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Dog-Sense: For All Dog Owners


Psychiatric Drugs For Your Dog

My daughter handed me a pile of clippings about sudden violence and school shootings. Sighing, she said “You need to warn dog owners about psychotropic and psychiatric drugs.

Col. Sam Harper,  Dogsport Reconnaissance 

May 21, 2018

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


First in her stack was the February shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17. That sparked the US House of Representatives to pass the “Stop School Violence Act.”


I’m aware that many states have raised the minimum age for purchase of a firearm. Gun control advocates are not mollified, pointing out that the murder rate may have declined in the last 20 years but mass shootings have multiplied like rats on a rampage.


My kid is a bit of a liberal, a by-product of today’s educational grist-mill, but I could see that she was really upset and far from done expressing it. I nodded, shuffling the pile of reports.  She said “Daddy, you know about the effects of stress from your military service but can you explain the risks of psychiatric drugs?” Before I could reply she said, “It freaks me out… veterinarians are putting dogs on those drugs!” I raised an eyebrow. “It’s true!” she insisted.


I got it. As an officer I observed that combat fatigue wasn’t much worse than the frequent side effects of antidepressants, a new class of meds that haven’t changed much since then.


We had to monitor the guys for increased anxiety, hostility towards their own squad members, insomnia (even when they were exhausted) and worst of all, an increased risk of suicide. Thinking about those side effects, I nodded, immediately seeing where she was going. It sounded like a bad joke or an old-fashioned cartoon… I could see it playing in my mind… a pack of stray dogs doing the Boogaloo or my neighbor's giant dog trying to commit suicide.


You get it don’t you?” she sat down and handed me more clippings. One caught my eye immediately: Paxel “for stress and anxiety” warns that it “increases risk of suicide by 670%


I looked at my agitated kid and trying to restore some equilibrium, I smiled “Well honey, we don’t have to worry about dogs committing suicide.


She shook her head, “No Daddy, but in people it also causes weight gain, nausea and headaches and reduced libido.” Her voice trailed off and so did my thoughts. I could imagine dog breeders dealing with that last part. Then smiling, I turned to her and said “Surely the vets would catch those problems?” Her raised eyebrow said it all but she couldn’t resist pointing out that doctors prescribe this stuff to people…


I got it. We’ve all seen the results of psychiatric drugs. The Santa Fe school shooting hasn’t been tied to drugs yet but there’s already a lot of similarity between that and the troubled kid who did the Parkland shooting. We talked about what “antidepressant drugs” are doing to the safety and security of Americans. Hell, I risked my life to protect our country and Trump is risking the presidency trying to bring our military back to its former capabilities. (yeah, I expect that made some of you click out but some day you’ll get it). We have soldiers around the world still putting life and limb on the line for us.


“Us” includes medical hacks who put money and ego before honesty.


She interrupted my thoughts, saying “Most dogs are deprived of social activity. They love us but a human pack just isn’t the same…” I thought about dog training classes. Social events for both people and the dogs. And taking your dog out in the neighborhood or to the park for a walk? You enjoy seeing new sights but your dog takes everything in through scent. I know my old hound does. He can be mesmerized by a tree trunk. Yeah, I’m grinning. You are too if you know what I’m saying.


I couldn't let it go.  We humans can sit in our living room and talk to someone clear across the county. Your dog can’t socialize. I never thought much about it but I am now. I’m sure he dreams of running free, on a hot trail, or staring down the boss dog in some other pack, and yeah, the same things a lot of us guys dream about. The difference is that we have the freedom to act on those dreams, to visit our friends even if they live in another country. We have music, and TV, and internet, and social media, and neighbors, and our jobs or hobbies.


What does your dog have?


How can a dog tied to a tree face life every day? How can a little dog living with a retired couple feel like a dog? I reckon being loved and petted and fed until you bloat seems like a good life to some of you reading this. I am a realist. Trained to see things clearly.


If I was a dog, living ”alone” with no one to talk to or a pack to go hunting with, I might grab a gun and do what over-stressed humans do. You are supposed to be the smart one. Take me for a walk, let me ride to the grocery store with you, talk to me… And one more thing, sure to relieve my stress, give me a big raw bone and let me bury it in the flower garden.


But please, don’t give me no psychiatric drugs!!! EST 2002 © 1805!-s18h05.asp



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