My dog is on anti-depressants.

Okay, before you comment (or, think silently to yourself without ever letting me know you read this) about how it’s ridiculous for a dog to be on anti-depressants, and we got ripped off by a greedy vet, and “ugh, everyone and their dog is popping pills nowadays, what happened to good old-fashioned dealing with your problems-“

Please consider that my dog is actually…depressed.

For months now, my dad has been trying endlessly to find out what’s wrong with our lovely Chico, and how we can make him feel better. All he does is lay in his bed and stare dejectedly at us, he’s lost considerable amounts of weight (and he’s a small dog, so it’s a huge difference), doesn’ t eat, if we pick him up he’s limp, doesn’t chase the raccoon under the deck, doesn’t even greet my sisters

Of course our first conclusion was that there was something physically wrong, but after multiple visits to the vet, they found nothing wrong. My dad got another dog to keep him company, and he got better for a little bit, but went back to his old ways pretty quickly. We thought maybe he just had the winter blues and didn’t like the cold weather and lack of green grass and sun that he enjoyed so much, but it’s summer now and he still mopes around like a lone harp seal survivor that saw its whole family clubbed.

So, the doctor prescribed anti-depressants, and he’s just like his old self again.

It’s really weird.

Is he really my old dog? Or is it just the drugs? Has he refound the joy in life? Does he really see meaning behind the world again?

…Did he ever? I mean, he is a dog. I tend to give animals more credit than other people, but I think this is higher cognition than even I thought they had. Is he capable of thinking “there’s no point” or “my life is meaningful and has purpose?” Does he understand the concept of “why?”

I feel like taking pills in order to combat those feelings is cheating, or an easy escape. I guess that stems from my belief that severe depression in people both A) has an origin within the self or the environment, and is not purely biological, and if that origin could be found and fixed then the depression would be improved to a tolerable condition, and B) is part of the human condition for periods of time beyond “2-3 weeks” and is something we should accept instead of believing we should be happy all the time, and also something we can take as a sign that some part of the life being led needs to change.

What I’m saying is that I don’t believe taking anti-depressants won’t change all the mechanisms that led to being depressed, so I think the happiness is artificial because true happiness comes from the belief that life has meaning, or the peace from the acceptance that it doesn’t, but life can be good anyway…not from sparks in your brain.

I guess all this comes from the fact that I believe in souls, not just brains.

And the reason that all matters is that I just want my dog to actually be happy, but I can’t truly believe that he is, when I know that when he doesn’t eat his medicine he won’t even lift his head for a hot dog.

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