A journalist-acquaintance recently accosted me with an unwelcome conversation on the merits of my sideline writing. “And yet,” she lamented, “how unfortunate that your topic of choice isn’t more juicy—marketable, you know?”

“But then again,” she pressed on, “how sweet to tell such wonderful stories (not a one she’s ever read, I’m sure). It must make it easier for you to sleep at night.”

After what? I wondered, as if I spent my days working the chute at the puppy mill or killing kittens indiscriminately via gas chamber. I mean, my work is not so vexing that I need to tell syrupy stories to expunge my conscience of its cruel contents, right?

Instead, I have to conclude she was alluding to the evils of shock journalism and how squeaky clean my brain must be if I can stomach the boredom of pet writing—compared to her brand of highly salable celebrity filth, no doubt.

Anyway, just to prove her wrong I thought I’d write something more Cosmo and less Dolittler, for a change. After all, girl pets have their issues and this is one salacious subject (according to a female vet surgeon I met a few months back—who, by the way, is reportedly the canine “vaginal rejuvenation” queen of the Southeast).

No, we really don’t do cosmetic vulvoplasties in dogs, as is [inexplicably] all the rage in certain communities of women (where, I have to assume, money has no substance and life beyond the $100 pedicure has minimal meaning).

“Vaginal rejuvenation,” they call it. This euphemistic expression applies to the seemingly frivolous human interest in a trim and tucked hoo-hoo (not a medical term, I know, but I throw it out there for your amusement nonetheless).

So you know, the human version of this surgery is generally reserved as a post-partum experience which, I’m told, makes C-sections an absolute godsend for the lucky women whose nether-regions aren’t blighted by the “horrors” of the birthing process.

Interestingly, dogs have the opposite problem to contend with. The more juvenile and inverted their vulvar folds, the likelier they are to suffer peri-vulvar infections, vaginitis and/or recurrent urinary tract infections (the triumvirate sequelae of a so-called “hypoplastic” [small or recessed] vulva).

Early spays were once considered the likely reason for such babyish vulvas in adult dogs but that view has now gone out of favor. It seems some female dogs are simply genetically predisposed to tiny privates. Add in some excess weight (which our dogs are increasingly wont to do) and the folds that surround the vulva can overshadow the orifice in potentially pathological ways.

Allergies can also play a role: any irritated skin is, by definition, laced with bacteria ready for a full-frontal assault on its adjacent structures—namely, the vulva, vagina and urethra.

If post-pee baby wipes and/or frequent assiduous cleansing of the area (with a mild disinfectant solution) don’t prevent nasty, recurrent infections, (assuming allergies have been controlled, when possible) surgery is typically recommended.

Vet surgeons (I recommend a board-certified specialist, as this is one of those surgeries that’s easy to do but hard to do well) will remove and/or reconstruct the surrounding tissues to expose the vulva, lending it a more natural configuration. Pictures, please?!

Before:

Immediately after:

So there you have it: A nip and tuck story in reverse. (Sorry for the yucky pics.)

Though we may giggle at the scandal of it all (and I’ll enjoy my jab at my acquaintance’s underhanded compliments), I’ll bet you an office call this post gets more Web traffic than anything else I’ve written this month.