Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sign a Petition for Canine Circumcision

By Dino Dogan 

I have another treat for you from Dino Dogan, So brace yourself and enjoy!
All of my knowledge comes from the second-hand, hand me down, used clothing store.
All the knowledge we have is akin to wearing used clothes. It’s not ours; it’s only been handed down to us.
Every now and again I try to think of something that I’ve learned that was brand new. Alas, there isn’t a thing.

Second-hand knowledge isn’t so bad I guess. It’s a very efficient and effective way of transmitting information. Its how I’ve learned math, writing, geography…and some of that stuff I still remember.

Very little of what we learn is school we actually retain. The content dissipates (what year did Columbus “discover” America) and what remains is the structure (reverence for authority for example).

What really scares me is the amount of information that I’ve had to unlearn.

There is a huge amount of false knowledge (call it belief, pre-conceived notions, whatever) that was imparted on our young brains and therefore wasn’t questioned. It entered our blood stream and stayed there to this day. For example. Did you know that the lightning shoots up, not down?
That little tid bit seams mighty interesting to me, and yet, I don’t remember a single teacher, parent, community or religious leader, mentioning it. Ever.

If we are oblivious to this type of basic information, what else did we miss-learn? What else do we need to unlearn?

Growing up, I took it for granted that certain mutilation practices are acceptable. There are many we can all think of (from ear piercings to breast implants) but there is a particular type I want to focus on in this post.

The type of mutilation we impart on others without their consent.

One such mutilation that western societies engage in routinely is circumcision.

I grew up accepting that this is “normal” until I took an intentional and systematic step towards unlearning.

Can you think of something that your teachers (or parents) have told you that turned out to be down-right wrong?

What are the common beliefs regarding circumcision?
  1. Circumcision=Cleanliness

    Many hundreds of years ago when circumcision was instituted by religious orders, this might have been true. These days however, we have regular and guaranteed access to daily baths which takes the cleanliness argument out of the equation.

  2. The Aesthetics: Circumcised penis looks better

    Over the last 10+ years I’ve conducted informal studies and asked many females to guess if a penis is circumcised or not. Not one got it right.What’s really interesting is that every single female that took part in these studies was confident that she would be able to tell.

  3. The third reason people choose to circumcise their baby boy is religious.

    I really can’t argue against this. Religious rituals are expected to have a degree of obtuseness and those who practice don’t expect to know or understand why they are doing what they are doing. Understanding is not a requirement, only complying.
Note: In Judaism, there is even a word for laws that are to be observed and not understood. Chukkim.
I will only say that there are many religious rituals that were practiced in the past and are now obsolete. So I don’t see why circumcision couldn’t be one of those.

Why are we doing away with some religious rituals and not others?

So far, I’ve presented reasons why people do it. I will now present why NOT to do it.
  1. After a circumcision, babies go into an anaphylactic shock (unable to breath). Most likely this is caused by the extreme pain though some actually argue this point.

  2. Sometimes circumcision is performed by a distracted or ill prepared individual and they cut off too much.

  3. In some religious ceremonies, the circumcision is performed by biting (yes, biting) the foreskin. This has been known to cause infections and there are even cases of STDs that were spread to the baby in this manner.

  4. Decrease in pleasure for the male, and  consequently (I would say) for female
Whatever Dino. You are full of shit and I can prove it. (I imagine some of you are saying)

If circumcision is unnecessary and carries all these risks, why are hospitals doing it? And why are doctors routinely recommending circumcision?

That’s a fair point and I will address it now.
  1. Doctors have a long history of being wrong

  2. Medical industry is a business of the worst sort and hospitals charge $600.00 (on average) for this procedure.
As far as I can tell, the only benefit of circumcision goes to the hospital.

At this point I would like to say that I am sorry.

I imagine that some people reading this will have a strong reaction and might feel the impulse to argue some of these points.

Before you do, I would like to ask you if you have someone in your life (a child perhaps, baby brother, etc) that you are responsible for and that is circumcised because of you.

If that’s the case, your emotional reaction is a natural protection mechanism against being wrong and feeling guilty about it. And for that I am sorry.

My only advice is to accept it, apologize to your child and move on.

Let’s get to dogs, shall we?

What does this have to do with dogs?

Unfortunately, the type of mutilation we are discussing (the kind we impart on others without their consent) is all too relevant to dogs.

We crop their ears and dock their tails in order to make them conform to some made-up standard we ill-conceived in our heads long time ago.

Some will offer a “rational explanation” like “docking the tail prevents it from being broken”.

To that I would say that docking the tail guarantees it’s going to be broken (or cut off, but I don’t think the dog cares for the distinction).

Alas, that’s only rationalization talking and if done by someone with an air of authority we would be all too happy to accept it as gospel.

It’s not easy saying “I’ve been wrong all these years” but it’s a precursor to growth. So I would like to say I’m sorry dogs. I’m sorry for mutilating you for all these years and even more sorry for creating breeds that have health problems and genetic defects as part of their design.

I know it wasn’t me personally who did that to you but I am sorry.

On behalf of all humans, I am sorry.


Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, biker, dog trainer, singer/songwriter, Martial Artist. Currently working on Human-Dog Problem Tree; a thesis in human-dog relationship. Check out Dino's great blog at Dogan Dogs Video Blogs, or connect with Dino on Twitter or Facebook.


  1. Thnx for posting this Jana...I haven't read this article since I wrote it and after re-reading it Im really happy with the way it came out....

