“Hello, Aussie, it’s good to meet you. I’m going to throw you a ball and see what you do.”

“Are you crazy? You think we’re paying you all this money so that you could throw me balls?”

“Oh, I see. You talk.”

“How else are we going to do therapy?”

“Aussie, you’d be surprised how much we can get done in canine therapy. I can throw you balls, watch you play with treats, look at you in different ways and see your reactions. There are lots of things we can do without talking.”

“Forget that.”

“Aussie, in my defense, I don’t know other dogs that talk like you. You’re a first for me.”

“That’s because I’m living with a very verbal person. She’s a writer and, worse, a talker. You’d never guess she’s a Zen meditation teacher from how much she talks. My verbal diarrhea is all her fault. I’ve practically forgotten how to retrieve balls, but retrieving balls was never much of an interest for me; I don’t waste time on trivialities. Now, if you had Henry the illegal chihuahua here, you could fill the hour with throwing balls and you’d have the happiest client in the world. Dumb, but happy.”

“Who’s Henry?”

“Henry’s the little Mexican dog who came into our perfectly ordered home and created havoc. The floor is littered with Pinky the Elephant, Purple Haze, Wally Alligator, BooBoo Bear, Albert Puffin, and half a dozen rainbow monkeys. You can’t walk anywhere! The only reason Big Frog is no longer around is that he got caught in a tree.”

“How did that happen?”

“Henry tossed it back and forth, up and down, and got it caught so high in a tree Big Frog can’t come down. If only that happened to the rest of them. If only that happened to him!”

“Aussie, it sounds as if you don’t like Henry very much.”

“You’re a genius, doc.”

“Why, Aussie? He’s your little brother.”

“Stop with the bullshit, he ain’t family. Do you talk down to all your patients or just the canines?”

“Aussie, I don’t usually have dogs for clients. For one thing, I’m a Freudian.”

“What do you afreud of?”

“No, no, Aussie, I’m a Freudian. That means that I am treating two Aussies, not just one.”

“There aren’t two Aussies in the whole world.”

“There are, and both are in this room. There’s Conscious Aussie and Unconscious Aussie.”

“I don’t see another Aussie here.”

“Conscious Aussie is the one who tries to be a good girl, wants to eat and be loved. Unconscious Aussie is full of anger and resentment, especially towards her little brother—”

“He ain’t my brother!”

“—and maybe towards her human, Eve.”

“You may have a point about Eve. But with me, Doc, I think it’s the other way around. Conscious Aussie is the angry one. Not just angry, snotty and bitchy, too.”

“And Unconscious Aussie wants to be good and loved?”

“I told you, there is no other Aussie in the room, and certainly not that one. Just Conscious Aussie, just me.”

“Aussie, from many years of experience I can tell you there’s also Unconscious Aussie who wants to be loved and cared for. It comes from the time when you were a pup. How did you feel towards your father?”

“Never knew him.”

“Left you, eh?”

“German Shepherd from Texas. Bam bam, thank you ma’am, you know the type.”

“That’s it!”

“What’s it?”

“That may be the root of your hostility towards Henry and your human. On the one paw, you wanted your father to love you, so deep inside, that’s what you want. On the other paw you’re full of anger and resentment that he left, and that’s what you show anybody who tries to get close to you.”

“And on the third paw?”

“The third paw?”

“I’m a dog. Got four paws.”

“The point is, Aussie, I’m afraid you’re one, big, confused mess.”

“I thought you said there were two of me.”

“Two, four, ten, you’re a very complicated dog. Not to mention that you talk. And the whole thing about your father explains your fascination with Donald Trump.”


“You look at Donald Trump as the father you never had.”

“I want him to adopt me and take me to the White House.”

“It would make sense that you choose someone who doesn’t like dogs as your ideal father. It’s impossible, frustrating, and will never end well. Which means you’ll need to see me for the rest of your life. Meantime, I’ll give you some prescriptions.”

“I don’t take meds.”

“Liver-coated, venison infused gummies for depression. Gluten-free filet mignon tender bits to fight aggression, and Petticure calming chicken treats.”

“Hand them over.”

“Also, Slumbervest to give you a good night’s sleep.”

“You keep that one.”

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