Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kirby's Promise is Fulfilled

When we adopted Kirby, we signed a form that said we intended to have him neutered within six months of adoption. Yesterday was the big day... We decided to take him in at five months of age, rather than six, because his baby canine teeth were not coming out and were pushing the adult canines out of alignment in a way that could have consequences for his jaw development. His vet, who happens to have an interest in dentistry, thought it best to take out the little teeth ASAP -- another month and he could have some serious tooth problems -- and while he's under, we might as well have him neutered.

I kept recalling what is probably the most famous dog-neutering cartoon ever...the Far Side panel with the dog hanging his head out the car window bragging to the neighbor dog that he was going to get "tutored."

Kirby was so cheerful about going in. He's cheerful about everything. I felt pangs of fear as the assistant took him into the back, his little tail wagging. We picked him up in the late afternoon and he was one groggy little puppy. It's the first time we've seen him move that slowly. He curled up next to Baxter and wanted nothing more than to cuddle. What a sweetheart. Today he's up and at 'em and you'd never know anything happened. We're trying to limit his activity while he heals, but now that he and Baxter are on equal footing hormone-wise, it's going to be interesting watching the interactions over the next few days and weeks.

Dogs definitely know the difference. When Baxter was intact, the year-old neighbor dog, Phoebe, acted like she was afraid of him. Whenever he came around she would immediately get down on her belly and submit to him. Baxter thought this was pretty cool, being a puppy and all. But after he was neutered, Phoebe's demeanor changed completely. Suddenly she was the dominant one, putting Baxter in his proper place as a newly minted neuter puppy. Eventually things evened out and Phoebe and Baxter became friends and daily walking buddies until we moved away.

Kirby has definitely been attempting to usurp Baxter's position in the family, and Baxter has seemed pretty conflicted about it, at times almost deferential to the puppy. So this will be interesting.

I'm just glad it's over and done with and Kirby's healing well. The vet says Kirby's teeth should move into position now...and perhaps his social position will shift as well.

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