Doggone it, mother’s little helper is now a pitiful pooch’s best friend!
At least according to Bay Ridge newlyweds Amanda Levin and Michael Nadelberg, who give their pet mutt 40 milligrams of Prozac a day to muffle his growls and bring out his inner wag-nificence.
The four-legged patient in question is Dutchie — a six-year-old, 100-pound German shepherd mix with a dash of husky and Akita tossed in for extra hunk — who his owners say hasn’t been the same since suffering an injury a couple of years ago at the dog run on 86th Street and 10th Avenue.
“They were doing repairs to the fence and he cut himself on one of the exposed wire metal pieces; he needed about a dozen stitches,” says Levin, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher, adding that Dutchie’s trauma only escalated despite help from a canine behavioral therapist.
After barking up the wrong tree for months, Levin and Nadelberg felt they had no choice but to lock up their howling hound in a separate room when company came — plus barricade themselves with chairs when Dutchie, who sleeps on their bed, got devilish.
After enduring Dutchie’s demons — he bit both Levin and Nadelberg’s dear old dads — and after being snarled at one too many times in his own home, Nadelberg, a 30-year-old podiatrist, finally stepped in with a pill-of-an-idea: If Prozac was good enough for man, then why not for his best friend?
Their vet needed a bit of persuading, said Levin, but after listening to Dutchie’s laundry list of symptoms — including his hot-headedness towards strangers and loved ones — she wrote out a prescription for fluoxetine, which is marketed as Prozac. A month’s supply at the local pharmacy costs the couple $20.
“I just open up his mouth, shove the little red-striped white pill in and close his throat until he swallows it!” said Levin. “I see a difference already, he’s less aggressive!”
Six months down the road, all’s well and good, and Dutchie’s even passing all his physicals with flying colors, she bragged.
Even though her “Dutchella” is a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde, Levin says that he’s a honey bear at heart, who loves her madly: “When I wake up in the morning, his tail starts flopping and he gives me kisses for five minutes straight. He’s just happy to see me awake!”
When he’s not barking up a storm, Levin says Dutchie is a bit of a TV junkie who can’t seem to get enough of Cesar Millan’s “Dog Whisperer” show. The couple has even considered getting in touch with the celebrity dog tamer if and when he films in New York City.
But who needs him when you have Prozac?