Millies Spay Away: Reflections on our decision


We’re all a little pressed to know what to do with ourselves today. Our numbers are down, as little Millie has gone off to be spayed, which means an overnight stay at the Animal Hospital. All by herself… Alone! (Well apart from the other pets and kennel staff, but that’s not the point). This is the first time we’ve been separated since her arrival early last September so I don’t mind admitting that the house feels kind of empty and too quiet for my liking.

Myfie and Ellie have been moping around all day, though I’m sure it’s jealousy and they’re convinced she’s off having loads of fun, being given bag after bag of treats and walked for miles somewhere, because she’s the youngest and she’s spoilt! No, not really, my senses tell me that they’re actually missing the little minx. Oh how she’d lap that up if she knew.

I don’t like to think of her waking in the night and crying for us, worse still; what if she thinks I’ve abandoned her? That she’ll never see us again? Yeah, ok, I can hear all you cynics out there ‘dogs don’t have the ability to process complex emotions in that way blah, blah, blah’… but do they? One thing’s for sure, if any dogs are able to Millie will be one of them. She’s a total drama queen and a Mummy’s girl. Just because she toddled off happily with the veterinary nurse this morning, wiggling (because she’s far too ladylike to wag) her happy little tail, doesn’t mean she’s going to be ok with the situation post op in the middle of the night! I’ll be able to tell what sort of night she’s had when I see the kennel staff tomorrow. I’m guessing whichever one looks like he/she’s had a rough night out on the town will be the one that spent the night with my princess.

So why decide to put her through it then? Well, we’ve had all our dogs spayed and neutered over the years, to us it makes sense and these are the reasons why:

1) I want to do everything in my power to make sure my little darlings have the longest, healthiest and happiest life possible. If this operation reduces the risk of any form of cancer and disease then, in the long term, this uncomfortable couple of weeks will be worth it. I should also note health-wise this was particularly important for Millie who has an umbilical hernia that is being removed at the same time.

2) We don’t want puppies! Well, actually, the irresponsible part of my mind would love to have a houseful of tiny terrors. Trouble is they don’t stay puppies forever and believe me, three dogs is more than enough work sometimes. I think I’d struggle to hand them over too; being amongst all that cuteness could indeed turn me into (a non murderous and anti-cruelty) version of Cruella De’Ville and god help the person who tried to take one of my precious ‘puppiiiieeesss’. Add that to the massive problem of over-breeding and homeless pooches in packed out shelters, and I’ve got my mind firmly set on the ‘no puppies’ rule.

3) Millie loves her freedom, by that I mean she’s an outdoorsy kind of girl who loves to hide herself in the big back yard. Now, there’s no danger of there being any puppies provided by Myfie (bless him!). Ooh in ‘designer dog’ terms what would that even make? West-Zhu? Shi-West? Haha goddit … shih-sie, go on say it! Hmm a quick Google tells me I was wrong on all counts and of course there’s already a name for them, I give you the ‘Weshi’ but I think my name’s much better, for reasons I will leave undisclosed (for now).

Anyway, apologies, back on track; no, no pups from him but I’ve heard tales in my time of just how determined dogs from miles around can be when they catch the faintest scent of lady during her special time. So that would mean keeping her indoors every time she’s ‘in season’ and to her that would surely seem like a punishment? I have tried to have the ‘birds and bees’ conversation with her, but I lost her after the ‘bird’ word when she ran outside to look for them!

Of course, there’s much more scientific, in-depth research provided into the pro-spaying(?) claims I have made here, and more besides; but these are the reasons that are most important for our family. I’m sure you all have/had reasons for your choices too, but if I had any advice to give; it would be to make them personal. It’s all very well reading a list of facts, but if you are a sensitive soul like me, they aren’t going to help you when the little seeds of doubt (and worry) set in. OK that’s maybe a touch too dramatic (is it?) but I find it helps to really know why you are doing something, it may just be the difference between cancelling that appointment or not.

But what do you think? Do I just need to ‘get a grip’ or were you on tenterhooks all night too? And what about spaying/neutering, what were the reasons you had for making your decision? Drop me a line, it would be great to hear your views…


6 thoughts on “Millies Spay Away: Reflections on our decision

  1. Great post! Well-written and very clearly describes both the emotional aspects of the decision as well as the rational reasons behind it. Charley was neutered a long time ago now, but his was more invasive than most males due to a complication. He also had surgery at the same time for a cherry eye. I don’t think he had to stay overnight, if I remember correctly, but I was indeed anxious as I’m sure most are. I’m sometimes asked about the reasons behind doing this and I might direct people to this blog post in the future, to help others who are unsure about this decision. Thanks for writing this.

