Sir Herschel Barksalot (Hershey) at approximately 4 months old

Today’s the day. Our sweet boxer, Sir Herschel Barksalot (Hershey to friends), goes to the vet for that visit that makes all men squeamish…he’s going to be neutered. Castrated. Unmanned. Made epicene.  He’ll join the ranks of other canine eunuchs around the world and will be left unsexed and androgynous. He will cease to be a male dog and will become an “it” dog. Poor Hershey.

This date has been on the calendar for about a month.  Why so long?  Why not just schedule it and get it over with?  Well, I’ve asked myself these same questions, and what it really comes down to is that we hate to do it to the poor boy.  It has to be done, this much we know is true, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to hate us for it and hold it against us for the rest of his life.

Because this date has been on the calendar for so long, it’s been the topic of conversation on several occasions.  Predictably, my teenager daughter finds the idea humorous, while my husband just winces every time the topic is brought up.  My 7-yaer old son, however, is clueless.  Or, well…he was clueless.  Or, rather, I thought he was clueless.

Last week the kids were playing with Hershey in the middle of my living room floor.  At some point, my daughter had rolled him over onto his back so that she could better scratch his tummy.

Braden with Hershey, shortly after we brought him home from the breeder's.

“Mom?” Braden asked.  “What are those two round knobby things by Hershey’s rear end?”

“Those are his testicles,” I responded.

“Huh?  What’s that?” he asked.

“Now Braden,” I said a little frustrated already.  “You know what testicles are.  You have them…all boys have them, and so do all boy animals.”

“Ohhhhhh!  Testicles!” he replied.  “Those are the things that get cut off when you get married!”

“What?!” I asked, trying hard not to spew Diet Dr. Pepper all over the living room floor.  “What do you mean?”

“That’s what you said.  You said that when Hershey gets married, they’re gong to cut his testicles off.”

“Ummm…no, Buddy,” I said still trying not to give the child a reaction that would cause him to perpetuate this misunderstanding  to every person he meets in the next six months.  “I’m sure that’s not what I said.  I’m sure you must’ve misunderstood me.  What I said was that Hershey’s going to get neutered next week.”

“Oh.  What’s the difference?”

I’m sorry folks…I have no answer for that.