Photo courtesy of Edgard M. Brito
Just about everyone loves dogs, and if you don’t, you’re one of those “cats only” people who has trouble connecting with the human race. So it’s no surprise that dog owners around the world spend bazillions to ensure that their butt-sniffing buddies are happy, healthy and looking good – including paying plastic surgeons to achieve their ideas of pooch perfection.
Brazilian veterinarian Edgard M. Brito is one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons for animals. He and his clients believe loving your pet means helping it look its best, and if that means surgically straightening ears, performing eye-widening lifts, replacing testicles or smoothing out wrinkles, so be it. I wanted to know exactly what he does – and why – so I asked him.
VICE: What are the criteria for a dog to be considered good-looking?
Edgard M. Brito: Firstly, in my opinion, the attraction that humans have for dogs is natural. The beauty, symmetry and hygiene [of the dogs] help make this relationship a perfect one.
If it’s such a perfect relationship, why do you think some dogs need cosmetic surgery?
For reconstruction and sometimes for corrections of anatomic defects and physical or functional abnormalities that can appear during an animal’s life.
What’s the most common defect you correct?
Damaged or inappropriately positioned ears.
Doesn’t that seem a bit shallow?
We aren’t painting dogs pink to match their owners’ nail polish. Our focus is on improving the animal’s quality of life and helping to achieve a perfect relationship between animal and owner.
So you’re saying that this relationship hinges on the owners finding their dogs attractive?
Certainly. An ugly dog is an unloved dog, left forgotten in the backyard, without a ride, dirty and mistreated. A clean dog, with bright teeth, is loved by his owners.
Do you own any dogs?
Yes. I’ve bred Dobermans since 1973.
Have you operated on your Dobermans?
Yes, I’ve straightened their ears.
In your professional opinion, does a dog experience a higher quality of life postsurgery?
Yes, because he will be shown to the public more, go out more with his owner and be given better products and top food.
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