Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To receive notifications about new content…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Want to receive notifications about new content in PEP Web? For more information about this feature, click here

To sign up to PEP Web Alert for weekly emails with new content updates click click here.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Marcus, P. (2007). “I'm Just Wild about Harry!” A Psychoanalyst Reflects on his Relationship with his Dog. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(4):639-656.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(4):639-656

“I'm Just Wild about Harry!” A Psychoanalyst Reflects on his Relationship with his Dog

Paul Marcus

It really explains why we can love an animal… with such extraordinary intensity; affection without ambivalence, the simplicity of a life free from the almost unbearable conflict of civilization, the beauty of an existence complete in itself…. Often when stroking Jo-fi [Freud's dog] I have caught myself humming a melody which, unmusical as I am, I can't help recognizing as the aria from Don Giovanni: “a bond of friendship unites us both.”

—Sigmund Freud (quoted in Steadman, 1979, p. 108)

Like Freud, and for that matter, like any devoted dog owner you happen to meet on the street or in the park, I love my dog. “He is my best friend,” I often say to people. Harry, a one-year-old cocker spaniel, was a “rescue” dog, a code word for a pup that was given up by his owner and either left on the street or given to a dog pound. In Harry's case, he was abused and abandoned, a stray found on the Brooklyn side of the Belt Parkway, starving, filthy with fleas and tics, and very frightened. According to the foster lady, Shirley, a remarkable woman from whom I obtained Harry and whose life mission is to rescue cocker spaniels from certain death in the pound or on the street and find them a good home, Harry was a sweet dog, though a traumatized one. When we first met Harry in her Queens, New York, home, he was still very skinny and fearful, with long floppy ears and sad eyes. Nevertheless, within a few minutes it was clear that both my wife and I, child and adult psychoanalysts, respectively, felt a summoning call from Harry, “Help me, love me, take good care of me.”


[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.