Dudley, the Pickwick family dog has his crown jewels removed early this week.
The decision to do this was driven by advice from the local vet who said that there was a 20 per cent risk of testicular cancer if he retained them.
Mrs Pickwick and I were torn by this decision. I have been a staunch defender of Dudley's balls largely because I empathised with him. At moments of mental union with Dudley (when I was drooling down the side of my face, wiping myself on the sofa and scratching my back on the lounge floor with a look and sound of orgiastic delight) I declared to Mrs Pickwick that they were untouchable being dear to him and features for which he was justifiably proud given the attention he gave to them.
In the same way that the Spice Girl sorority had declared girl power, there was male-power between me and Dudley. I had resisted attempts by Mrs Pickwick to decommission mine such was her view that we can only have so many bundles of joy and that if our cup runneth over further she would perform the procedure on me herself. I was concerned that the removal of Dudley's could be the thin end of the wedgie - it would set a precedent.
It was statistics that did for Dudley. To have 20 per cent risk of death gave him a too uncertain future in his ability to manage his heavenly orbs. This is clear proof that God hates Cocker Spaniels. And when I meet him, her or it, I will give God a good talking to. In the meantime, I am working on the principle that God is more likely to hang around Churches on Sundays, although from my experience I have not seen him much in evidence at those I attended. It is fortunate that I know what God looks like so that will make it easier.
Since Mrs Pickwick and I made the decision, we have felt terrible. It has been like arranging for someone to beat our children. But in my case, it has been worse. Dudley and I had gone from male-power besties to Mr Pickwick, Judas.
I was on a business trip when the deed was done. I woke that morning with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. My testicles had sensed what Dudley was to go through returning whence they came should they be next. Since then, they have remained at the exit of my testicular tract like a couple of nervous meerkats surveying the surroundings for predators.
At night, I have dreamt of Dudley meeting a wrinkled spaniel called Brutus who has been through the same restructuring. They engage in the normal sniffing routine before the grim reality hits the two of them when they reach each other's nether regions. Recoiling in horror, Dudley woofs "et tu, Brute" at his hapless companion.
Since their departure, I am no longer able to describe joyous occasions as the dog's bollocks knowing that if I organised the week differently I could have possessed them. It is a mark of respect - he has lost them although gained the chance of a longer life and I have lost my ability to describe positive matters with reference to genitals. I will mourn the passing of this phrase from my oral armoury but hope he forgives me. In the meantime, the meerkats remain a little unnerved so I will put out a saucer of milk to settle them.