On Friday I'm taking a step that cannot be undone:
Sienna is getting spayed.
This is something that I'm having a lot of emotional turbulence over. See, it's like this. I'm totally smitten by my dog (if that wasn't already painfully obvious). This smittenness dictates directly into my brain, saying that she is Special Among Labs, a Prize Specimen, a True Asset To The Breed. Since she is the Wonder Hound, it is natural that I should want to perpetuate that Wonder Hound-ness by breeding her and making the cuuuuuutest puppies ever (except for, of course, Sienna herself). It's pretty difficult to resist very young Lab puppies (exhibit A / exhibit B), so there is definitely a part of my brain that is all over the idea of making more.
However, it should be noted that emotional turmoil is different than logical or intellectual turmoil. I've known since before I ever got a dog that it would be spayed or neutered because the survival of the breed, much less the species, is not hingeing on Sienna's successful propagation. But hey, I'm an INTJ. Ration/logic/intellect will win out every time. Unless chocolate is involved. Or maybe puppies.
Shit. Maybe this isn't going to be as cut-and-dry as I thought it was.
And so the battle waged until one day I very unexpectedly literally talked myself out of breeding Sienna once and for all.
We were frolicking at the dog park as we often do when a woman with a handsome black Lab approaches me. How old is your puppy? Four months. Are you going to breed her? No, I really don't have the time needed to devote to having a litter of puppies. Oh, I'll take care of them! You can get about $800 a pup!
Hearing that definitely turned me off -- good god, that woman wasn't interested in the life that was being created and making sure that it found a good and loving home -- she was just interested in the money! (Never mind that you can't get that much for Lab pups that are the spawn of two random Labs -- you need totally pedigreed-out-the-yin-yang show dogs to get that much.) I made a mental note that this woman was Bad News and moved on.
A couple of weeks later I ran into her again. She started up another conversation, exact same questions, me giving the exact same answers. When she said her "$800 a pup" line again I told her bluntly that I simply wasn't interested in getting that sort of money for a puppy when there were already so many dogs that needed good homes. This seemed to shut her up and though I've seen her several more times at the park since then she hasn't approached me again (which is good, because I'm totally on to her -- I have several friends at the park who also have young female Labs. They have all been approached by this woman. She's a crazy wannabe puppy mill who clearly doesn't mind using other people's female dogs even when she knows that they are too young to have healthy pregnancies -- you gotta wait two years).
What surprised me is how that so-many-unloved-dogs reasoning that I gave her just popped out of my mouth. The thought hadn't been getting conscious airtime in my head but I knew that it was true and it was how I really felt. More than that, I knew that keeping Sienna from breeding is the right thing to do, even though the result would be super cute. There are so many other dogs that can bring just as much joy, love, and companionship to a person. Does this mean that I regret my choice to adopt a seven week old purebred Lab? Not at all. I wanted to do the puppy thing once and now I have and my subsequent dogs will be rescues.
So when Sienna turned six months old this month I called and made the appointment for her. So, sorry little doggie -- you'll never know the joy of sex. And there will never be little Siennalets scampering about on uncoordinated legs and then collapsing exhausted in puppy piles. But the world will be better for it.
- Dooming my dog to a sexless life