March 19 – May 5, 2016

March 29, 2016 (day 11 of fluoxetine at 20 mg) Although Lyra slept most of the day in my closet and refused most food (even treats), she rallied in the afternoon to play ball and was in those moments responsive and in good spirits.

April 1, 2016: (day 14 of fluoxetine) Lyra was playing with Michael in the back yard when a garbage truck came along our street. (We thought they’d finished for the day). She seemed eager to continue the game, though, so I filmed her while Michael threw the ball. Some anxiety is obvious, but on the whole it’s less pronounced than in times past. The truck was very audible, even to me!

April 8, 2016: day 21 of fluoxetine; day 2 of splitting dose in two lots of 10 mg each per day) We were in the yard when a delivery truck backed into our driveway. Lyra has seen the truck and driver before, so I wouldn’t expect a full-blown reaction; but the truck did use the reversal beep (which she doesn’t like) so she seemed calmer than I’d expect and was able to carry on with the game (she picked up the ball and dropped it for me to throw), until she got distracted again by the truck. She gave one lip lick at the end of the video (below), but shortly after that she saw the driver through the fence, and her tail wagged. We went inside, and she greeted him in the front hall with lots of loose tail wags (and of course the effort to jump up and put her nose close to his face).

April 11, 2016: day 24 of fluoxetine. I made two videos today to help me assess any changes that might occur in the next couple of weeks due to the medication and/or CC/DS work “taking effect”. The first shows me attempting to put on Lyra’s harness. She continues to be reluctant, which she shows by licking her lips, moving away a few times, and shaking off afterwards. We’ve made some progress but are not there yet. The second is a walk across a single-lane road, louder than average for our neighbourhood. Here, she gives signs of nervousness both approaching the road and crossing it, e.g., tugging more than usual at the lead and shaking off when we’re across. My plan is to work on her skills closer to home for the next two or three weeks, then film her on this road-crossing again, to see if there’s any change. My understanding is that the fluoxetine should take some effect after day 28. Next time I film the harness routine, by the way, I won’t wear the GoPro! Too hard to aim while adjusting.

April 15 (day 28): Lyra hears a loud, small plane overhead. She copes pretty well — ears slightly back, distraction, and some lip licking, but also a few smiles — given that she’d heard the squeal of garbage truck brakes (from indoors) only a few hours before, and was so shut down by it that she refused licks of cat food.

April 15 (day 28): and wow! Lyra hears a garbage truck right in front of our house. She’s not relaxed, clearly, but her reaction is definitely better than usual. She actually eats something!!! She wants me to go with her to the ball (which I realize, belatedly, I threw in the direction of the street) but she actually smiles. You can’t see it well on the video, but her face looks almost relaxed as we’re going toward the ball (street). By contrast, in the morning, when she heard the truck from inside the house, she shut down and wouldn’t touch the cat food. This time (outside, in the afternoon) she ate boring old kibble! (I know, I should have had something better, but I wasn’t expecting to be outside just then; I need to work on that!)

April 20 (day 33): Margaret came on a walk with us to the park — which was helpful on several fronts. As we approach the park, Lyra notices a boy on a bike with training wheels (worse for Lyra than an adult bike). Her body language changes from eager to anxious pulling. Margaret takes her across the street to give her distance from the bikes and people. Prior to seeing the boy on the bike (and ensuing people) she’d been pretty calm about the cars; it’s interesting to note how her manner changes, even when the bike has passed by. She becomes more agitated by traffic. Yet by the end of this video, she’s happy to continue to the park.

April 22 (day 35): Lyra seems very relaxed when I put on her harness. She chooses to go up our street in a direction that has always intimidated her (for a reason unknown to me). She is hesitant, so I let her set the pace. Finally, three houses beyond ours, she hears a screech of metal (brakes?) that finally decides her. We go back to our house.

April 22 (day 35): This video is an interesting contrast with last week, when she had good recovery from a garbage truck. Today, she heard other sounds in the yard: a circular saw (two houses away), kids in the local school yard (1/4 mile away), birds, a dog barking (the one dog in the neighbourhood who sets her off; she seldom barks in response to other dogs barking), and no doubt other sounds I missed. What I see in the video is that she’s happy to play at the start, yet quickly becomes too agitated to focus on the game. Early on, I offer her tinned cat food (at huge treat) which she takes at first but then ignores. Yet she was reluctant to come back inside; once inside, she went straight for her nook by my chair, then to her closet (both in the office). Later in the day, she went back out and was relaxed in the yard (with her ball) in spite of the occasional circular saw etc.

April 24 (day 37): Lyra has made great leaps with CC to her harness. We’re not yet at the point where she enjoys it — but I no longer feel that it’s causing her great distress. In the video (below) I’ve added distractions by taking the process outside.

April 29 (day 42): Lyra is hiding behind a chair as a garbage truck passes (and stops) in front of the house. At first she licks the bacon; then, as the truck gets closer, she loses interest in food. Instead, I offer to get her ball, and she responds well to that. She plays a little with the ball — with the truck still audibly near the house — and jumps onto the sofa (rather than behind) where she eats food from my hand. Progress. No Trazodone, just fluoxetine.

April 29 (day 42): This video (below) was taken moments – roughly a minute – after the garbage truck had passed the house. I throw the ball to gauge her level of interest in a game of catch. The truck is still audible (if only just, to me) as it turns the corner. Clearly, she’s not fully engaged. However, she is willing to eat, which is good! The cat, needless to say, is always willing.

May 2 (day 45): Today I gave her 100 mg of trazedone on top of her 20 mg of fluoxetine. Her response to the vacuum cleaner was the best ever. She even left her bully stick in the office (her safe haven) to come play the vacuum-cleaner find-it game 🙂