My first call today was a simple one. Go neuter a 2 month old pygmy goat for a new client. That is an awesomely easy start to any day. Got the farm, introduced myself to the client and met George the Goat who was getting a bit too familiar with his sister. Everything was completely fine and routine. George was sleeping peacefully with no idea what was about to happen and I was about to begin the procedure when his owner said, "Now you're going to think I'm crazy but... I need you to save the testicles for me."
I haven't had a single person ask me to save testicles since I left southwest Virginia and I've been quite happy about that. But, she said the magic word so I carefully replied, "Okay, that's not a problem... any particular reason?"
"Well, I know you're going to think I'm crazy but I save them until the animal dies, then bury them with the rest of the body. I've always done that for my animals. You can just wrap them in a glove for me and I'll take them to get cleaned up and put in their special bag."
I took a slight pause, which I felt was reasonable under the circumstances. Then I replied, "Alright, that's an easy enough thing for me to do." And she kept talking, and it just got better.
"When the power goes out there is always a bit of a frenzy... you know, save the balls! It's a priority in this house."
Naturally, I had a LOT of questions, NONE of which were appropriate to ask a woman I had known for less than 15 minutes in a professional capacity. In no particular order...
- Are you shitting me?
- How many sets do you have?
- Do you realize that horses can live for over 30 years? Goats over 15?
- Do your family and friends know you have testicles in your freezer?
- How do you plan to explain this to your children?
- What exactly is the special bag?
- What if the power goes out when you are on vacation? Do your farm/house sitters have instructions?
- Is freezer burn a problem?
- Where exactly in the freezer to you keep them? Hidden in the back? Tucked in the door? Front and center like a shrine?
- Do you thaw them out before burial?
- Have you ever forgotten to throw them in the hole and have to dig again?
- Do you have the pieces of your female animals too?
- What have your other vets had to say about this?
In the end I stuck with just one, pertinent question. I began the procedure and after I cut off the bottom of the scrotum, I held it up for her to see and asked, "Do you need this part too?"
She replied, "No no, only the parts he would care about, but thanks for asking!"