A Texas man got a tattoo in solidarity with his adopted pup that he thought was inked by an abusive former owner. Turns out, the symbol simply means the dog had been neutered.
Chris Mendiola, of Southlake, adopted Bear, an 11-year-old mastiff-pit bull-boxer mix, six years ago.
Because Bear had been rehomed several times before he was adopted by Mendiola, he assumed the small marking near his pelvis was a sign of previous abuse.
In a Facebook post, Mendiola wrote: “For those of you who know Bear know that he has a tattoo given to him from previous owners. It sickens me to know people actually tattoo their pets. So tonight I got his tattoo.”
He included a picture of the same large symbol tattooed to his arm.
As the post made the rounds on the internet, commenters were quick to point out the ink is actually a common symbol veterinarians use to mark rescue dogs to confirm they have been neutered.
“So, are you neutered too?” someone asked.
Another commented, “It’s literally the symbol for male with the balls crossed out.”
Despite the mistake, Mendiola says he's happy to sport the ink.
“I’m not ashamed of it at all,” he told InsideEdition.com. “It’s for me and him. It’s really for me and my dog. It was for nobody else.”
He explained this was a chance for him to speak out against mutilating animals.
While the ASPCA officially recommends neutering pets to prevent testicular cancer, prostate problems and pet homelessness, Mendiola compared the practice to clipping ears or docking tails.
“Everybody has their tastes. It’s not for me,” he said. “I am not going to change for anybody physically-wise, so why should my dog?”
While some have brought up the fact that he could easily cover the tattoo, Mendiola said he planned to add to it instead.
“Once it heals, I’d like to get his paw print blended in with it,” he explained. “I look down and see this tattoo and I’m like, ‘I’m carrying my dog with me.’ I can literally go anywhere and have a piece of him with me. It’s like my version of a lucky rabbit’s foot.”
Mendiola is now using the backlash and attention to focus on raising money for a local no-kill shelter through GoFundMe.