By Lisa Scottoline

My dog is on Viagra.

And she’s a girl.

I don’t know where to begin.

But she does.

She knows everything.

This is the effect of Viagra on dogs.

They become queens.

Or kings.

Maybe I should take one?

First, let me say I’m not a vet and this is not veterinary advice, so don’t go asking your vet for Viagra.

For your dog.

(Yeah, right.)

What happened is that my little Peach, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was diagnosed with congestive heart disease. Sadly, the diagnosis wasn’t unexpected because she’s twelve years old and heart disease is not uncommon in the breed. In fact, she’s my second cavalier, so I even have a veterinary cardiologist.

By the way, my pony has an equine dentist, and my chickens have an avian vet.I have a wallet.

Honestly, I’m not complaining about vet bills. My pets are members of my family, and I don’t mind taking care of my family, even when it costs me.

It’s still less than tuition.

Plus anybody who has a pet knows they’re expensive, and smart owners get pet insurance.

Not me.

Meanwhile my cat costs me nothing.

My cat Vivi is fifteen years old and has never been sick a day in her life.

Cats rock.

Someday I’ll get pet insurance, but every time I look into it online, the veterinary healthcare system is as confusing as the human-being healthcare system.

Maybe cats should take it over.

They’d know what to do.

To return to point, Peach was already on two medications for her heart, but she seemed listless, and when I took her to the vet, he suggested that we put her on Sildenafil citrate, a small white pill.

And then I looked up her medication online and found that it contained the same thing as Viagra.

Who knew?

And honestly, who cares?

If it makes her happier and healthier, I’m all for it.

So Peach started taking a quarter of a tab.

And she perked up.

Like, a lot.

She’s always been plucky, but she was pluckier than ever. My other two dogs Boone and Kit are her sons, and she started chasing them around the house.

I’m not sure what she had in mind.

She’s not that kind of dog.

Let’s just say it was good, clean family fun and (probably) not sexual harassment.

Anyway I touched base with the vet, and he was happy to hear that Peach had more energy. He did some tests that showed her heart was doing better, too, so we increased her dosage to half a tab.

Then she got even pluckier.

Her sons thought she was too plucky.

I didn’t. Peach was like a puppy again, running around the backyard and chasing squirrels.

So the squirrels agreed with her sons.

She had energy!

I bet if we increase her dosage, she’d paint the house.

I might be fine with that.

Now I get why men take Viagra.

Life is short.

But not everything else has to be.

Have fun!

In fact, I find myself taking a second look at Peach’s pills.

You gotta wonder what effect they’d have on me.

I looked online to learn how Viagra affected women, and the articles seemed to suggest that it increased female sexual arousal.

That, I don’t need.

Why dress up if you’re not going anywhere?

Meanwhile I couldn’t be pluckier than I am.

I’m so plucky I’m divorced twice.

Turns out some men can’t handle pluck.

Pluck them!

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2023

Column Classic: With Apologies to L’Oreal

by Lisa Scottoline

I’m sweltering because I have low self-esteem.

That’s what I figured out.

Otherwise I can’t explain my own dumb behavior.

This might be a new low, because usually I can explain my dumb behavior. Like if someone says, do you want to get married, I always say, Yes!

Dumb, but I know why.

Temporary insanity.

This time, I don’t, and the stakes are much higher. We’re talking air conditioning.

We begin when summer started, in earnest. The heat wave rolled in with temperatures of ninety degrees, but for some reason, I don’t turn on the air conditioning. One part of my house has central air, and it happens to be where the family room and my office are, but still I can’t bring myself to turn it on. By habit, I try not to turn on the air conditioning unless I absolutely have to.


I tough it out. It’s warm but not unbearable. I drink lots of iced drinks and wear tank tops and shorts. I tell myself I feel cool, even though the dogs pant and flop listlessly on the floor, flat as area rugs.

The cats don’t mince words. They walk around with signs that read: TURN ON THE AC, DUMMY.

I know if I had a window air conditioner, I’d feel differently. Then I would turn it on and it would cool down the one room I was in and nothing else. But central air has to cool the family room, kitchen, and office – all for one person.


When Daughter Francesca lived home, I would turn it on all the time. It makes sense, for two people.

But for one?


I sweat as I type away, and I’m on deadline, running out of steam. Still I think if I could just hang in a little longer, I could get through another day. Partly it’s the money, because the bill is so high, but it was high for two people too, so that can’t be the real reason. It’s not the money, but it seems wasteful.

For me alone.

Do you remember the commercial for L’Oreal haircolor, where the tagline said, Because you’re worth it?

I’ll explain, for those under seventy years old.

The idea was that L’Oreal was the most expensive of the at-home hair color kits, costing, if I remember correctly, twelve bucks a box.

Yes, there was a time when things cost twelve dollars.

And yes, there was a time when I did my own haircolor, and it looked it. I was a Nice N’ Easy fan, which went for six bucks and was neither nice nor easy.

They also called it hair painting, and we all know what a lousy painter I am. I’m the girl who paints around the pictures on the wall, so you can imagine what my roots looked like.


By the way, L’Oreal doesn’t use that tagline anymore, though its website asks, What Does Your Haircolor Say About You?

Which, I realized, is a more tactful way of saying, WHY DON’T YOU TURN ON THE AC, DUMMY?

I didn’t spring for the L’Oreal, and frankly, I don’t turn on the air conditioning because, at some, level, I don’t feel worth it.



Advocate of strong, independent women everywhere? Writer of books featuring same? Could I really have self-esteem that low?


I don’t know the answer, and I don’t want to know, but I turned on the air conditioning immediately, just to prove it to myself that I wasn’t a loser.

The dogs thanked me.

The cats didn’t.

They knew they were worth it, all along.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline