I may have mentioned it before, or I may have not, but Astro is not our first dog. Sam’s first dog was a mongrel named Rajah (after Princess Jasmine’s pet tiger in Disney’s Aladdin) who cried incessantly probably because he was separated from his mother much too soon. Rajah died and we buried him in my grandmother’s garden.
Then, Speedy bought her a mini-pinscher whom I christened Poco. Poco will be 12 years old this year and he is still with us.
That’s Poco the mini pin in the photo.
There was another mongrel after him, a beautiful white dog named Jack who was “given” by Speedy’s sister, Ava. To explain the quotation marks, Jack stayed with us because my father-in-law was terminally ill and a puppy was too much work for everyone. Jack was a beauty and we later discovered that the dog should have been named Jackie. A she, not a he, and no one knew until Sam looked under the fur. But her good looks were her only asset. She was an incorrigible dog who ate the mail, the water and electric bills and just about anything within reach. She died during the construction of the kitchen wing. We suspected that one of the workers fed her with something bad despite strict instructions from us not to feed the dogs anything. Anyway…
When Poco was still a puppy, there were inevitable discussions about whether to have his ears cut. It’s something “traditional” with mini pinschers, especially those entered in dog shows. I objected. My father had a Doberman named Sadie whose ears were trimmed. I saw what the dog had to go through (oh, yes, it is still surgery with anesthesia) and the dog’s discomfort with the bandages and, well… to put it simply, I just felt that it was cruel. Cutting the ears, risking infection, and for what? To make a dog more showy?
I’m writing about it now because the same discussion cropped up recently with regard to Astro. It seems that ear-trimming is also the “done thing” with pit bulls. Astro is not my dog, the final decision is not going to be mine, but I still hope that Sam will think long and hard before making any decision.
The thing that goes inside my head is how humans extend their obsession with looks and image to their pets as with just about anything they own — cars, houses, clothes, jewelry… Cutting the dog’s ears will not give it character. Every dog has character and smaller ears or a shorter tail will not add to it. Just as the perfect nose or boob job, egg sized diamonds or designer clothes do not make one a better person.