Today is one of our punishment days. Mrs. Lion has informed me that I will get a “just because” spanking tonight. We’ve both written a lot about them lately. It is similar to maintenance spankings. However, the idea behind ours is a bit different. In addition to reminding me how unpleasant punishment is, it also allows Mrs. Lion to get used to the idea that spanking me for offenses not clearly defined is acceptable.

She is a very strict spanker. I’m sure that you’ve seen pictures of my blistered butt after she punishes me. Mrs. Lion has trouble doing this for anything other than breaking a simple rule. The “just because” spanking will happen whether or not I’ve been naughty. The idea is that it is no extra trouble to repurpose it to cover interrupting her or some other annoying behavior. Since I would be spanked anyway, she doesn’t have to worry that she is unfair. The idea is to help her expand her disciplinary horizons to include more personal offenses.

Mrs. Lion has mastered rule violations. She doesn’t blink an eye about punishing me for not setting up the coffee pot, eating first, or spilling on my shirt. Hopefully, the “just because” spankings will be what she needs to expand to things that annoy her. When I break a rule, she doesn’t scold me. She smiles and sometimes reminds me of what I did. The entire process is unemotional. There is nothing I can do to prevent the spanking. I don’t even try.

Tonight my bottom will be blistered again. I’m not looking forward to it. So far, the “just because” spanking has no offenses attached to it. At least, I don’t know of any. I’m sure Mrs. Lion will tell me if I’m wrong. Did I interrupt you, sweetie?

Willow after playing under the garden hose.

don’t spay or neuter!

We are both sad and excited that Willow will be with us tomorrow. I signed her up for health insurance. This is a very important thing for pet owners to do. It isn’t cheap but can mean the difference between life and death for a pet. Daisy’s medical costs exceeded our premiums for years. Her final hospital stay was almost $3,000. We paid less than $500. I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have the policy. We use Trupanion. They aren’t the cheapest, but if our experience is the same for others, it’s the best. We had zero deductible and 90% payment. It covered everything but vaccinations and initial medical consultations. We are very satisfied customers.

I know this isn’t a pet owner’s blog. I am concerned that there is so much bad information out there for pet owners. The worst advice comes from people who should know better, like celebrities and pet shelters. They insist that controlling the pet population requires spaying and neutering all dogs and cats. The truth is that in Europe, where almost no one neuters, there is no population problem. As I’ve discovered, neutering at any age creates serious health risks for the animal.

There isn’t any research on doing less invasive sterilization procedures like hysterectomy or tubal ligation. However, there is good evidence that these methods prevent the horrible problems that traditional methods created. Our wonderful dog suffered horribly because we spayed her at six months. We didn’t know that her hips and knees would fail to develop properly. We trusted Drew Cary and the ASPCA and followed their advice. Never again.

The safest route for dogs and cats is vasectomy for males and tubal ligation for females. These procedures leave everything intact. I was fixed that way, and I’m fine. The downside is that the pets will go into heat and try to have sex. They will behave the same as intact animals. We will probably have Willow get a hysterectomy. This is more radical but leaves her ovaries intact. She will probably get the same benefits as an intact dog. We chose this because it will protect her from uterine cancer, a disease that afflicts over 10% of female golden retrievers. She will still go into heat but won’t bleed. Her behavior will not be affected.

Male dog behavior indeed changes if his balls are cut off. Some pet owners do this to calm the animal down. Unfortunately, the dog will also be subject to joint problems. Vasectomy is the best idea in terms of his overall health.

The United States is the only country in the world that promotes radical neutering of pets. It’s time to recognize that dogs and cats are sexual beings just like us. Neutering is convenient for pet owners but ultimately dangerous for our pets. I wish I knew this eight years ago when we took Daisy home.