Friday, August 6, 2010

Spaya for Freyja

On Monday, Kirsti and I took Freyja to get spayed. As much as I love the idea of a litter of puppies, I'm aware enough of things like consequences and a bigger picture to actually allow for that to happen. In fact, we made sure that she was spayed as soon as possible. She's at about five months now, which isn't unreasonably early, but it's definitely before she could go into heat even once.

I'm a big believer in getting your pets fixed. Oliver, my cat, had to get fixed when we adopted him out of the animal shelter, (same deal with the late Argos) but I would have had it done anyway. He was anywhere between three and five years old when we adopted him, and I would frequently joke about how he was probably responsible for a lot of the other cats that were there at the shelter. Needless to say, his days of spreading his seed are long gone. As for my other dog, Willy, he was fixed when we got him.

For me, it seems like such a no-brainer. There are so many dogs and cats out there who don't have a home, that I don't see why you'd want to bring more into the world if you could do something about it. I guess I'm not really referring to breeders (the respectable, not puppy-mill, kind) but I'd be dishonest if I told you that I was completely okay with that idea. I'm just talking about people who, for whatever reason, don't do their part in curbing the pet population.

I find myself getting very frustrated when I talk to some people about this - so much so that I avoid it. I doubt that it's a Mormon thing necessarily, but for some reason when I was growing up, I knew more than one Mormon family that was against spaying/neutering their pets. One family's dog would wind up having puppies every so often, as she'd go into heat so that all the unfixed neighborhood males would come on by and pay her a visit, resulting in a litter of puppies not too long afterward. I also had a friend who had a male dog who was out of control, and when I suggested that they neuter him, he told me that was a bad idea. I don't remember his reasoning exactly, but I remember it being bassackward.

You also get the arguments from anthropomorphism, where people seem to think that their pets are somehow going to miss having their baby-making abilities. They can't realize that a dog or a cat doesn't sit there and think about what could have been or what could be. They're thinking about what's going on at the moment. When you try and say that to these people, you get the "How do you know what they're thinking?" argument. Honestly, I don't know exactly how to argue this. I mean, I imagine that studies must have been done, and the fact that their brains simply aren't very big should say something. Still, just spending some time around cats and dogs makes it kind of obvious that they're not exactly making plans for the future. If anything, getting them fixed removes something that could potentially stress them out.

I also heard people tell me that I should wait for Freyja to either go into heat one time or to allow her to have at least one litter of puppies. These statements were proceeded with a "They say that..." Of course, "they" are always a rather vague, anonymous bunch, aren't they? When we took Freyja to the vet, I asked her if there was any truth to this, or if this was nothing more than "one of those things that they say". She confirmed that it was the latter, and she told me that when you wait, the chance of her getting a certain type of cancer is increased to the same rate where if she wasn't fixed at all. (I probably should have pointed out that fixing your pets tends to get them to live longer and have fewer health problems - just in case you didn't already know that.) But hey, who the hell does she think she is to go against the common sense wisdom of "they"? Just because she's a vet, that doesn't mean that she knows anything. How elitist!

I suppose that somewhere in here, I should point out the irony that if the people who gave me Freyja were a little more proactive about fixing their pets, I wouldn't have such a wonderful dog right now. Still, as much as I love her, I'm sure that I could have gotten a great dog at the shelter (like I did with Argos). I was actually somewhat conflicted about taking her instead of getting a shelter dog, but then I reasoned that if they couldn't find enough homes, those puppies would probably wind up in the shelter themselves. One way or another, I'm giving a home to a dog. It would have been different if I had encouraged my neighbors to let their dog get pregnant in the first place. (I should also point out that they gave her to us. We didn't pay them, so they didn't make any sort of profit off of it. They wouldn't even accept reimbursement for her deworming medication.)

With all this said, I'm still not in favor of any laws that make it mandatory for people to spay and neuter their pets. I liken it to owning a Humvee. Sure, you may have the right to own one, but that doesn't mean that you should. Likewise, you have every right to not get your pets fixed. But still, come on...get 'em fixed. If you're worried about cost, look around online. We got Freyja spayed at the Animal Shelter for $95. Smaller dogs, males and cats are cheaper, and I'm sure that if I really looked around, I could have probably found something even less expensive. If you live in Contra Costa County, here's the link for more information.

1 comment: said...

I had no idea that "fixing your pets tends to get them to live longer and have fewer health problems," but even if that weren't the case, it just makes sense to spay/neuter them.

Here in Argentina, people generally don't fix their pets (on a side note, have you thought about this phrase: "fixing" your pet, as though there were something wrong with them by being naturally able to reproduce?), and needless to say, there are a lot of homeless pets.

There was recently a HUGE controversy here about a province called Neuquén down south that made the decision to put down a significant number of homeless dogs, and people were indignant about this decision, but honestly, who wants a thousand dogs running around the streets? If everyone took care of their pets by spaying them, then they wouldn't need to be put down.

I won't even mention what other issue this reminds me of.

Prevention, people. It's key.