April 17, 2010Marianne has an old "Far Side" cartoon on the bulletin board by her desk. Now, I like to think that I have a pretty well-developed sense of humor, and ordinarily I think Gary Larson is a genius, but until yesterday, I didn't really understand this particular comic. Now that I understand it, I REALLY don't think it's funny. Not. One. Bit.Marianne was on the phone with another puppy raiser. I was mostly asleep until I heard my name. Marianne said "Yes, Mars is going to see Dr. Vicksman this week to get tutored."When she hung up I crawled out from under the desk and stretched, then put my head in her lap for a pat. "Why am I going to see Dr. Vicksman?" I yawned. "You said he was going to tutor me, but Amy is our puppy class teacher. Is Dr. V. teaching CCI classes now?"Marianne gently rubbed my ears. "Um, no, Dr. Vicksman is not actually going to tutor you." She reached over and pulled the cartoon off the bulletin board. "I was repeating the punchline in this cartoon."In the Far Side cartoon, one dog is wagging his tail as he leans out a car window. He's talking to another dog who is sitting on the lawn. The caption reads, "Ha ha ha, Biff. Guess what? After we go to the drug store and the post office, I'm going to the vet's to get tutored!"I shook my head. "I don't get it," I said."It's a play on words," Marianne explained. "The dog misunderstood his human, who actually said the dog was going to the vet to get neutered, not tutored."I re-read the caption. "Oh, now I get it," I snickered. "Yeah, OK, I see why that's funny." I started to crawl under the desk to go back to my nap when it hit me."Hold it! Wait just a kibble-crunching minute!" I exclaimed. "You said I was going to the vet to get tutored but you meant NEUTERED, didn't you?" I stared at Marianne in horror. "I don't feel well," I moaned, putting my head between my paws."Oh, Mars, I'm sorry," Marianne apologized. "I should have told you sooner. Don't panic." She scooped me into her lap. "Ooof," she said. "Jeez, you're huge! How much do you weigh now?""Around 60 pounds and don't try to change the subject," I snapped. "I want an explanation! Ross didn't have to get neutered, so why do I?"Marianne sighed. "Because Ross was a candidate for the breeding program and you're not. Dr. Ruth Daniels, our CCI breeding program veterinarian, determines which puppies are possible candidates for the breeding program, even before they go to their puppy raisers. Your paperwork says 'Neuter at six months.'""I'm still not happy," I huffed.Marianne rubbed my tummy. "I know, but the surgery is very quick and by the next day you'll feel just fine."I twisted my head around to stare at her. "The NEXT day? What about Wednesday? How am I going to feel on Wednesday?"I had a feeling I wasn't going to like the answer.Marianne kissed my nose and said, "You won't feel anything during the surgery, but you'll probably be a little woozy afterwards from the anesthetic. Your incision may be a little painful but Dr. Vicksman will give you some medication that will help.""My INCISION?" I wailed. "This is worse than I thought!""Now you're just being dramatic," Marianne said, and abruptly set me back down on the floor. "Look, your friend Calhoun had the surgery last month and he was fine, wasn't he?""Yeah, I guess so," I said slowly. "I don't think he mentioned it, actually."Marianne briskly patted my head. "There you go. He was back in class and playing with you and the other pups and you didn't even know he'd had the surgery. You'll be just fine."She turned back to her computer and started typing, then stopped. "Oh, there is one other thing I should tell you."I waited. More bad news."Brace yourself, Mars. You won't get breakfast on Wednesday morning," Marianne said.I gasped. "But WHY? I'll be hungry, I'm always starving we we get up in the morning! You know that! No food AND surgery?" I whimpered softly."Again with the drama," Marianne said, rolling her eyes. "Look, it's not safe for you to have food before surgery. It's the same for humans. I promise you'll have dinner on Wednesday.""Can I have something special? And extra food since I won't get breakfast? And a treat before bedtime?" I wheedled.Marianne laughed. "Yes, you can have something special AND a little extra AND a cookie before bed, if you really are hungry Wednesday night."IF I'M HUNGRY? Oh dear dog.Chow for now!MarsQuestions or comments for Mars? Would you like to be notified when Mars updates his DogBlog? Send him an e-mail!Would you like more information about Canine Companions for Independence or perhaps be a puppy raiser? Call 1-800-572-BARK or go to CCI for details.