Yep. That fateful day we all know is coming has almost arrived. He has to be dealt with—one way or another. Who knew it would be this hard?

I’m talking about Vincent, of course—my eleven month-old Frenchie. You know, the one who’s been feeling is oats a bit too energetically lately.

I heeded all your advice—consigning him to his crate at bedtime, “sit-stay-come” morning noon and night, more exercise—and things improved. No more sleepless nights with a protective Frenchie growling in my face as I lay groggily wondering whether to encourage or extinguish this behavior. Fewer unbrotherly outbursts at the sight of his sister’s attention-seeking behavior. And less of the doorway issues we all know ranks dogs by their ability to get out first.

It was going great!—until yesterday morning’s brawl at my parent’s house over who deserved to lick my breakfast plate. I knew better not to trigger their foodlust with soy sausage and eggs. But I acquiesced to the complacency that comes with a diligent week of progress. I f----- up.

So now I have to face the inevitable. The loss of two more testes bound for that great big red biohazard bag in the sky. Sadder, really, than it has cause to be given that castration should be a routine procedure for me.

Nonetheless, it represents something of a failure in my abilities as a veterinarian—one who has sought (and now failed) to forestall a neuter in favor of testosterone-driven palate expansion (he was a cleft palate pup, for those of you new to this saga).

Problem is, testosterone’s multiple variable effects have finally won the day—for now. Come next week—assuming I get a break in my schedule—Vincent will lose his battle to retain his testicles…and technology will finally beat out testosterone.

It has to be done. His dominance aggression in an inter-dog setting has gotten out of hand. His drive to inappropriately protect my doorway from all intruders, known or unknown, has accelerated. And I fear the worst as he moves towards his second year of maturity, still a whole thirteen months away from social development.

Truth is, I want a more relaxed dog more than I want an optimized hard palate. Nonetheless, it’s been harder than I thought to divorce him of the most obvious source of his dominant behavior—for me. It doesn’t help that his nine year-old human brother is tearfully opposed to his surgery (not that he has much of a choice in the matter, it just makes it that much more difficult to schedule the deed). I guess kids, like dogs, have a way of picking up on our own emotions.

So what’s the drama all about anyway? Have I turned into one of those testosterone-driven testicle-huggers I write about? You know the kind—the paragon of macho maledom who opposes the procedure on principle with nary a consideration for his children’s safety (should the dog be child-aggressive) and even less for his dog’s health (should his prostate take on near-explosive proportions). Or is my fear of surgery on my own pets’ behalf taking on a new dimension? After all, I’m sure my boyfriend will neuter him if I ask him to.

Who knows? One thing’s for sure, though… Having complete control over the decision and the date and time makes it that much harder to get it done. Sometimes it’s just easier not to be the vet.