Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Oxford Review (CN ON)
Section: Humour
Copyright: 2007 Oxford Review
Author: William Thomas


I have always been leery about introducing chemicals into the human
body. This fear of drugs harks back to my university days and "Ronnie."

Ronnie tried them all - uppers, downers, qualudes, L.S.D. - and often
all at once. Ronnie once told me about dropping most of the above and
then going to a drive-in movie.

For about an hour he couldn't believe how tiny the screen was. He
could barely see the characters but said the soundtrack was awesome.

He was about to get out of his car and complain when the manager
knocked on his window and asked why his car was parked backwards.
Ronnie had been watching the movie through the car's side mirror and
instead of the speaker, he'd been listening to a tape of Pink Floyd.

Every time I think of hard drugs or even strong pharmaceuticals, I
remember Ronnie - or as he would be called today, "Chemical Ali."

We are a stressed-out, sleep-deprived, over-medicated society and now
we want our pets to be just like us - punchy, jumpy and spacey (which
would be an excellent name for an air-guitar band of three really,
really short guys).

According to the Animal Health Institute in the United States,
American pet owners are now spending $3 billion a year on animal
health products.

That is, drugs.

Proportionally, by population, this means we're spending $300 million
in Canada to give Buddy a bit of a buzz.

Eli Lilly adapted Prozac for pets. Reconcile, their new drug designed
to treat separation anxiety for dogs.

I thought we already had a cure for separation anxiety. It's called a
pet carrier.

Whenever I go away, oh sure, there's some moping and lost appetite and
OK, loud whining and whimpering.

But after about five days, I get over it.

Jake? He's got such a support group looking after him that the look I
get when I return is one of utter surprise.

"So Bill, you been away?"

Jake never suffers from separation anxiety unless it's treats and beer
he's been separated from.

Pfizer in the United States manufactures Slentrol for the treatment of
obese dogs, Cerenia to curb car-sickness, Rimadyl for arthritis pain
and Anipryl to correct a mental disorder known as canine cognitive
dysfunction syndrome, first diagnosed in that David Hasselhoff video
made public a few months ago.

Apparently dogs also have great difficulty getting food from the floor
to their mouths after 13 vodka martinis.

It's a vicious circle we've created and as soon as somebody from a
pharmaceutical company reads this, they'll come out with Binadril - a
drug to stop vicious dogs from walking in circles.

Three billion a year buys an awful lot of lab rats.

And that's not all. According to the Animal Emergency Clinic in
British Columbia, the incidence of dogs showing up at the vet's all
doped up after eating the owner's drugs has "easily doubled" in the
last 10 years. They treat one hopped-up canine a week at that
particular clinic, most often for marijuana consumption. (Finally, I
can stop wondering whatever happened to Ronnie).

Only in British Columbia could a man and his best friend get so high,
the dog has to phone for the pizza.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think giving Prozac to Puss or
introducing Fido to Pfizer is not the right way to go.

So, before we get polarized into two camps - Dogs Against Drugs and
Cats For Cocaine - remember, there are alternatives.

Separation anxiety? Leave one of your old smelly sweatshirts in your
dog's favourite corner and part of you, not the best part mind you,
will always be with him.

You can imagine my surprise when I once returned home to my dog and a
house-sitter who had not quite followed the instructions.

"Why are you laughing?" she asked.

"Because I told you to put the sweatshirt near him, not put it on
him!" After two weeks Jake was trying desperately to develop
separation anxiety from my sweat shirt.

Whenever I hauled out the luggage, my cat Malcolm used to go into a
deep depression. (Once he went into the luggage and it wasn't until I
was cruising through Oakville that he finally screamed for air).

And as soon as I'd leave, he'd romp down the hall, jump into the bath
tub and do a little bon voyage tinkle.

Packing for my next trip, while he was outside, I filled the bath

Carolyn, the house-sitter, said she heard the race down the hall, the
jump into the bath tub and then a noise like a fat man drowning in a
vat of beer. The toweling off experience marked the end of separation
anxiety behaviour.

Obesity? I'm just now getting my head around doggie day-care centres.
I don't want to even think about fat camps for dogs or liposuction for
tubby tabbies.

Walk more, eat less is good advice for pets and owners. No, we cannot
lead our pets down the wobbly path of drugs.

Pet friendly hotels? I'm all for them.

Pet-only holidays? I'm there with bells on the leash.

Pet marriages? I'm vehemently opposed ... but it's

The Canine Drug Abuse Rehab Centre? Please, Ronnie, say it ain't

It's just not fair.

We adopt our pets to make us happy and keep us calm, and we're driving
them to drugs! 
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