“The cat’s taking Prozac, and the dog’s on CBD.”
That was the headline on a recent article buried deep inside this past week’s Tuesday issue of the New York Times.
My daily newspaper reading strategy involves glancing at the bold, larger-font headlines throughout the newspaper. Then a little later, I go back with a handheld magnifier to absorb the details on anything particularly beckoning or seemingly relevant to my life.
This article met both criteria.
I do not envision ever having a cat (although an 80-year-old neighbor confined to her small condominium unit, and in her second week of testing positive for COVID, tells me her 28-pound cat is keeping her sane.) It’s my dog that keeps me sane — that would be the dog that takes two fully loaded droppers of CBD oil each day.
Due to a relatively rare neurological condition, syringomyelia, Lucy is anxiety-ridden. This has been a tough year for her, so she might have anxiety separate from her chronic health condition. Either way, supported by advice from three separate veterinarians — as well as “atta girl” comments from my sister, also a veterinarian — I purchase packaged CBD online in two-bottle quantities.
The CBD modifies Lucy’s symptoms, which include phantom scratching, three-legged walking, night-panting and heart-wrenching vocalizations — suggesting she is either in psychic pain or craving more CBD.
Friends and family who hear the vocalizations laugh initially and then often look at me quizzically saying things like: “Is Lucy having a stroke?” or when she is vocalizing while rubbing her chubby behind on the raised side of her bed: “Is Lucy having an orgasm?”
A 2021 survey of over 400 dog owners conducted by the Center for Canine Behavior found “… over half had given CBD products to their dogs.” I am not a veterinarian and am not recommending you go this route unless you talk with a veterinary professional — there is no evidence-based data to support effectiveness.
But I am a vocal proponent of using hemp oil CBD products, based on a sample of one dog over time. My dog, Lucy.
I am learning an animal’s stress and anxiety can manifest itself in unexpected ways. As illustration, Lucy had a pet-sitter two weeks ago. It was the first time in two years I’ve been away from her overnight.
She was not happy.
She added freezing behavior to her repertoire of stress reactions. Lucy does not weigh quite as much as my neighbor’s cat — but picking her up and moving her when she is stiffly unreceptive to being relocated is not easy. Doing that in relentlessly rainy weather deserves a salute — as well as a substantial monetary bonus for the aforementioned dog-sitter.
Lucy also is on anti-seizure medication, Gabapentin, twice a day and receives regular, ear-rubbing, back massaging attention from me. With Thanksgiving upon us and my daughter and her family/other guests here, there will be more than the usual amount of petting and massaging.
There also will be two golden retriever “guests.” Lucy is not particularly taken with them. She will probably need extra CBD — and maybe a little shredded turkey on her kibble.
Sharon Johnson, mother of Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, is a retired educator. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org