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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

On Intimacy, comfort, and bonding


As I write this, I am sitting on my sofa with Sasha, all 23 pounds of her, curled up so close to me that a piece of onion skin wouldn’t slide between us. Sasha is a particularly social dog, but to lie motionless as she is while I write is unusual. It would be far more typical for her to be eagerly wagging her tail and trying to engage me in a game or to take her for another walk instead of sitting with a computer on my lap.

Like many members of my generation, I have developed osteoarthritis in my knees, and they have been acting up over the last several days, probably due to weather changes and a bit of furniture moving. I can’t prove it, but I’m sure that Sasha knows this and that is why she is glued to me now. I am certain that this reflects both her sensitivity to other beings and the quality of our bond.

For my part, there is no denying that having her here by me provides a great deal of comfort, and even a reduction in physical discomfort. I’m sure that measurements of blood pressure, pulse, and stress hormones would reflect this. Her presence is comforting and healing.

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