Following reports of a severe spike in depressed pets during the last year, researchers at the University of California – Santa Cruz found a surprising correlation between a rare, little-investigated disorder among Midwestern pets and a certain American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)-sponsored commercial featuring popular 1990’s recording artist Sarah McLachlan.
The commercial, set to the lyrics of McLachlan’s hit single “Angel,” features domestic animals who are victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect. The commercial has become quite popular since its introduction in the early 2000’s, and has only recently come under fire due to the link between the widespread outbreak of animal depression and peak airing hours of the commercial.
“The song appears to spark an unusual disorder known as ‘temporary-onset dysphoric depression,’ in which feline and canine viewers suffered an almost immediate and dramatic drop in mood. They presented many of the symptoms of major depression in clinical trials,” said Dr. Benito Jones-Smith, a leading Animal Psychology professor from UC – Santa Cruz.
“For many humans, this ‘Sad Pet Syndrome’ seems to be nothing more than a gloomy mood. SPS renders human viewers unable to change the channel but leaves them with just enough energy to call a hotline within the next 30 seconds.” continued Professor Jones-Smith.
“For pets, however, the disease is quite debilitating and dangerous if prolonged for the full two minute run-time of the commercial. We urge citizens to change the channel as soon as the commercial starts, no matter how adorable and incredibly sad the cute puppies are.”