Max, "The One Testicle Wonder" Trujillo has just sauntered into my waiting room. Like any pint-sized prizefighter with a Napoleon complex, Max has no idea he’s being made fun of. The lone testicle dangling between his hind legs has a way of stimulating conversation—and a few laughs.

Max is a Dachshund whose retained testicle was surgically removed, leaving the other to dangle conspicuously in solitude. A retained testicle is one that stays in the abdomen and refuses to make its way to the scrotal sac to hang with pride alongside its twin.

Most dogs with retained testicles are neutered (both testicles removed), as the retention is considered a detrimental, heritable trait. In other words, if left unneutered and allowed to breed, their offspring will be susceptible to this trait as well—and it`s not a quality we`d like to see propagated: It is considered a bad thing to leave these dogs with a sneaky, hidden testicle as these carry a much higher risk of cancer than their exposed counterpart.

The owners are convinced that even one, solitary testicle gives Max a certain "look" he would otherwise lack. If not the look then certainly the attitude…Max is, as they say, full of piss and vinegar—but only when you try to take away his toys.

Max’s credo (according to his owner):

If I’m chewing on it—it’s mine.

If I’ve ever chewed on it—it’s mine.

If I saw it first—it’s mine.

If I want it—it’s mine.

Max came to me one fine day when his previous veterinarian refused to remove only the retained testicle. She felt leaving the other in its rightful place would encourage Max to breed, passing on this detrimental trait to other Dachshunds. This would not be the case, Mrs. Trujillo asserted. He has no girlfriends, she assured me. She just did not want Max to "look funny or lose his manhood." (Whatever.)

After convincing me of her ability to keep him on a short leash, all the while expressing concern over the one potentially cancerous testicle in his abdomen, I resolved to remove the offender. After all, which is preferable? An intact dog with a testicle in his belly or an intact dog with no testicle in his belly? (Those were the only choices I was going to get.) I posit that the latter is the preferred condition.

As part of my discussion with Mrs. Trujillo, I attempted to convince her of the feasibility of inserting a silicone implant, a "Neuticle," so Max could retain the "look" of vigor without all the testosterone. She looked at me as if I had offered her a meal of fecal material. This option was not going to fly with the conservative Trujillo family.

Should Max be neutered? Yes. Does he deserve to risk cancer because his owners refuse lose the good testicle? I don’t think so. And so I half-neutered him.

Clearly, some veterinarians would refuse and I applaud them for their "this-is-not-Burger-King," approach to medicine. "Have it your way" does not work in my hospital either, but I`m convinced I made the right decision for Max.