Weaning off Prozac.

The reason Jake went on Prozac was that after Melvin died, his days were harder for him to manage.  In fact, some things he couldn’t manage at all. The howl-crying at the door I had mentioned, but he also went back to having severe separation anxiety when I’d leave. It was worse than when he first came to live here because after Melvin died, he was truly alone in the house. I know how to work him through the SA but once we started the Prozac, the remaining SA went away, even though it wasn’t a goal for taking it.

So in essence, I forgot about a couple things that Jake did pre-Prozac.  But have no fear, he has reminded me of all of them.  At once.

During the snow storm, when I’d go outside to shovel, I’d hear Jake.  It was a noise I recognized, he was honking, like a duck because I’d left him alone.  He had not done this for several months, why was he doing it all of a sudden. (In Blizzards, your brain slows down, true story.).

He also suddenly could not be without me, but not in a cute, cuddly way.  If I got up to go to the loo, he would frantically scramble to get up and run to find me in a ‘HOLY CRAP WHERE DID SHE GO I’M ALL ALONE AND MAY DIE’ way.  I’ve had a velcro dog.  Velcro dogs follow you calmly to the loo.  Jake ‘ran’ and plowed into walls desperate to locate me. Why in the world was he doing this? (my brain, still in slow-mo).

Then, as I was cooking in the kitchen and Jake was sitting in the dining room, full view of me, he started barking at me.  The ONLY time he does this is if a Kong rolls under furniture.  I looked, no Kongs.  He kept doing it.  Sitting. Barking. Then he did the same when I was watching TV, sit and bark.  And when I was in the shower. Sit and bark.  So much sitting and barry-white-voice-barking.

And then it hit me, the Prozac was helping with anxiety we didn’t even know he had. It was beyond grief.  I had said all along that Melvin is a dog that needed people.  Jake is a dog that needs another dog.  If only he knew this. A sibling dog would stay with you when I leave. A sibling dog would stay with you when I GO TO THE BATHROOM!

So… I’m back in planning mode.  We are going to see the behaviorist for his anxiety.  Never, ever, is life dull!


Pro(zac) and Cons.

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.