Have Hope, Be Well, Happy Holidays!

Mental illnesses do not observe holidays. But I do.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. 

— Pete Earley

Here is a little something my friend, Sam Ormes sent me recently to share.

Sigmund Freud in 1937.

Beside Freud’s Couch, a Chow Named Jofi

 Sigmund Freud wasn’t only the father of psychoanalysis. He was a pioneer in canine-assisted therapy as well. In his later years, his Chinese chow, Jofi, frequently stayed in his office during sessions.

Freud thought Jofi had a calming effect, particularly on children, and admitted that she helped him assess patients, according to Stanley Coren, a psychologist and dog lover, in 1997 his book, “What Do Dogs Know?” When patients were calm, Jofi sat close enough to be patted, but she moved far across the room from those who were anxious.

Freud noticed that patients would respond more openly and candidly when Jofi was present. And her judgment was unaffected by pretense. As he wrote, “Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate in their object relations.”

At the time, Freud shared his Vienna office with his daughter, Anna, and her wolfhound. Both dogs had the run of the office and both would bark loudly whenever the doorbell rang, according to psychiatrist Roy Grinker, who was analyzed by Freud on a fellowship in 1932.

During the therapy, Jofi would lie alongside the couch and Freud would often talk through her, Dr. Grinker wrote. If she scratched to be let out, Freud would say, “Jofi doesn’t approve of what you’re saying.” And if she wanted back in, he’d say, “Jofi has decided to give you another chance.”

Once when Dr. Grinker was emoting vigorously, Jofi jumped on top of him and Freud said, “You see, Jofi is so excited that you’ve been able to discover the source of your anxiety!”     — Melinda Beck.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.


  1. Hi Pete,
    Thought you would find this of interest.