Pets on Prozac: The dark side of animal emotions

Posted July 7th, 2014 by administrator

Pets on Prozac: The dark side of animal emotions
News from New York Post:

The only New Yorker who ever made worldwide news for going on Prozac and into therapy was named Gus. He was a polar bear.

Born in 1985 in Toledo, Ohio, Gus was separated from his parents at age 3 and relocated to the Central Park Zoo. For several years, Gus seemed fine, but in 1994, his caretakers noticed that he seemed lethargic and depressed — he’d spend his days swimming back and forth in his pool, in a figure eight, over and over and over.

“It’s just a mild neurosis,” the zoo’s spokeswoman said at the time. In truth, zoo officials were alarmed. At a cost of $ 25,000, they hired Tim Desmond, a therapist from California, who diagnosed Gus with boredom and placed him on Prozac.

“He’s not meeting our criteria for quality of life,” Desmond said.

Suddenly, Gus was the unofficial mascot of the city — the true spirit animal to neurotic New Yorkers, with their own shrinks and anti-depressants and existential crises. Gus was written up in People magazine, profiled on network news, teased by Letterman, proclaimed the Woody Allen of New York zoos. He became the subject of a play called “Gus” and a book called “What’s Worrying Gus? The True Story of a Big City Bear,” which depicted him, on the cover, laying on a couch in his shrink’s office.

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Related News:

Pet owners struggle as fewer S.F. landlords allow dogs, cats
News from SFGate:

Kim Oja lives a quiet life, has solid references and a dog sweet enough to be teaching a puppy obedience class. By just about any measure, she should be a San Francisco landlord’s dream tenant.

Instead, she’s commuting from Orinda to UCSF, spending three hours a day on her bike and BART. The graduate nursing student, who had cruised into good apartments in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Orinda, can’t even land an overpriced crash pad in San Francisco. All because of Jack, Oja’s fluffy white mutt she adopted from the pound two years ago.

“I always got my first choice. I have sterling credit, I have money in the bank, I present fairly well and former landlords give a good recommendation,” Oja says. “Naively, that’s what I thought was going to happen in the city.”

San Francisco has long been known as a pet-friendly city – U.S. census data confirm that the dogs outnumber children by about 1.7 to 1. But for years it has been increasingly challenging to find a pet-friendly home to rent. Now with the recent influx of wealthy residents, many with tech sector money to burn, renters are repor…………… continues on SFGate

… Read the full article

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