Monday, December 27, 2010

Sometimes a dog is just a dog


You’ve heard of therapy dogs—well, Freud had one.

Melinda Beck wrote about Sigmund Freud’s dog, a Chinese chow named Jofi. How a Chinese chow differs from a chow chow, and why chow chow has two chows, I have no idea.

Anyhow, the great analyst thought dogs had a calming effect. In his book, What Do Dogs Know, psychologist Stanley Coren said Jofi sat next to calm patients and moved away from those who were anxious.

Freud shared an office with his daughter Anna and her wolfhound. Both were barkers when someone rang the bell, according to this. I can relate—my dog goes into a frenzy, which is the opposite of therapy for me.

Freud also used the dog kind of against the patient. If Jofi scratched to be let out, the doctor would say, “Jofi doesn’t approve of what you are saying.” If she came back in, he’d tell the patient Jofi was granting another chance.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but if my doctor had a judgmental mutt, I would be cautious, thinking I was learning more about doc than I wanted to know.

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