a gruesome tale about it.
Sometimes you don’t even need to get that far with clients. I just explain how crummy it is to have a dog in heat around the house- the blood, the diapers, and the neighborhood dogs clamoring to get into the backyard. This is the approach I started with today, when talking to the young, well groomed college-aged couple with their pristine Maltese, Corky.
The wife was on board with me on getting Corky spayed from the get-go. The husband, resplendent in his Ed Hardy bowling shirt, made sad faces and expressed his reluctance to spay little Corky. I reached into my mental magician’s hat and produced Taffy, the Lhasa who went outside just for a minute to go to the bathroom when lo and behold, a huge shepherd scaled the 6 foot fence and had his way with her. “Before the owner could do a thing,” I intoned ominously, “They were tied.”
“They DIED?” the husband asked incredulously.
“No,” I said, “They were tied.” He asked me what that meant, so I explained how the male and female are, in essence, stuck together for 15 minutes during mating.
“So the owner couldn’t break them up?” asked the horrifed wife.
“How were they stuck together?” asked the fascinated husband. So I did a brief PG-13 explanation of the bulbus glandis and how it keeps the dogs stuck together for a good 5-20 minutes.
I looked up to see two open mouths. “Eeeeew!” exclaimed the wife, hugging Corky close.
The husband stood there staring at me in disbelief with a wrinkled brow. He inhaled. And slowly exhaled, in an awe-struck tone,
That hung in the air for a minute, before I said, “That’s the only species that can do that, you know,” and left to schedule the spay.