At least half the dogs in our neighbourhood these days are less than a year and a half old.
The pandemic puppy phenomenon did not pass us by around here, and every day as we go for our walks in the rain, shine, epic heat or brutal cold, we encounter so many other of these pandemic pups in the park.
Pups who have neither care nor concern that the very pandemic that forged virtually every aspect of their lives to date still has a lingering subtle effect on their human companion’s day-to-day.
Some day, maybe even soon, things will go back to normal… ish.
But maybe not quite yet.
This morning I made a heart-aching drive to the veterinarian clinic to drop off a one-year-old puppy who, over the past almost-a-year has filled that same heart with joy … and for whom I’m returning the favour by having her reproductive organs surgically removed.
As per our agreement with the breeder, and in consultation with my friend-now-vet, the day finally arrived for this simple yet important procedure. We’re having her spayed.
It’s for her health. It’s for her happiness. It’s for her well-being.
I had thought the term was common, but my next door neighbour had never heard the term before and I had to spend a few minutes explaining it.
Any time a friend or family member (and a puppy is both, isn’t she?) goes under the knife it gives one pause for reflection and soul-aching empathy. My (very human) daughter has had minor surgery twice in her life and both times, even years later, are etched into my memory as if carved into steel with a diamond chisel.
The risks are, of course, the surgical process itself and the lingering feeling that I’m surgically altering my friend for what (at this exact moment) feels like a bit of a selfish, very human reason.
The benefits as I understand them are important: lowered risks of infections and cancers, and simply a life with fewer hormonal fluctuations. Plus, she can then safely attend daycare or local indoor dog parks and play with other dogs in a warm indoor space even as the winter rolls into a deep, immovable cold.
In the next few days we’ll be resting and recovering, chilling with lots of attention and careful pets … and maybe a few less belly rubs for a week or so.