Sunday, December 19, 2004


Thursday our entire little family will be piling into the car for a holiday trip. Taxi will be dropped off in Rome, Georgia, at the home of the s.o.'s father. The other two furry kids are riding all the way to northeastern Ohio.

This presents a challenge for Cairo the Carsick Dog. We've been trying to work him up to it. A week ago, we took him and his sister to a potluck dinner party about a half-hour away, and Cairo made it all the way to the driveway without throwing up. But unfortunately, the driveway was unpaved, long, and extremely bumpy, and the s.o. had to hold a bucket for Cairo to puke in.

On the bright side, Cairo did make it the whole way home with only a little uneasy drooling.

While we were at the party, a fellow dog lover (whose coyote mix, Scooby, was in attendance) recommended we buy a canine herbal supplement called Happy Traveler for our slightly nauseated passenger. She said Scooby had used it, that it would help calm Cairo down, and that it might even be beneficial for Silver (who tends to be a little excitable and nervous when she's around certain other dogs). The very next day I shelled out the eleven bucks and brought a bottle of it home. But then I started to look askance at it. What kind of mother gives her child an unknown substance?

The s.o., who is familiar with herbs from his hippie college days, was unfazed. "Valerian, chamomile, kava kava, St. John's wort," he read off the bottle. "Yep. That'll sit you down."

I wasn't comforted yet, so I did some internet research and found out that not only are the herbs in the mixture supposed to be fine for dogs, but they were actually tested on dogs for use in humans. I hadn't thought of that. There was no record of toxicity for amounts anywhere near what was in the capsules. I felt a little better.

But in the end, there was only one thing to do. I shook out two of the capsules* into my palm. And then I gulped them down with plenty of water.

In about half an hour to 40 minutes, the capsules began to take effect. I don't remember much after that. My mind stayed relatively clear, but a warm, tingly torpor overtook me. It was a challenge to find the ambition to brush my teeth, wash my face, and put on my pajamas. Once I was under the covers, I didn't fall asleep right away, but I didn't want to move, either. Nothing mattered. Everything was good. When I eventually fell asleep, I slept like a baby.

I vote Yes for Happy Traveler.


* Two capsules was the suggested dose for a dog Cairo's size, and also, coincidentally, the suggested dose for a person my size.** With all the medicines I've run across that can be used in both species, the dog dosages don't tend to be directly proportional according to weight, but are actually a little closer than you would expect to the recommended dosages for people. I don't know why this is, but it is.

** Not that Happy Traveler is packaged for use in humans.