    • Thank you so much, both for commenting and being so kind!
      Yeah, that was my point, we’re told over and over that spaying/neutering is a good thing for ‘dogs’ but when it comes down to booking your own precious family member in; it’s essential for your own peace of mind to know why it works for you!
      It’s particularly important if, like with poor Charley, something goes ‘wrong’. They always say how easy it is for boys, compared to the girls’ op anyway but it wasn’t that way in our case either (with Myfie and Ellie) this was when we discovered that Myfie is a ‘bleeder’ and it caused a whole host of problems for him. He ended up staying in much longer than Ellie, so it just proves there’s more to it than simply what sex they are.
      I would have never forgiven myself, nor made the same decision a few years down the line for Millie, if he’d simply had it done ‘because that’s the thing you should do’
      Thank you for sharing that with me, I’m so sorry to hear of Charley’s troubles, though I’ve seen lots of lovely proof that he is just fine these days! … and now I’m going to go and research what ‘cherry eye’ is! 🙂

      • Sorry to hear Myfie had such a difficult time with his surgery. Hope that Ellie’s went much better.

        Thank you for your concern, but actually Charley’s surgery went just fine. I probably shouldn’t have used the word “complication,” which implies that something unexpected and bad happened. Fortunately, his surgery went just as expected and with no problems whatsoever. What I meant to say was that his surgery was a bit more complicated, since it was more invasive than usual for a male dog due to the fact that he had an undescended testicle. This was known beforehand, so there were no surprises. He had his surgery about 10 days before his six month birthday. He recovered pretty quickly and even felt well enough to go to the Thanksgiving Day parade a few days later. I think cherry eye is also called a prolapsed eyelid. It’s pretty common in his breed, I believe.

        Hope that Millie is feeling well and recovering from her surgery.

      • Oh phew! I’m pleased to hear that, I was imagining allsorts! What a little trooper to go to the parade a few days on too! But then, he does have a dad that’s happy to carry him about! which I imagine is great in those situations.
        Yeah, Ellie was her crazy little self pretty much straight away after. We couldn’t believe it at the time, they said how she’d take a while to recover but, nope! Maybe that is an advantage of being so young.
        I had a search for cherry eye! Seems as though it looks worse than it actually is, and great that he could have it treated at the same time as being neutered.
        The pups send their love, they are looking after Millie the best way they can! Hope you have had a lovely weekend.

  2. Hi 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading your post, and soooo understand and agree with everything you’ve said here! All our pets, past and present, have been ‘done’, for both the health-related and practical reasons you mention.

    Our oldest dog, Millie, came into season once before she had the op (this wasn’t intentional, she was just an early developer and it happened before she was booked in at the vets!) and she had a miserable time. She subsequently suffered a phantom pregnancy and again, was in a very sad state. Loving her as much as you clearly love your furry family, this was unbearable for us, and if we hadn’t already been of the view that neutering was the right thing to do, it would certainly have changed our minds. Mabel, our youngest, was spayed as soon as the vet said it was ok to do so, and thankfully didn’t go through any of the problems that Millie had.

    It’s such a worry when they have an op for whatever reason though isn’t it? They are our babies, and like you I can’t ever help myself from imagining them “thinking” this or that! I’m sure Millie will be fine though, and getting lots of fuss from the staff at the hospital until she’s able to come home again and get spoilt rotten 😉

    Get well soon Millie xx

    PS Reading your description of your Millie made me smile – it sounds like the two namesakes have quite a lot in common… drama queen… princess… mammy’s girl…. lol.

    • Hiya Sue!
      Thanks so much for commenting, I’m really pleased you liked the post (a little relieved to see I’m not a ‘nutter’ too! ha).

      Oh gosh! what a terrible time your Millie had of it, poor baby 😦 a phantom pregnancy, that must have been so hard! Such an awful lot for a pup to go through and I can’t imagine how you coped!
      Ellie (my older girl) was done at six months, but it really was touch and go to see if she’d hold off that long before her first season. They do say there are extra
      health benefits to having the op in the first six months! Though, I know at the time some thought it was too early! and that’s what I mean about having your decision made on more than just recommendation, things change don’t they? and no two pups are the same. Millie has had her first season by the way, she had some sort of urinary infection when she was tiny so the vet wanted to make sure she developed properly before he would spay her! Oddly, (as Millie’s a Shih Tzu and I’m trying to do the whole long hair thing) her groomer informed me that it’s best if they aren’t spayed until they are at least a year old! (I think because by them all the puppy coat is replaced by adult hair) … I did ask the vet about this and he seemed to think it was an old wives tail and actually, to me, her overall health is more important than her having flowing locks; but I wonder if those who show their dogs feel the same way?

      The little monster is! home now, thankfully it was just a one-night stay and she’s mainly groggy but pleased to be home. She’s lively enough to make SURE that we are spoiling her! lol … but that’s all good with me! I’ll pass on your lovely get well wishes! Thank you 🙂 x

      Haha, aww well then I’ll bet our ‘Millie’s’ are equally adorable too! … and don’t they know it? oh and Mabel! that’s a lovely name, so very cute! Send my love! and thanks again!

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