By the time this post is published, Monja will be sitting in his new vet’s office, waiting for his balls to be chopped off. Just what you wanted to read about on a Wednesday morning, right?
When I first got my now, 14-month old Corgi back in April, neutering him was always something I saw “in the cards.” It was hardly a choice — more of a given, really. But my boyfriend at the time, Keiji, would always give me puppy dog eyes when I’d start talking about desexing my hairy little son. He won’t be able to have puppies! He won’t be a man anymore!
His comments really got to me, and for awhile, I considered just letting Monja be and maybe even breeding him. I imagined the sickening adorableness that could be his puppies. I imagined them having his personality, face, and charm, so that even when Monja is no longer in my life, a part of him always will be.
Over the months, I’ve seen him become more of a little “man.” He is territorial, more burly, and a master at marking the entire neighborhood in pee with one quick rear-leg-lift. Neutering him now seems like the right thing to do, but I can’t help but feel like I’m letting go of something, too. It’s hard to put my finger on it…a possible personality change? The pain he might endure because of my decision? The reality that once Monja is gone, he’s gone?
I’ve mentioned before that my personality type, INFJ, is defined as “the protector.” I never quite understood this simple definition of myself, always relating more to the alternate title of “the counselor.” But ever since getting a dog, it makes complete sense. Perhaps I never realized how protective I am because I’ve hardly had any baby birds of my own to keep under my wings. Since moving to California, I’ve cried numerous times, but not for the reasons you might expect. The tearful moments that stand out most are when Monja ran out in the street or when I caught him with a bag stuck on his head (one of the lesser-known things that can kill corgis by suffocation). The point being that the longer Monja is in my life, the more extreme happiness and pain I feel from his presence. The pain stemming wholly from the fact that I feel my own heart diffusing slowly into him — reminding me that if he were ever to be harmed, it would leave a part of me permanently damaged. Perhaps it’s always the case in dealings of motherly love.
It may sound dramatic, and maybe it is, but as a “protector” I can’t differentiate between the importance of the things and people I feel driven to shield. As Monja’s caretaker, he has leapt to the top spot and I feel an unspoken duty to ensure he has the best life possible.
So how does this relate to my decision to get him neutered? Well, it feels like one of the first moments where I’m letting myself loosen my grip. While protecting him is a good thing, smothering him is not. I know that if I want to have other little babies one day — either human or covered in fur — I need to work on letting go, at least a little. Baby birds can’t fly if their wings are always being held down. I’ve only had Monja for eight months, but it’s baffling how much he’s taught me about life and myself since. I guess the best lessons often come in the oddest packages — in this case, with six-inch legs and satellite ears. Hey…I’ll take it. :)