    I love being on your blog and thank you for this idea :-)

  2. I've had sex with a lot of guys. I'm neither particularly proud or ashamed of it; it's just a fact. Did I notice whether they were circumcised when we had intercourse? No. Did I notice during oral sex? Hell yes. Smegma exists. And it's gross.

    I'm sorry about the dogs though.

  3. Thank you for writing it! Sorry it took a while, had other things scheduled to go first.

    I always love posting your articles! :-)

  4. Dear Edie

    LOL I'd have to agree with you. Good hygiene helps though.

  5. @Edie....I love how candid you were in your comment....oh, and btw...ewww lol

  6. Yes, good hygiene always helps! How many guys take a q-tip to their private parts though? It's kind of like taking care of a Shar-pei...

    (Sorry... I'm having one of those silly days.)

  7. I find it helps to start foreplay in a shower :P
    Hey! This is a DOG BLOG! LOL

  8. I'm thinking of a Czech comedian. (regarding the article, not this convo)

    The 3 important jobs of parenthood:
    1) get the kid in a school
    2) get the kid out of a school
    3) get the school out of the kid

  9. @Edie you made me LOL for real real :-) with your "It's kind of like taking care of a Shar-pei" Hi-larious

  10. It is a shame what humans do to other humans and animals for the sake of conformity, tradition, false beliefs that have not yet been unlearned, etc.

    PS: Edie, too bad about the guy who never learned proper hygiene. I, and many other men, learned how to wash and keep it fresh. A Q-tip is not necessary. :)

  11. I for one would like to say that Catholic school did nothing good for me. Although, the unlearning wasn't so bad because I thought they were full of shit anyway. (No offense to the religious - it was the people running the show, not the religion, that I had a problem with.)

    On that same note...having grown up a Catholic school girl... I am so glad no one can see my face right now. But. I. Had to. Uhm. Look up what a circumcision was. I could have made it easy for myself and just read the blog - Dino does mention what it is after all. But I just stared at the title for a minute going. What. Is. That? So, because I felt stupid, I looked it up before reading.

    I didn't want to know.
    I did not want to know.
    I did not want to know.
    (And why do I feel like I'm 12 and not 22?)

    Oh, but I totally knew the lightening thing! I've always found that fascinating!

    @Edie. I adore you; you are hilarious. I am so sorry about that experience though. Eeeeewwwww x10.

    @Dino. I am proud to say that my mostly tail-less Australian Shepherd was born mostly tail-less and was not subjected to docking.

    I feel slightly corrupted as opposed to enlightened.
    Don't Google circumcision. Just ... don't. I just wanted the wiki. =[ Pictures came too....

  12. JJ, LOL.

    Now you're making me feel old!
    My ex bf was circumcised.

    Anyway, hm, THIS IS A DOG BLOG! LOL

  13. um...back to ears and tails...I agree with you Dino! :D

  14. Dear Dr. Shawn

    Actually the topic was slightly different when I conceived the idea, but it took a life on its own.

  15. Just a medical point here and not for the dogs though - even though this is a dog blog :-)

    Babies do not go into anaphylactic shock when circumcised. An anaphylactic reaction is when your bodies immune system reacts so rapidly to an allergen that your body starts to shut down. It is the reason people that are allergic to bees carry an Epi-Pen to inject epinephrine to stop the reaction, so they will breathe.

    Now babies might go into just plain shock due to the pain but it is not the same shock that you and I would go into. Babies response to pain is slightly different and something so painful that might cause a life threatening shock (such as cutting off the tip of your penis) for us does not do so in babies.

    The other points are valid including smegma is gross. :-)

  16. In babies, its called Hypovolemic Shock. The symptoms are inability to breath which is why its common to call it anaphylactic shock (while I'll grant you slightly inaccurate).

    The point is that babies experience loss of blood, extreme pain, infection, gasping, etc.

    Btw...I see no difference between this and ear cropping and tail docking. My hope is that by comparing it to circumcision it will hit closer to home for some folks.

    In 2004 there was a boy who died post circumcision from Hypovolemic Shock. See

    On a personal note. Dan. Thank you so much for participating in this discussion. Your input is valuable, extremely helpful and welcomed.

  17. Hi all - here's my take, same as Dino but the potential for awesome tangents is not as great! ha!

  18. Thank you for sharing that link with more excellent thoughts!

  19. I'm against all sorts of mutilation. Living beings should be permitted to live life with all their parts intact until injury or illness makes it absolutely necessary to remove such parts. That applies to humans, dogs and any other being we feel the need to take knives to.
    Medical knowledge has advanced over the last 60 years to such an extent that we now know for certain that all the so-called 'reasons' for circumcision are bogus. In all cases, what was once thought to be true is now known to be the opposite -circumcision is dirtier, it invites infections including HIV and circumcision of a man actually makes his sexual partner more likely to get infections of the genitals.
    Genital (and all other) mutilation must end.

  20. Dr. Dan is, by the way, wrong. A baby's nervous system has been found to be at least as sensitive as an adult's. Dr. Dan, I fear, is going on outdated information. Over 100 babies per year die from circumcision complications (that's as many as SIDS), including ruptures of internal organs caused by the baby's screams or his attempts to escape from the circumstraint.

  21. Another point on which Dr. Dan is wrong. Smegma is an essential part of the penile immune system. It serves as a medium in which healthy and protective microflora can thrive These microflora protect against bacterial and fungal infection. For a doctor to suggest that such a thing is 'gross' is unprofessional in the extreme. As a layman, I might find certain parts of my immune system 'gross', but I would be surprised and somewhat disturbed to see a doctor exhibit such unprofessionalism.