Sigmund Freud didn’t have a dog in his life until he was in his seventies. Then like a lot of people who don’t discover the joy of dogdom until late in life, he fell wildly in love. It’s like they have to make up for all those unfortunate, deprived dog-less years.
His daughter, Anna, first introduced a dog into the family. She got Wolf, a beautiful German Shepherd dog, to accompany her on long walks. Freud was so infatuated with Wolf that for his birthday Anna gave him a picture of Wolf. It might have been a gag gift, but Freud was quite pleased with it.
A couple of years later a breeder friend of Anna gave Freud one of her Chows, Lün-Yu, and Freud was in doggie heaven. Chows are often one person dogs and the two became inseparable.
Unfortunately Lün-Yu was hit by a train after 15 months and Freud was devastated. It took him seven months of grieving before he felt ready to accept another dog.
When Jofi, Lün-Yu’s sister, entered his life, nothing would be the same. Jofi quickly became part of every household activity, including being fed from Freud’s plate at dinner time.
Because he felt that dogs had a special sense regarding the human subconscious, she attended all of the therapy sessions that Freud held with his patients. Jofi was able to sense the patients’ demeanor, sitting close to Freud when a patient was calm and sitting across the room when she sensed that a patient was stressed.
She also kept time and would move toward the office door like clockwork when the time was up for the session.
Freud was ahead of his time in many ways. (A lot of the Freudians were wack-a-doodles, but Freud couldn’t help that.) He knew that dogs had emotions and an ability to emphasize with human feelings. He understood that a dog can have a calming, healing effect on a person.
His beliefs were pretty much ignored by the twentieth century behaviorists. But in recent years researchers have been “surprised” or “shocked” to learn what Freud and most of us dog owners know instinctively.
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~ Bern Williams