Kids Ask the Darndest Questions

The alternate title for this piece could have been Belle Loses Her Footing on the Slippery Slope of Sex Education.

Last week Cajun and I had a therapy dog visit at the children’s unit of a local facility. An energetic group of boys, seven to ten-ish, gathered in a circle around a very compliant canine. We talked about labrador retrievers, how a dog uses her tail to communicate, the purpose of whiskers. Then one boy asked how many puppies Cajun had had. The rest of the conversation, getting slipperier and slipperier as it progressed, went like this:

Me: “She’s never had puppies.”

Boy #1: “Why not?”

Me: “Because she she can’t have them.”

Boy #1: “Why not?”

Me: “Because she’s been spayed.”

Boy #2: “What’s ‘spayed’?”

Me : “Well, because there are so many unwanted puppies, veterinarians perform a kind of surgery on female dogs so they can’t have puppies. Male dogs are neutered. (TMI! TMI!)

Boy #3: “What’s ‘neutered’?”

Me (uh oh): “That’s when the doctor removes a dog’s testicles.” (Did I just say ‘testicles’ in a room full of little boys???)

Boy#2: “What are testicles?”

Me (oh no! oh no!):”Well . . .well . . .testicles are your balls.”

Suddenly the room is very very silent. About ten seconds elapse in group contemplation of this information. Then, finally:

Boy #2: “Does it hurt?”

I assure him it is painless and hurryhurryhurry on to a new topic.

One doesn’t get briefed on sex ed issues in therapy dog school, a fact I plan to bring up with the administrators as soon as I stop blushing.

— Belle Songer

3 thoughts on “Kids Ask the Darndest Questions

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