Man thoughtfully wanted to get the same tattoo as his dog. Turned out to be a big mistake.

Chris Mendiola is an animal-lover. In fact, he loves his dog Bear so much that he wanted to show it with a permanent gesture of solidarity.

The US man had noticed that Bear had a tattoo on his belly when he first picked up his rescue dog six years ago. This week he went in to get the same tattoo.

“[T]hose of you who know bear know that he has a tattoo given to him from some previous owners,” Chris wrote on Facebook. “It sickens me to know that people actually tattoo their pets. So tonight I got his tattoo.”

(Image via Facebook.)

It's a totally heartwarming story - except for one tiny little detail.

That tattoo Chris got, that his dog had, well, it actually means he's been neutered. As in fixed. As in his balls chopped off. (Sorry - too far?)

It's common practice for vets to tattoo male dogs with that symbol so that another vet, later on, won't try to perform the same surgery again.

Of course, it was only after Chris posted the image online that others pointed out the meaning of the symbol now permanently inked on his arm.

"That means he's neutered!" wrote one Facebook friend.

To add insult to injury, one of his high school friends posted a screenshot of the post to Reddit where it received thousands of comments.

But Chris isn't phased by other people's opinions and stands by his decision, adding that he may get his dog's paw print over the top of it.

"I knew I was going to get a lot of backlash from it. I did. I got some from my coworkers. I got some from people I thought were my close friends," he told Gizmodo. "It's not for them. It wasn't for them. It wasn't to humour or please them. It's for my dog."

"It's not for them. It wasn't for them. It wasn't to humour or please them. It's for my dog."

He told the website that he did know the meaning of the tat before he got it, but we're really not so sure.

"I definitely did my research. I actually talked to my family vet about it when I first got him," said Mendiola. "I don't see tattooing your dog as something that you should do... My vet would never just say, 'Hey, willy-nilly, I'm going to tattoo your dog.' It's not going to happen," he said, not seeming to understand the purpose of the tattoo.