“High as a kite”: Dog’s reaction to anti-anxiety medication melts hearts

A dog’s laid-back facial expression at day camp has left the internet in stitches this week.

Bucky is a 2-year-old mixed-breed dog who lives with his owner Caitlin Westerfield in South Florida.

Preparing Bucky for when she goes on vacation, Westerfield was dropping her dog off for an orientation day in preparation for his upcoming boarding.

“This was to familiarize him with the environment before I have to leave him there for a longer period of time. He gets along well with other dogs, but he is on the smaller side, so he does get overwhelmed at times,” Westerfield told Newsweek.

Bucky the dog at Pet Paradise Palm Beach day camp after having anti-anxiety meds. The dog’s facial expression has left people in stitches.
Pet Paradise Palm Beach & Caitlin Westerfield

“He prefers to sniff around and keep to himself in the beginning, but he will open up and play with the others when he’s comfortable and confident enough,” she added. “However, if I have to board him at the vet’s office, he is typically pretty scared for the duration of the stay, so I try to avoid that scenario as much as I can.”

While he isn’t an overly anxious dog, Bucky is on the timid side and takes a while to settle into an environment.

“His main triggers are car rides and loud noises, like thunderstorms, fireworks, and vacuum cleaners,” the owner explained. “My partner and I have worked hard to try and counter condition him to be okay when he’s exposed to those triggers, but I cannot get anything to work for car rides except for medication. He won’t even take treats in the car when he’s scared.”

An adopted dog, Bucky’s owners don’t know much about his past or why he is scared of certain things. To help him settle faster and avoid unnecessary stress, his owners gave him some trazodone.

Trazodone is an FDA-approved medication commonly prescribed for dogs with behavioral issues, anxiety and some medical conditions.

There are plenty of ways to treat anxiety in dogs, and this drug works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, having a calming effect on a dog that will help reduce anxiety.

Bucky the dog
Two years old, Bucky is a cross-breed rescue and often gets a little anxious in new places.
Caitlin Westerfield

The drug should only be given to a dog after consultation with a qualified veterinarian who will be able to provide appropriate guidance.

“I normally give it to him an hour or so before exposure to a scary event. I try not to give it unless I absolutely have to. The day I took him to camp, I wasn’t planning on giving it to him, but he was so anxious from the 5-minute car ride that he was trembling like a little fuzzy rocket about to shoot into space, and he showed no signs of calming down,” said Westerfield.

“I had to pop him a half-dose of Trazodone in the day camp lobby to make sure he would settle in and not be stressed from the unfamiliarity of it all, on top of the car ride stress.”

Laughed for a Solid Minute

When the camp sent the owner a picture of how Bucky was getting along, she was instantly in stitches.

In the picture, Bucky is sitting calmly in the sunshine with what looks like a huge grin on his face and glazed eyes.

“I probably laughed for a solid minute. I was not expecting that at all; I’m glad I gave him a half-dose,” said Westerfield. “He looked incredibly ridiculous, just lounging in the sun without a single thought behind those squinty little eyes.”

After showing her partner, friends and family, she knew that the picture would be a hit online and decided to share on Reddit‘s r/rarepuppers subreddit.

“I knew I wanted to keep sharing it so everyone could have a good chuckle amidst the negativity that can sometimes be prevalent online. It seems like it worked, because I got a large number of messages from people saying they couldn’t stop laughing at his ‘stoned’ expression,” she said.

In hundreds of comments, people reacted to the picture of Bucky living his best life at day care.

Redditor Kaaskugg joked that the dog was: “High as a kite.”

Another commenter said: “Hip tilted out. One front paw tucked under. Goofy face. Yep that’s one relaxed dog,” while another wrote: “I’ll have what he’s having! Lol.”

“I can’t stop laughing. That’s so adorable,” said another reply.

Bucky isn’t the only dog who has left people in stitches thanks to the effects of anxiety medication. Last year Yogi gained viral attention when he went “out of this world.” While another dog left people in hysterics when he was caught looking “high as fluff” after a vet visit.

“I love that I can add a little dose of humor to someone’s day that I’ve never even interacted with before,” said Westerfield. “Also, it helps raise awareness that dogs can—and in some circumstances, should—take anxiety medication if it helps give them a better quality of life.”

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to life@newsweek.com with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

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