If Dogs Were Therapists

Honey the Golden Retriever lies in the INHS offices.

No, I’m not a therapy dog. I’m a THERAPIST dog.

Mental health professionals better look out.

Because the comments on my Alternative Uses for a Dogs showed that a lot of people see dogs as substitutes for antidepressants, and maybe even therapists.

Plus, dogs warm your feet and lick spills up off the floor. I’d like to see a therapist do that.

What would a therapy session with Honey look like?

If Dogs Were Therapists

I can see myself entering a quiet office. Cushy pillows cover most of the floor. Nylabones, Kongs, and balls are scattered everywhere.

On a shelf, I see a glass jar of beef jerky.

I sit down on a cushion. Honey comes over and lays her head in my lap.

Here are some of the exchanges I imagine:

Pamela: Do you think I should take more walks?

Honey: What do you think?

««« »»»

Pamela: Sometimes I feel bored.

Honey (as a Jungian): You need to rely less on the shadow comforts of sailing, reading, and watching foreign films. Try to do more meaningful activities like chewing a stick or dropping a ball down the stairs.

««« »»»

Pamela: I cry over the silliest things.

Honey: You’re out of touch with your emotions and they seep out when you don’t expect it.

Try expressing them more. Howl at the moon. Whine when you’re hungry. And bark at the mail man.

««« »»»

Honey (as a Behaviorist): I want you to become more aware of how often you think negative thoughts.

Fill your pocket with treats. When you catch yourself saying something negative, pop a treat into your therapist’s mouth.

««« »»»

Pamela: I can’t understand why I get so competitive some times.

Honey (as a Freudian): You were born to compete.

In your mind, you are still a puppy scrambling over your litter mates for mother’s milk. And, as she weans you, you anxiously try to retain that attachment even while she pulls away.

Your competitive urges are simply you replaying the greatest competition of your puppyhood.

And as for antidepressants…

Honey the Golden Retriever shows her belly.

I know there are side effect warnings somewhere. But I can’t find them through all that fur.

If Puppies were Prozac

If puppies were Prozac, this is what you’d find printed on their fuzzy butts:

Puppies have few side effects when compared to other antidepressant drugs. However, no medication is entirely safe for every patient. Talk to your adoption counselor to know if these side effects would be a problem for you.

Side effects may include spontaneous squee incontinence, loss of desire to work, and long play sessions. Many people who take puppies also experience dog hair on their beds, clothing, and tongues.

Puppies may be addictive and may lower your desire to have a house free of animals.

In some people, the effectiveness of puppies seems to diminish with time and an increase in dosage is indicated. In these cases, talk with your adoption counselor who may suggest an increase of puppies or supplementation with another drug such as kittens or ferrets.

Now if only I could get kibble covered under my health insurance.

Do your dogs serve as therapists? Or do they cause you to need therapy?

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  1. Very clever!

  2. Ha ha both. When I was little I was a rotter. Now I am seven and have calmed down things are great. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Jack absolutely serves as a therapist…when he is snuggled in his bed and I climb in next to him…troubles melt away.

  4. Wonderful advice! You have a very perceptive therapist and I think you should do everything she recommends. Thanks for an uplifting and fun article!

  5. I agree with Molly: a bit of both!

  6. LOL what a great post!! I thought Sampson was a great therapist until one day last week when I lay down on the floor next to him and sobbed into his fur. He turned and gave me the stink eye. Honestly, I should have just paid my therapist the $20 co-pay. :-)

  7. Great post and loads of fun! I would say I am my peep’s number one therapist and consult with her daily. I have prescribe long walks with thinking, play when your stressed and have too much energy. Need to focus, get in the kitchen and bake some treats…Its working out quiet well for the both of us. Regardless if she says when I stare while she is eating that I drive her crazy!
    Dr. Maggie

  8. Heehee, very cute and clever! Love the Behaviorist one!

  9. Ha ha! Love this post! So funny :)

    Dogs are most certainly a form of anti-depressant. A few minutes with Del and I feel calm and all is right with the world again!

  10. I think that is all perfect!! Dogs are way smarter than humans in so many ways.

  11. In my one and only sojourn into therapy (psycho-babble) all I remember was hearing “And how did that make you feel?” “How did you feel about that?” and I’m thinking he had a gazillion years of education just to sit there and say that. That hour I spent would have bought a lot of dog food that would have financed much better therapy.

  12. this was just fabulous and in many instances so touching. I think Dakota’s therapeutic abilities are great when he is in a more “calm” mood……when he is in full-throttle barking mode then it is me who needs the therapist for sure!

  13. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    Love it! Callie & Shadow are my therapists; Ducky is both my therapist and the reason I need one. She’s sweet to me, but when she growls at Shadow she makes me wonder if I should see a shrink for having adopted her.

  14. This is a super-cute post! I especially love Honey’s behaviorist approach! 😀

  15. Bwahahahahahaha! Pawsome! I’m afraid that last is correct. I’ve recently had to supplement with baby chicks. Ten of them

  16. Woof! Woof! Golden Woof! Woof1 I am mom’s Therapist .. and she always compliments me as the best one. Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  17. “When you catch yourself saying something negative, pop a treat into your therapist’s mouth.” – really did LOL at that!
    They thought they might be driven to therapy when I was a pup, but now they find my presence very relaxing.

  18. Most of the time, they are the best therapists ever! I love just sitting and petting them, or getting out and walking away from my cares. However, there are times when certain pointy eared dogs here drive me to the nuthouse. We won’t mention any names here! 😛

  19. I agree…dogs make for awesome therapists! Although, sometimes it’s because of their ever mounting vet bills and weird idiosyncrasies that I think I need therapy in the first place. 😉

  20. Ha ha, too funny :) Life is always better when viewed from a dogs perspective!

  21. We think you are on to something. Every time mom thinks negatively, we should ALL get a treat!! We like that one!!

  22. Such a fun post Pamela…I do like the behaviorist best…Dogs are most definitely my therapists, my confessors and my favorite addictive, no prescription required drug

  23. Finally, Honey has given an example of Jungian therapy I can understand!
    Good dog! or… Therapist!

  24. I’m too fuzzy brained to think but this post is brilliant! You remember the cat-dog thing I so enjoyed at the very beginning? This rates up there. I’m sure Georgia the behaviourist would get FAT.