Beware Of The Dog Owner….

….as they may be after your bollocks

I’d like to introduce you to Stan. Say hello. He’s my dog. Or rather half my dog and half belongs to my good friend — for the sake of this story, let’s call her Betty. Stan is a few weeks short of his eighth birthday. What’s that in Dog Years? 56? So he’s round about my age. A little bit older. Stan’s had something of a makeover recently — something that will make men of a certain age wince.

A few years ago, Betty decided she wanted a dog. However, being a practical and caring sort of woman, there was something holding her back — she and her partner at the time had become accustomed to going away at Christmas time and she didn’t want to put a dog in kennels. This is where I came in. Having had dogs as a kid, I always wanted one as an adult but living on the second floor of a block of flats and working full time, I had decided it wasn’t very fair to own one. So it was great when I got the opportunity to borrow one occasionally (you know, like a Weekend Dad?) and so I jumped at the chance.

One frosty day in April 2009, Betty, her son and I drove up to Yorkshire to choose him from a litter of six or seven. We picked out Stan who we decided was the best looking of some seriously cute puppies and reluctantly left him for a few weeks until he was ready to move in.

Betty maintains that his mother was a Labrador and his father a Golden Retriever (I think it was the other way round) — but either way, I tell people that Stan is a Labradiva.

The original arrangement was that I would just look after Stan at holidays but such was his appeal that I was soon asking for him one weekend per month. Then I would rearrange work from time to time so that I could work from home and have Stan for longer.

And so he grew up between two houses and with, for a time, four parents. We all claim to have taught him various tricks. He’s a very friendly and sociable dog and has only needed to show aggression on one occasion when challenged by some crossbred pitbull motherfucker.

Otherwise, he is a cool dog — the kind that people want to come up to and say hi to. And he makes the greatest companion and is the one thing that I miss the most from my time away. Now I realise that family and friends who are reading this might get offended that they have been overlooked for a dog. Let me mitigate this by saying that my friends are aware that I have gone away and that I will be coming back. Stan has lost Betty’s ex and my ex over the years and I am left fearing that he will think that I have abandoned him forever. Or worse still that he won’t recognise me when I return.

However, there’s a fair chance now that I won’t recognise him. You see Betty has taken the unilateral decision to have his testicles removed. I mean she has been threatening it for a few years but in the kinda way that mothers threaten to renege on their promise to buy you an ice cream unless you and your brother stop arguing, when you know deep down that you’re still going to get one. Betty maintains that Stan was getting more and more randy as the years went by. To be honest, I didn’t see it. I thought he had settled down a lot and it had been years since I’d seen him get his lipstick out and shag his bedding. But for Betty it was still a problem. And I was being unfair to suggest that it was her lack of handling that was the problem. I suppose it was obvious that we were never going to agree on this issue so now that I am far away, Betty has gone ahead and done the deed. What can I do? When I left the UK for a year, I realise that my ability to influence these decisions diminishes.

Now at this stage, I think empathy for Stan will divide depending on your gender. Women will read this story and conclude as Betty the Bollock Chopper has done, “What’s the drama, they’re only a couple of balls?” Whereas I believe men will view this differently and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few men subconsciously crossing their legs as they read. There are a few things that divide the sexes. Genitalia are an example. Without getting into too much detail, testicles are a source of warmth and reassurance for men. And yes potency. Even if it is subliminal potency. But when women catch their husbands with their hands down their trackie pants, it’s for reasons of comfort not perversion. Of course there is no real equivalent for women than the removal of one’s bollocks. You could say a mastectomy although you are not removing the ability to procreate or a hysterectomy although this does not prevent you from having sex. And both procedures are usually taken for medical reasons. In my albeit simplistic view, Stan has gone through the same archaic castration punishment as those humans that were deemed perverse when they had homosexual desires.

Betty reports that Stan is fine and is so much more calmer than before. This has to be a good outcome but there’s a little bit of me that still feels that he’s been denied one of the few pleasures he had.

My dog is no longer Stan The Man but rather Stransexual. I am coming to terms with this new reality and will cope with this on my return on one condition — that he still wants to chase squirrels and not say to me “Dad, I’d rather stay in and watch Real Housewives.”