Oh, nuts.

Helo  is now 9.5 months old, and he is not neutered.

I don’t know why not removing organs from my dog is so controversial, nor why testicles are so offensive in the first place, but for some people this is a Really Big Deal.


After all, Responsible Dog Owners neuter their dogs at six months old.



And that has been so in the veterinary world for quite awhile, though I’ve not been able to track down exactly why that was the age decided upon. If anybody knows, please share!

Studies have been coming out over the past decade or so saying that, oops, all of our long-held beliefs about spaying and neutering pets for their health might not be that accurate after all. This article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has a lot of really good information about both the benefits and the risks of spaying and neutering.

There are fair points on both sides.

And then there are the Dog People on the internet who practically crucify folks for choosing to alter their dogs at 6 months as recommended by their vets. Clearly they’re going to cause their dogs to blow out their knees and die of cancer in short order.

Now there have been a few studies about spay/neuter and behavior, and their findings are not what most people have expected. There is evidence that spaying and neutering can increase fear, and, more shockingly, can increase aggression in dogs. Unpossible!

I don’t understand why people need to get so up in arms about what other people choose to do with their dogs. I am waiting to alter Helo until he is fully grown and physically mature, primarily out of orthopedic concerns. He had funny crooked front legs as a pup, and knee problems  are a common problem with pit bulls.

He’s not been offensively male in his behavior- he doesn’t hump at home (he will sometimes target a dog at daycare, and in that case, he can just go inside and sit in a crate) and he doesn’t mark inside. His horrible obnoxious behavior is a result of personality and my laziness– neutering him isn’t going to improve any of it.

I don’t have an intact bitch, and the chances of him having a tryst with one when he lives in the house and goes out on a leash are very small. I am confident he’s not going to be making any puppies.


If my lifestyle were different, then maybe my choices would be different.

And if I chose to neuter before maturity, I would probably be told that I am lazy and just neutering for convenience. Ok. What’s wrong with my dog being more convenient? The number one reason I own dogs is because they make my life more enjoyable.

But I strongly believe that folks need to be given the information available and then be allowed to make the best decision for their own dog, and not be shamed for it.

Just as every dog is different, so is everyone’s situation. Just let people make the best choices they can for their own dogs.

Chihuahua: My other underdog

It amuses me that people are frequently more horrified that I own a Chihuahua than that I own a pit bull.

Vicious, yappy, ankle-biter. Worthless, not even a dog.

Come on, people. Let people like what they like.

I get a kick out of her.

I am not sure when I started wanting a Chihuahua of my own, but it might have started with the one I saw on the Appalachian Trail on Peter’s Mountain. He was a cool dog, and the idea of a tiny, portable hiking dog appealed to me.

It’s hard to find a Chi in the shelters around here. While they’re being killed left and right in the shelters in California and the Southwest, in the Northeast, little dogs are a hot commodity, and often don’t even make it onto the shelter’s adoption page.

I had a friend tag me on this shelter’s facebook post, and showed up the next morning with my other dogs in tow to meet her.

Potato Chip. She’d been seized by police along with her housemate after the owner was taken to prison on murder charges. The dogs had been left alone with only potato chips and crackers to eat.

Little Potato Chip was quiet, not-fearful, and tolerant of being touched. She was scared out of her gourd, too. She met my big dogs without worry, and they were fine with her.

By the time I filled out my application for her, there were several more people at the shelter to look at her.

Happily my application checked out, and I was able to adopt her a week or so later.

I renamed her Tweak.

She’s a hoot.

She’s aloof with strangers. She is absolutely yappy. She plays tug like a monster, chases squirrels, chews bones. She wears her tutu and her pink party dress with attitude.

She climbs mountains like a boss.

This was the last rock scramble up Mt. Killington in Vermont. Up above 4000 feet. Up above treeline. She hiked the whole thing by herself.

(It was really freaking cold on top.)

She is a great dog in all the ways my “real” dogs are great dogs. She’s fun. She’s feisty. She is a great cuddler, and I enjoy having a lapdog who doesn’t smash me.

But people look at her or hear about her and make all kinds of assumptions about her because of her breed.

Just as my pit bull has yet to eat a baby, my Chihuahua has never bitten anyone’s ankle. She’s never bitten anybody. I’ve yet to step on her and break her (though I did sit on her once).

She’s a lot of fun, despite her breed’s reputation.

Despite the stereotypes.