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Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 10:51 PM

We recently decided to have Rocky neutered. Yvette, my wife, said: "I'm not going to breed him any more. He really doesn't need them." (Hmm, we have been married for a little more than 10 years now . . . GULP!)

Rocky is our 6-year-old, AKC registered yellow lab. Actually, he is creamy white, but telling Yvette he is a "white lab" is a way to start an argument. She is as into her labs as I am my beagles.

Rocky is a very beautiful and good-natured dog. He has great field instincts, although we have never hunted him. He is absolutely obsessive compulsive about playing fetch and retrieving things. We have been asked, and agreed, to allow him to father several litters of puppies. He has sired some great pups. We have always regretted allowing "Buttercup" to be adopted by an area family.

This spring, Rocky developed a tendency to disappear. A neighbor with a female golden retriever called us and said that they found our missing dog. Another neighbor caught rocky attempting to pollinate his best friend. We even suspect he has been roaming among the local coyotes as when he hears them he wants to head in their direction. It was clearly time to do something.

Pre-surgical rules are apparently the same for dogs as for people. No food or water after midnight and the dog is to be brought to the vet's office between 9:00 and 11:00. On Tuesday morning, at 6:00 a.m., I walked all of the critters and fed and watered the beagles, but not Rocky. The poor guy, he hopped up onto a bed and literally pouted. As it turned out, I was a day early, and to his great relief, he was fed, albeit a bit late.

The next day, everyone was walked, but no one was fed or watered until Rocky had been taken to the vet. The crew was a bit unhappy, but no one pouted.

Being a big dog, Rocky does not get to go on many rides in the car. "Wanna go for a ride" is like a magical phrase. He was very excited to get into the car with me. His tail was waging so much, his whole body was swaying back and forth. It reminded me of a "Far Side" comic where one dog excitedly told another; "Dad says I am going to get tutored."

When we arrived, Rocky was even excited to go inside and see the vet. He was merrily led into a back room. I was told I could pick him up after 5:00 that evening.

A little after 5:00, I arrived at the vet's office to pick him up. Rocky was very anxious to leave. I offered him a treat in the lobby, but he refused it and went strait out the door and into the car.

Although his furry siblings were happy to see him, Rocky just moped around. I had been instructed to make sure he eats before drinking water. I put down a bowl of food, but he again just moped around and refused to eat.

The next day he barely ate and spent all day lying around. He seemed to be genuinely depressed. "He can't possibly understand what happened" I wondered out loud. I couldn't help but feel empathetic.

The following day, he ate most of his food, but was still not himself. I asked the vet's assistant if he was depressed. "Nope," she assured me, "it's just the effects of the anesthesia." Humm.

Rocky is basically back to his ole' self now. Other than the obvious, there don't seem to be any lasting effects. However, I swear he was genuinely depressed about the procedure. He is also a lot less anxious to "go for a ride."

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Unfortunately once the wander habit has started, neutering doesn't usually "cure" it. Neutering has a better track record of keeping "Fido" at home only if the procedure is done before they start to wander. Rocky is better off being on a leash or contained somehow so he won't be tempted to wander off. You might better make a contingency plan so he doesn't get hit by a car or become a pain in the neck to the neighbors as while it is illegal to let your animals run at large, it is not illegal for a neighbor to shoot them if they are damaging property. Sad ending for an animal who cannot be expected to reach any level of reason beyond a two year old human....

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:43 AM

Poor Rocky :-(

-- Posted by riconeal on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 4:26 AM

yes poor Rocky. Jenny you would have to know Rocky to know that tho keep this big beautiful dog on a leash or contained would definatly put him into a drpression if he was not already in one to beguin with. I only hope he has not lost his zest for fetching. I love to fetch with him when I see him.

-- Posted by klk_klo on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 5:32 PM

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