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A Dog in the Office? Why Not?

 By Peter Goldenthal, Ph.D., ABPP
 
About fifteen years ago, I began bringing Shira, my Portugese Water Dog, to the office, mostly so that she wouldn't be home alone all day. It soon became clear that she was exquisitely aware of the most subtle changes in the emotional temperature of the office. When patients were clam, she lay quietly next to me. When they were upset, she lay by them or licked their hands. And when there was a high degree of unexpressed conflict between spouses or partners, she paced. I thought I had stumbled on something unique until I remembered seeing photos of Freud's Chow, Jofi, and reading about how Freud would refer to Jofi in his interpretations. I am not aware of Freud referring to Jofi as a therapy dog or writing about animal assisted therapy. It seems clear, however, that he was ahead of his time in this as in other things. Read More 

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