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…
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?