Pointless euphemisms bother me for all the reasons that George Orwell, in his classic essay “Politics and the English Language” despised them: they are obfuscations, and, as often as not, intended to cover up something beastly. Whatever else they may be, they are definitely there to stop listeners from facing reality. (If you haven’t read Orwell’s essay, go read it first. It’s far better than anything we’ll ever write.) Enter Neuticles, prosthetic testicles for neutered (dare I say “altered”?—nah, “castrated”) pets.

It is a silicone implantable euphemism.

When I showed this web page to my roommate, her first reaction was “This must be a joke.” Upon being assured that, these are the real, well fake, deal, she said “Who is this really for?” It seems that some owners—unable to own up to the fact that they’ve had Fido’s doghood docked—won’t do the right thing. (Does anyone actually name a dog Fido?) According to the company’s web page, various organizations like the ASPCA support the use of Neuticles. I’m sure the ASPCA’s position is really: If you feel so squeamish about doing the right thing for the animal for which you have taken responsibility, by all means spend some extra $$$ to alleviate your misplaced guilt. I understand because I do feel a bit squeamish (most people do), but I would still take Fido to the vet to be neutered (sans Neuticles). It’s the right thing to do for all sorts of reasons. But I also think that it’s important not to be a moral coward and to face squarely just what you have had done to Fido for his own good.

Their tag line is “It’s like nothing ever changed.” I have my doubts. You see, first of all I don’t buy that a young animal knows all that much after he’s had his doghood, cathood, etc., removed, though I’m sure he wasn’t too happy to have to go to surgery. Neutering is traumatic because it’s surgery, and Neuticles won’t change that fact one bit. He’s just not that smart and thinking that he somehow misses their absence is engaging in crass anthropomorphizing. And you are making fundamental behavioral changes, which is the entire point: Fido won’t be interested in Fidette anymore, and he’s not going to be doing all the nasty stuff around the house that a dog filled with testosterone will do to get at Fidette. Some of the comments seemed to indicate that neutering was somehow “messing with God’s plan.” Big duh. Of course you are messing with God’s plan, because God’s plan said good old Fido should have a built-in source of testosterone and spermbank so he can propagate the canine species. (Freely replace “God’s plan” with “evolution” if you’re so inclined.) Putting lumps of silicone in an empty scrotum to fool yourself doesn’t change that fact. You haven’t really done anything, but you sure gentled Fido down by removing his source of testosterone and the little swimmers of doggie DNA that testosterone is telling him to spread. (They don’t do vasectomies for pets. What’s the point?) You can buy the low end model for under $100 but surely Fido deserves only the best, and thus needs to have the “ultra” model complete with fake epididymis that costs quite a bit more. As if he, or you, could tell, unless you gave Fido a testicular examination. Do not read me wrong. I think that cosmetic surgery is often justified. For instance, a woman getting reconstruction after breast cancer surgery makes sense to me and I’m libertarian enough to believe people should be able to make up their own minds about it. Perception is an important part of experienced reality. I don’t even think Neuticles is wrong. In the big picture of odd things people do, it’s pretty small beer. It’s not wrong. No, it’s pathetic.

You know how I know this is for Fido’s owner (who is probably a somewhat neurotic male with that age-old Freudian fear of castration), not Fido: Fidette doesn’t get the benefit of silicone teat implants.

Want more? Watch this Penn and Teller video.

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