I’ve made light of people who get too much cosmetic surgery, so the idea of putting my own dog under the knife seemed completely out of the question. But two years into owning Buddy, our German Shepherd/hound rescue dog, I noticed that his appearance had changed somehow. He wasn’t the cute, curious looking dog he once was. No, age had not been his friend.
Oh sure, sometimes he’d perk up his ears and look adorable again, but then a moment later he’d look old and worried, and it was all because his ears had folded back down to the side of his head. Whenever his ears folded down, he became less attractive, and it made me sad. I hated feeling that way.
I tried various tricks to perk up his ears and restore his happy face. I’d squeak a toy or talk in a high-pitched voice. This would make us both happy, temporarily. But then moments later his ears would lie back down again and the sadness would return. My emotions were in constant turmoil, and frankly, it was exhausting. I realized I couldn’t go on living like this anymore. I needed relief.
So then it occurred to me that if Buddy’s ears could be surgically altered so that they’d permanently be in the alert “happy” position, then I could be happy all the time. I checked with a local veterinarian and it turned out there was a surgery that could fix Buddy’s problem once and for all. Unfortunately, it was very expensive.
I was ready to give up the idea, but then on the way home from the vet’s office I saw some children operating a lemonade-stand. I had one of those light bulb moments. I ran inside and told my kids that Buddy desperately needed surgery, but that we didn’t have the money to pay for it. Then I sent them down to the local pet store in their oldest Abercrombie t-shirts and torn Fred Segal jeans. I gave them a table, a sign featuring a cute picture of Buddy, and a very large collection bucket. All my kids had to do was stand there and let their inherent cuteness do the rest.
Only three eight-hour shifts later, my children had collected enough money to pay for Buddy’s operation. The veterinarian was able to work his magic and after a few weeks of painful healing, Buddy looked great! His permanent, happy-go-lucky expression improved my mood dramatically. In fact, I think I read somewhere that cosmetic surgery can actually work better than anti-depressants. Well, it certainly worked for me!
Soon after Buddy’s recovery however, I noticed that the expression of his eyes didn’t always match his happy, alert ears. It was somewhat disturbing – almost like the job was only halfway done. His eyes needed to be more puppy-like and curious too. Turned out there was a surgery for that, and my kids were happy to pitch in again working the crowds at the pet stores. (It’s a good thing we have lots of pet stores in our area.)
So now Buddy is just perfect. He always looks young and curious. Though sometimes, when I look at his alert, happy face, it doesn’t feel genuine. It’s like there’s a sadness beneath his eyes.
I’ve found myself wondering: did I go too far? Is it possible that Buddy didn’t want these surgeries and I was alone in my quest for canine perfection?
Or, maybe, Buddy is embarrassed by his crooked front teeth? It seems like he very rarely shows them. Maybe if they were a little straighter, then we would both be truly happy.
I think I owe it to Buddy to find him a good doggie orthodontist.