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I can feel it in my nuggets!

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Well we are virtually a ‘nugget free’ household after this week. Marlee, Patch and Simon were all castrated this week. That only leaves Greg, Kyle and Fluffy Blanket our bantam rooster intact. Kyle must be a bit unnerved by the week’s activities as he asked me earlier “Are you going to get my nuggets removed?” For those of you that didn’t read the last update, nuggets is the term that the children use for testicles. They picked it up from the movie ‘Surfs Up’ where Chicken Joe says “I can feel it in my nuggets”. They laughed and laughed about it for days and repeated it so many times (as children do) that I thought I would go crazy. Anyway I assured Kyle, that no I wasn’t and we only did it with the animals because we don’t want them to breed and it will improve their temperaments.

I have never understood people’s desire to breed animals, not only cats and dogs but also farm animals. If you love your animals, there is no way that you can assure that their offspring will be treated the way you would expect and there are no assurances that they won’t end up being euthanized or eaten. Every day in pounds and animal shelter across the country, hundreds of beautiful, loving cats and dogs are killed. If given the chance, they repay the act of kindness bestowed on them by their adoptee, one hundred fold but sadly 99% never get the opportunity. I read an article by a technician at one of these shelters recently that when the cat or dog enters ‘the room’ where they are to be euthanized, they begin to tremble violently and have to be carried to the table. They know what is about to happen – maybe they can see all of the souls that have gone before them, lost and confused, trapped in the room.

Yet people still breed more beautiful creatures simply because they like, or would like their children to see cute baby animals. But baby animals don’t stay babies for long. When we got Marlee at eight weeks I could barely lift him up. By twelve weeks it was difficult and at sixteen weeks – forget it. People also forget that animals move from the baby stage to the teenage stage within a matter of weeks and stay there for one to two years. That cute little puppy or kitten soon becomes a force to be reckoned with, intent on exploring and destroying and then a bit later, challenging your authority. Moving through this phase takes patience and love and above all it helps to be educated so that you know what to expect but sadly a lot of people aren’t. And when things turn out differently from what they imagine, the puppy or kitten is simply discarded.

Our own Oggie the cat is one such discard. Dumped at my friend’s vet clinic at about 6 months old – just before the Easter break – a children’s Christmas present who had lost its lustre. Yes Oggie was a naughty teenager, in fact he has always had a strong, wilful streak but that makes him even more lovable in my eyes. I was meant to be minding him for the weekend but he is still here twelve and a half years later. He made it clear to me within a day or so that he was an outstanding specimen of a cat and that I would quite possibly never get the chance to live with someone of his calibre and that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. Of course, I listened to everything he said and agreed that he should stay with me and have never regretted that decision. Oggie always know best!

The King as Alana calls Oggie.

Some people would then question why I would buy a purebred dog such as Marlee. My reasons are pretty simple. With so many animals I needed to know that the dog would be trustworthy. I have a long history with the breed, sharing my life with two incredible Goldies before – Josh and Dylan. I know what they are like and I know how easy they are to live with. I know that they will not go off hunting or worrying other animals. Golden Retrievers are bred to retrieve and they have incredibly soft mouths. They can carry an egg without breaking it and well bred ones don’t have a killer instinct. I say ‘well bred’ because sadly like most breeds they are being ruined by backyard breeders intent on making a fast buck. They are also soft in nature and obedient which again is important when I have so many other animals to care for, not to mention three young children. But in saying that I know that there are many rescued dogs that have impeccable temperaments and I would love to her your stories… I just didn’t want to take the chance of it turning out badly and have to cope with the devastating consequences for us, the dog and the other animals.

Marlee’s breeder breeds very occasionally and all of her puppies are sold before they are born. She also screens each prospective owner carefully and makes them agree that if the puppy or dog needs to be rehomed, it will be returned to her. She also insists on desexing. If only all breeders were regulated and acted with this level of consciousness there would be no problem, no sickening oversupply and no tragic outcomes.

So now Marlee is wandering around groggily, glad to be home and maybe a little uncomfortable but in the long run it will be worth it. He may grow a little fatter but his thoughts won’t be constantly ruled by the opposite sex and he won’t become aggressive with other male dogs. Most of all he won’t contribute to the shocking number of cats and dogs in this country without homes and without hope.

Before I finish up I must mention how funny men are about castration. I mentioned to someone at work that I was taking Marlee in today to be desexed and he replied ‘ Poor Marlee, my eyes are watering at just the thought’ . I pointed out that “men are so melodramatic and that it is just a little snip”. His reply “Yes, just a little snip but very symbolic”. Why is it though that when a female animal is desexed men (and women) don’t fret about her losing her ‘womanhood’. What the hell is so special about nuggets?

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