Accessories for that needy dog
Warning: This column contains explicit language that some might find offensive or at least not funny. If you are put off by a discussion of, say, artificial dog testicles -- not that that is what this column is necessarily about, but if that kind of subject matter makes you uncomfortable -- you should flip to another part of the newspaper.
No, really, this is your final warning. If any discussion of something along the lines of artificial dog testicles -- not that we're specifically going to be talking about that -- bothers you, please stop reading here. Right here. Go no further. Be off! Aloha. Bye, bye.
OK. Now for the rest of you, this column actually is about artificial dog testicles. But I promise to keep the discussion dignified with absolutely no puns, alliteration or malapropisms. Or at least not many.
It seems that a gentleman named Gregg Miller has become exceedingly rich after inventing and patenting prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs. This is a good example of why none of us will ever get rich. We could search high and low for a new product that would make us filthy rich and never think to look where Greg Miller looked.
We all know that dogs get neutered every day; it just never occurred to us that maybe dogs would feel a little better about themselves if they had some, er, replacement thingies to make up for the ones that were taken from them to keep them from procreating.
Miller has sold more than 150,000 Neuticles, as they are called, mostly from his Web site at Neuticles.com. (The solid silicone objects sell for a minimum of $60 a pop, so you do the math.)
Miller recently was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize, a Harvard University recognition celebrating the humorous, creative and odd sides of science.
Miller told the Associated Press, "Considering my parents thought I was an idiot when I was a kid, this is a great honor. I wish they were alive to see it."
Miller claims the reason the artificial testicles are so popular is because it returns dignity to dogs.
"Why wouldn't the pet know a familiar body part is missing?" he asks. "Would he know if his foot was cut off? Of course he would."
But my dog Boomer seems to have coped pretty well with the loss of his, you know, da kines, and I think at this point the sudden addition of an artificial pair would be perplexing for him.
I suspect most dog owners have the (Alliteration Alert!) pretend parts installed to assuage their guilt at having the originals deleted. I don't know why they would feel guilty. It's important to have your pet neutered to avert overpopulation and a personal visit to your house by Bob Barker.
The Neuticles Web site has a section called "Twenty Most Asked Questions about Neuticles." Twenty questions? You'd think that after you get past "Why?" and "What?" (the "Where?" is self-explanatory), there aren't many questions left.
But one potential purchaser asked if testicle implants were unethical, as his vet apparently had told him.
Miller counters that the "removal of a God-given body part leaving the pet looking unwhole" is unethical. Amen, brother.
I have nothing against the concept of artificial testicles for pets (the line has been expanded to include Neuticles for cats and other animals). What makes me uneasy is all the merchandise Miller is selling on the side. He offers every thing from Neuticles key chains (with the actual silicone items attached) to beach towels ($39), baseball caps and even a barbecue apron. He's wringing a lot of money out of these (Alliteration Alert!) animal amulets. You have to have a pretty big pair of, uh, accountants to justify making money off of products like that.
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org