Jake suffered grief after Melvin died. In addition to opting for solitary existence, he would sit at the door that Melvin was taken out of, and howl-cry. I did everything I could to help him, but like me, he had to learn to carry his loss. Our vet recommended Prozac. I was willing to try anything to help him, and make the crying stop.
We started the Prozac and after a few weeks he was doing better. I’m not sure if it was all the Prozac or not but it didn’t matter, my boy was headed in the right direction. He stayed on it and once we started seeing the behaviorist (after he tried to dismember every dog we met), she suggested that Prozac might help him with future meetings (dosage adjustments might be needed). The theory – that it would lower his
desire to kill anxiety when confronted with a dog that was not Melvin. (Melvin was his natural Prozac).
Well in terms of how he did with other dogs, I think we all know how well that went. Craptastic.
So I decided that Jake has learned to carry his grief and that he no longer needs Prozac. I weaned him off for a few reasons (aside from the grief fading). One, I don’t like to throw medications at something when it’s just not needed. If he comes off of it and starts to spaz out in a new direction, we can discuss options (medication and training) but right now, my gut says he will be ok. Two, there are some theories that dogs on Prozac don’t always do better with behavioral issues (like meeting new dogs) because it suppresses their natural ability to react and respond. (I’m not a medical professional or a behaviorists, that is my dumb’d down version of what I’ve learned). So in Jake’s case, the Prozac MIGHT have kept him from being able to react differently when presented with other dogs because it made him ‘unaware’ of other natural responses he could have, like calming the bleep down.
Since coming off the Prozac, his energy level has doubled as has his perceived idea of how strong he is. (Not sure either of these will help with adding a dog to the family!). He now thinks he can leap onto the couch. Which he cannot. I may need Prozac to deal with a Jakie that ‘leaps’ head first into objects he thinks he can hurdle (the momma helps him fly whenever she is close by!). But if my little wonky chicken thinks he can fly now, coming off Prozac was the right thing to do.
This is a photo hanging in my closet. I think Jake has adopted this sentiment.