Gregg Miller is living proof that a crazy idea can sometimes turn out to be pure genius. He is the inventor of Neuticles, silicone implants for male dogs to replace testicles after neutering so they don’t lose their manly look, and he is a millionaire.
Miller came up with the idea for a purely cosmetic replacement for animal testicles in the early 90s, when he bought a bloodhound puppy named Buck. He refused to have him neutered simply because he didn’t want to put the dog through surgery, but after Buck went missing for four days after picking up a female’s scent, the witty inventor had a change of heart. He describes those four days as the most hideous of his life, and knew that if he didn’t neuter his dog, he risked losing him again. But he still wanted Buck to maintain his “God-given naural look”, so he asked the vet if someone made testicle implants. The veterinarian told him that it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard of, but Gregg knew he was on to something.
Believe it or not, that same vet that told Gregg Miller that his idea for testicle implants was dumb soon got in touch with him about it to tell him that he had changed his mind and wanted to work with him on a prototype. And that’s how Neuticles, the now world-famous fake dog balls came to be.
Gregg Miller recently told CNBC that he and 32 other local investors put about $100,000 into the development of the first Neuticles. His parents told him he was crazy, everyone that heard about it said that it was the sickest thing they had ever heard, and some printers wouldn’t even print his material. But he believed in his idea, and maxed out all his credit cards and the mortgage on his home just to make it happen.
After testing the first Neuticle protoypes on 30 pets without any problems, the first pair of commercial testicle implants were sold in 1995. The fake dog balls generated some media attention in the beginning, but it soon wore off and the business had yet to really take off. For the first three years, Miller didn’t know if Neuticles would ever become as popular as he’d dreamed they would, but he just worked harder, advertising in animal magazine, establishing a network of veterinarians and even going on radio shows offering free Neuticles to listeners. His efforts were repaid when he started getting hundreds of inquiries every day.
There was one big problem, though. In the beginning, Neuticles were made of hard plastic and they made a weird clunking sound when the animal moved around. People were complaining about it, but there wasn’t a lot he could do about it until someone finally came up with a better alternative.
“That was an issue that we endured for three years until some genius, God bless him wherever he was, invented solid silicone,” Miller recalls.
Gregg Miller claims to have sold over 500,000 Neuticles in the last 25 years, and that has made him a millionaire. He has since expanded his business, offering fake testicles for felines, horses and bulls as well. He even sold a pair of giant silicone testicles for an elephant at a zoo. Asked if he plans on making Neuticles for men, the successful inventor claims that the FDA approval process would be too much of a hassle.
To many, Neuticles have a purely aesthetic purpose, which doesn’t justify putting the animal through another medical procedure, but Miller and some veterinarians believe that they encourage owners to have their dogs neutered in the first place, knowing that they can still maintain the pet’s natural look.
Neuticles are just one of the crazy products that have made their inventors millionaires. In the past, we wrote about the famous Pet Rocks that made Gary Ross Dahl a rich man, or the personalized potatoes that are all the rage these days.