It’s one of those words that makes a lot of people roll their eyes, snicker, or reflexively cross their legs. The word is……………
The concept of cosmetic artificial testicles mystifies most dog fanciers whose dogs must be intact to enter a conformation ring, but if age, retirement, illness, or something else calls for those pelotas to be removed, the average (and in our view, serious) dog person has them removed, and when they’re gone, they’re gone, and it’s all good.
That wasn’t good enough for Greg Miller, It was his Bloodhound, “Buck” who inspired Greg to come up with fake, um, balls.
There. We said it.
In what we can only suspect is a “guy thing, ” early on, Miller refused to neuter Buck, not wanting to put the dog (or himself) through the ordeal. When Buck went missing one day, however, things changed. “It was the most hideous four days of my life,” Miller later said. He never wanted to go through it again, and had Buck “altered.”
One of the two didn’t like the look of the New Buck. Miller asked his veterinarian if there was such a thing as canine testicle implants, “so Buck can maintain his God-given natural look.” He was told by the vet that was “the craziest damn thing I’ve ever heard of.”
Still, when Buck bent in half to clean his nether regions, he would look back up at his owner as if to say, “THEY’RE GONE, WHAT HAPPENED?”
Miller persuaded a group of 32 local investors to spend over $100,000 to develop fake testicles he called, “Neuticles.” Miller maxed out his credit cards, then maxed out the mortgage on his house to come up with a prototype. The subsequent prototype was tested on 30 different pets without any problems, save one, but Miller’s parents still thought their son was nuts. On December 20, 1995 the first commercially “Neuticled” canine was performed on a nine month old Rottweiler named “Max” owned by Independence, MO Police Officer Mike Pyle.
As for that one little problem? It turned out that dogs with neuticles made a “clunking” sound when they walked or sat down. Solid silicone eventually solved the problem, but until that day, one can only imagine the conversation in the room when the dog walked in with his own sound effects. “What’s that sound??” the future mother in law says.
So how did Miller sell the idea? US Patent 5868240 read: “While recognizing that responsible pet ownership requires neutering, nonetheless, many pet owners find themselves uncomfortable with such a disfiguring procedure. The permanently altered appearance of their pet serves as a constant reminder of their surgical choice. Comments by strangers who misidentify the gender of the pet may serve to exacerbate this discomfort.”
In the end, the concept earned Miller the Ig Nobel Prize (and yes, that’s a parody of the Nobel Prize), and it all began with Buck’s inclination to wander. To cut short Buck’s version of panty raids, Miller removed the problem. Um, a pair of problems.
The U.S Patent and Trademark Office bought it.
The first commercial silicone implant was called “Neuticles” and was implanted in 1995. One of the first celebrity clients were the Kardashians who bought a pair for their dog, “Rocky.” That success lead to the fact today, Neuticles come in 11 different sizes to fit a variety of pets.
If this is making you snicker, it made Miller laugh, too. All the way to the bank. The average pair costs $310, but some cost a lot more, like the $2,800 watermelon-sized custom set Miller had made for an elephant in a zoo. As of 2018, Miller says he’s sold over 500,000 sets of Neuticles. You do the math.
Buck the Bloodhound died several years ago, and these days, a Bulldog named “Humphrey,” is Miller’s canine companion. And yes, Humphrey has been neutered and implanted with Neuticles.
So – are Neuticals really nutty?
According to a National Institute of Health clinical study, when male dogs lose their testicles, abnormal testosterone levels can affect their dominant behavior – but does it impact their male owners more?
There are those who believe that neutering a dog leaves more of a psychological impact on male dog owners than on the dog. They might not say it out loud, but some guys think neutering makes their dog less manly or masculine. For them, the Neuticles slogan, “It’s like nothing ever changed,” is music to their ears.
That said, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the regulatory body for veterinarians in the UK, states that the use of any form of cosmetic surgery is unethical, and the Veterinary Council of New Zealand agrees by stating, “The insertion of neuticles (prosthetic testicles) cannot be justified. This procedure has no benefit to the animal and can be used to conceal genetic defects.”
So, what say you?
Image of “Rocky Kardashian,” with Kim Kardashian found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information