After my brother's childhood dog, Bandit passed away in December of 2004, the lone surviving family dog, Rusty suddenly seemed to turn on us and neglect all housebreaking she'd acquired. Each day, regardless of who arrived home and at what time, they were met with a soiled floor in the nook surrounding Rusty's bedding and food and water bowls. After months of daily moping, loads of laundry and vehement "disagreements", my mom sought the guidance of our vet. Turns out that little Rusty, coping with the loss of her companion and pent up for hours alone each day, was depressed. For two years, Rusty continued to rage war against the laundry room floor in defiance until finally my parents adopted our second dog, Petey.
Today's mid-day Fresh Air piece on NPR featured Michael Shaffer, author of One Nation Under Dog- a book that peeks into the changing dynamics of familial life and how it has affected man's best friend and the development of the lucrative "pet-accessories" industry.
While my parents opted for a second dog, those who can't add another pet to their roster can seek pills or other medical treatments to help the mental ails of their furry friends. Though I completely believe my pets to have full thoughts and feelings, I'm not sure how I feel about getting my dog hooked on uppers. But then again, I do dress both Petey and Rusty in sweaters for walks on brisk autumn days...
Either way, I'll be adding One Nation Under Dog to my reading queue.