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  • Writer's pictureStream Valley Vet

Scooter's Journey Part II

By Julia C, Vet Assistant

For part one of Scooter's story, click here! Fluoxetine, or Prozac, is an SSRI, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Serotonin is important in stabilizing mood and is used in human medicine to treat depression and anxiety. It can be used in veterinary medicine to achieve the same effect. I have been in many behavior consultation appointments with Dr. Corey and watched how she coached pup parents to help their furry friends grow into balanced individuals. I’ve seen anxious dogs who act out in many different ways but thought it would never happen to me.

Scooter controlled my life. I was scared to go out and leave him home alone. I brought him to work every day so he wouldn’t have to spend a moment by himself. I am not opposed to medication in any way but it took a long time to come to an agreement with my partner on what to do with Scooter. The final decision to start medication therapy on my pup came after we left him alone for a couple of hours and he started to tear my doorframe apart. You can replace blinds using just a measuring tape, but to replace a doorframe you need someone who knows how to replace a doorframe.

With a little bit of Prozac on board, I felt confident that behavior modification training could begin. I kept him on Prozac all while trying to leave him home alone little by little. I would walk to the mailbox and come back. I would go to the gas station and come back. I truly felt like we were making progress. Me and my boyfriend even went to dinner and came back and he acted as we had never left. I was happy because I thought I could truly have my life back.

Then, we left him home alone for a few hours while we both went to work. I came home and found the entire right side of my front door frame ripped off and on the ground. I couldn’t believe that this small creature who was perfect when we were at home with him could be so destructive. I screamed at Scooter. He didn’t know why I was screaming at him because I was getting upset after he destroyed my door, not during. I couldn’t control my emotions so I screamed and I cried and I am not proud of it. I never want Scooter to feel scared because of me and I felt like a horrible parent. Not only could I not train this dog, his lack of training and heightened anxiety were putting him in danger, and I was not helping the situation by yelling at him.

I called my mother because I did not know what else to do. “I do not love this dog,” I cried on the phone to her. “I can’t love someone that destroys everything I own.” I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like he was a lost cause and he deserved a household where he could be watched after 24/7. I felt like I had failed.

I sat and I thought for the next few hours. Even after I had yelled at Scooter he still came up to snuggle with me on the couch. I held this sweet boy tight and I knew that I didn’t mean what I said. I loved this dog, no matter how much he frustrated me. He needed someone patient and understanding and kind and I was ready to give that to him. I came to Dr Corey the next day to come up with a new plan to save this dog from himself.



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