Pet Owner Psychodynamics


I was wandering through the local Pet Smart recently looking for lamb and rice kibble for Karl, my socialist greyhound. His moniker, after Marx and Jung, reflects both my political philosophy and my interest in dream analysis.

It turned out there was a grooming special that day and  a variety of dogs were jauntily exiting the work station wearing Pet Smart bandanas. But it was the match up between owners and their pups that caught my attention. I have previously written on the subject of pets and politics and touched a bit upon the psychology.

Research has revealed that dog owners exhibit greater benefits than non-owners on dimensions as far-ranging as self-esteem, physical fitness, sociability, happiness, and overall health. Moreover, dog ownership has also been implicated in helping to alleviate symptoms of depression among terminally ill patients, the elderly, and veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Indeed, any pet owner can attest to the myriad of benefits that come with ownership—chief among them for young children is the facilitation in cultivating empathy towards others and enhancing responsibility in taking care of a living being other than oneself.

In fact, less pre-occupation with oneself is higher among dog owners when compared to non-owners, suggesting that the responsibility of taking care of another may release us somewhat from our egocentric tendencies. So one would assume that the empathic rewiring of the conservative brain might be therein facilitated, though their fondness for sociopathic dogs (Rottweilers, Pit Bulls etc) counter any such hope for rehabilitation towards the sociopolitical left. But I digress.

Back to Pet Smart: the first view I had was of a black Great Dane the size of a miniature horse. The owner was of similar size and none too friendly with poor eye contact and minimal verbalization. My thoughts were that she needs to keep people at a distance, possibly as a survivor of childhood trauma and with subsequent social avoidant tendencies.

An effeminate milquetoast was next up carrying a Shitzou with a bow up top. He was friendly enough, but with hypothesized sexual identity issues.

Behind him were Mr and Mrs Trendy smartly dressed yuppies, he with a Siberian Husky and she with a German Shepherd. The dogs were perfect in every way, mirroring the owners’ apparent narcissistic affectations.

A middle-aged fellow was next. Again friendly but  appearing rather simple and concrete in thought content. Not surprisingly he was followed closely by his overweight Basset Hound, not known as the Einsteins of the canine world.

The last encounter was with an elderly lady pushing a cart in which along with puppy paraphernalia were two items vaguely resembling canines. Apparently they were genetically modified mini “tea-cup” somethings about half the size of my cat.


Canis Fluoxetinus

She indicated they were her children. In truth they were 4 legged Prozac. Her late husband of 48 years stroked out some years back and the kids don’t call much anymore, at least this was my fantasized hypothesis.

As for myself I have a retired racing Florida greyhound a variety euphemistically referred to as a “45 mph couch potato”. He sleeps as much as the cat.

My life philosophy is that exercise pays off health wise at some point in the future, but laziness pays off immediately. And so I write on a sofa with a glass of Shiraz as he lies on his dog bed happily passing gas derived from chowing down on slices of German salami.

Most dog owners have a distorted view of loving animals. Their lives are not complete unless everything revolves around the companion animal which mirrors their intrapychic machinations.

In truth though, I am sure dogs just prefer to be chasing rodents and birds in the garden.

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2 Responses to “Pet Owner Psychodynamics”

  1. Carole Kocian says:

    Yew got yersef a rescue!

  2. kristina nadreau says:

    yes. 10 days ago a 2 pound pup was at my garbage can at 10 pm. a tiny Chihuahua pup about 6-7 weeks old. I did pit bull rescue in the USA and they are my breed of choice. Love the intelligence and sense of humor of the gnarly ones. Here in Belize I have been sought out by 4 potlickers. I have never had a tiny dog. But the little chi girl is just so cute??????? My spouse refers to her as “the thing”. She may stay.

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