Chili came to us from the West Coast as a pup—special ordered just for me! He has been a dream dog, maturing into a real macho-type dog, just what a Malinois ought to be
We live far out in the country, off the main roads, so I have always let my dogs run free. It seems to me a dream life for a dog—plenty to sniff at, room to run, and a warm, dry bed next to Mom’s each night, not to mention plenty of food in the dish. There is little danger of them being hit by a car, and there has never been any problem whatsoever with them running off. Until recently.
About six weeks ago Chili was not at home when I got home…strange. The routine was entrenched: Dogs go out the door when I leave for work, they trot down the driveway to MIL’s and spend the day with her, going in and out at whim (she spoils them rotten). Chili was always outside when I turned the corner into our drive, waiting to greet me at MIL’s house. Not that day.
In fact, he did not show up all night. Next morning I was pretty upset but decided that I was premature to put out an APB. I did call a few neighbors asking to keep an eye out. I went on to work. That night, still no Chili. I dutifully printed off “Wanted” posters, offering a reward…anything to get him back. (this is hyperbole, of course). As I left for work the next morning, Chili was dragging in…and I do mean dragging. He was starved and exhausted. Clearly he had been up to no good.
I did the “Whew!” and decided this would surely not be repeated. Wrong! The next week he disappeared for three days, this time showing up at MIL’s house and looking pretty bad. He was losing weight.
I kept a closer eye on him, but after a few days home, he slipped away from me and was gone four days. I was in a dilemma. I had no fenced yard except for the back yard, which is the domain of the cat, Sasha (Chili has always had suspect motives when it comes to Sasha). She is not an inside cat, and I could not see displacing her….I mulled it over. Things settled down and I went on the cruise.
While I was gone, Chili disappeared again on Thursday and on Saturday, when I returned home, he was still gone. He re-appeared the next day, even thinner. He slept and slept and slept…”knackered,” my son called it. I think he called it right.
Ice and snow set in. Surely this would keep him home…Wrong again. He left last Monday and was gone until early Thursday morning. When I got up to make coffee, there he was at the laundry room door. He looked totally emaciated. So bad that I was alarmed; it seemed to me that there was more wrong that just being exhausted. My son carted him to the veterinarian for a physical and for advice for me.
Dr. P called me at the office: “There’s nothing wrong with Chili except chasing women,” he said.
I protested: “Surely he could not lose this much weight in so short a period of time without something being really wrong!”
“Nope. They’ll give up everything—drive themselves to ruin—for sex,” he said. “I’ve seen ‘em tear their hides up gettin’ through fences for sex. Unless you want to fence him, you’d better neuter him….”
So, I gave the word. Chili has now been, shall we say “altered” (my son has forbidden me from using the word “fixed,” declaring that it is just wrong). We’re hoping that this will keep him closer to home, and the vet pretty much promises it will after the couple months it takes to clear his system of the hormones that make him so wacky.
And, sardonic person that I have grown to be, my mind turned to other males who have driven themselves to ruin or, at least, humiliation and pain for their families over this issue. These guys, too, risked much, scrambling foolishly for “illicit adventure.” Some of them are familiar to you….
Now, if only the solution for them was as easy is it was for me to do for Chili…I’m just sayin’…C
PS - Ooopsie!! V just reminded me I left an obvious one off the list: