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The Neurotic Dogs


When pondering whether my neurosis is learned or genetic, I often turn to the family dogs, Frazier (9) and Jake (4), and see the likelihood of a learned origin. My parents' characteristic anxiety has effectively seeped into both dogs' personas.

My mother and father are both card-carrying neurotics with drastically different sensibilities. The former engages in an overt style of panic characterized by covering her eyes when our car seems close to hitting another car that's three hundred yards down the road. The latter is more of a concealer; I would cite one of his quirks in this sentence, but the ensuing disownment would be harsh.

Frazier, a beige mix of Bichon and Poodle, arrived in our home when I was in the ninth grade. For the first few months, he struck us as an emotionally balanced individual, but it wasn't long before the wide, glassy eyes and quivering lower lip set in. Like his human siblings before him, he experienced separation anxiety in the absence of his parents. Unlike his human siblings, Frazier saw it fit to pace around the unoccupied house for hours, howling to the ceiling and holding his paw against his beating heart. Such behavior, though unquestionably neurotic, was at least grounded in recognizable childhood symptomology. It wasn't until the arrival of Jake, during Frazier's fifth year, that Frazier experienced a full-fledged nervous breakdown.

Given the instability of Frazier's ego, the appearance of Jake--an energetic full-blooded poodle with black hair and a trim gray beard--was emotionally catastrophic. When he wasn't lying on his stomach leering into the abyss, Frazier went as far as to commit acts of physical violence upon his younger brother. We knew not to be fooled by the innocent look in Frazier's eye when his leash somehow ended up around Jake's neck.

Jake, who entered our home as somewhat of a free spirit, was oblivious to Frazier's brooding melancholy. He ran and played with the best of them. He developed a flourishing social identity among the locals. However, it wasn't long before the torch of neurosis was passed onto Jake. From whose hands or paws the torch came is difficult to determine, but genetic theories strike me as inadmissible.

Jake's inaugural phobia was a fear of vacuum cleaners. We have various vacuums in our home, and Jake's fear of each is proportional to its size and volume. When the biggest vacuum is about to be used, Jake requires an explicit and descriptive monologue preparing him for what is to come. The monologue is best performed with the speaker's hand firmly applied to the top of Jake's head. We've found that with the aid of such verbal reassurances, Jake's anxiety in the presence of the vacuum cleaners has decreased by 3 or 4 percent.

By now, we're pleased to announce that Frazier has overcome his initial aversion to Jake. Not only do they dine together frequently, but they've also come to display the sincerest form of love in our family: they worry about one another. When Jake's out jogging in the backyard and Frazier's sobbing from the window, his tears run rich with affection.

About The Author

Eric Shapiro is the author of "Short of a Picnic," a collection of fictional stories about people living with mental disorders.

shortofapicnic@aol.com


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Mon. October / 14 / 2019

Pet of the Week: 2019 pets - WTOP
Pet of the Week: 2019 pets  WTOP

East Bay pets of the week for Oct. 18 - East Bay Times
East Bay pets of the week for Oct. 18  East Bay Times

NJ pets in need: Oct. 14, 2019 - NJ.com
NJ pets in need: Oct. 14, 2019  NJ.com

Pet disaster relief rolls out help for pets in Chester County - Daily Local News
Pet disaster relief rolls out help for pets in Chester County  Daily Local News

Pets of the Week | Pets - Index-Journal
Pets of the Week | Pets  Index-Journal

65 pets find homes at adoption event - WILX-TV
65 pets find homes at adoption event  WILX-TV

Woman, pets rescued from Fitchburg fire - WCVB Boston
Woman, pets rescued from Fitchburg fire  WCVB Boston

Pets die in Virginia Beach townhouse fire - 13newsnow.com WVEC
Pets die in Virginia Beach townhouse fire  13newsnow.com WVEC

El Paso Animal Services’ plan to keep local pets fed - KTSM 9 News
El Paso Animal Services’ plan to keep local pets fed  KTSM 9 News

FanPulse Week 7: ‘Our Pets’ Heads Are Falling Off’ - Black Heart Gold Pants
FanPulse Week 7: ‘Our Pets’ Heads Are Falling Off’  Black Heart Gold Pants

Bark-b-ques and dog spas: More central Ohio apartments welcoming pets - The Columbus Dispatch
Bark-b-ques and dog spas: More central Ohio apartments welcoming pets  The Columbus Dispatch

Pets with Potential: Meet Honey - WCAX
Pets with Potential: Meet Honey  WCAX

Here's exactly how much it costs to own 12 common household pets - Business Insider
Here's exactly how much it costs to own 12 common household pets  Business Insider

Pet Talk | Urinary-tract disorders common in cats - Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette
Pet Talk | Urinary-tract disorders common in cats  Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Miranda Lambert's foundation helps pets find homes during adoption event - NewsChannel5.com
Miranda Lambert's foundation helps pets find homes during adoption event  NewsChannel5.com

Virtual Pets, Virtual People and Virtual Immortality - TechNewsWorld
Virtual Pets, Virtual People and Virtual Immortality  TechNewsWorld

Are pets really good for us – or just hairy health hazards? - The Guardian
Are pets really good for us – or just hairy health hazards?  The Guardian

Rats as pets: Some people say absolutely. - The Washington Post
Rats as pets: Some people say absolutely.  The Washington Post

Vet warns against feeding your pets alternative diets - WAFF
Vet warns against feeding your pets alternative diets  WAFF

Uber makes it easier to ride with animals, launches Uber Pets - WLS-TV
Uber makes it easier to ride with animals, launches Uber Pets  WLS-TV

Adoptable pets showcased at Las Vegas Pride Festival - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adoptable pets showcased at Las Vegas Pride Festival  Las Vegas Review-Journal

How Do We Prevent Pets from Becoming Exotic Invaders? - Scientific American
How Do We Prevent Pets from Becoming Exotic Invaders?  Scientific American

13 Wolf Dog Breeds: Siberian Husky, Northern Inuit Dog, and more - WomansDay.com
13 Wolf Dog Breeds: Siberian Husky, Northern Inuit Dog, and more  WomansDay.com

Lost Dog, Sandy Colored Wire-Haired Terrier in Aberdeen - Southern Pines Pilot
Lost Dog, Sandy Colored Wire-Haired Terrier in Aberdeen  Southern Pines Pilot

The important things every pet owner should know, according to vets - INSIDER
The important things every pet owner should know, according to vets  INSIDER

Photos: Adoptable Pets at Onslow County Animal Services, Oct. 14 - Jacksonville Daily News
Photos: Adoptable Pets at Onslow County Animal Services, Oct. 14  Jacksonville Daily News

San Francisco SPCA Launches Weekly Walk-In Wellness Clinics For Pets - CBS San Francisco
San Francisco SPCA Launches Weekly Walk-In Wellness Clinics For Pets  CBS San Francisco

KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Ranger - KCBD
KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Ranger  KCBD

Temperatures take a nose dive; Here’s how to protect your pets - FOX 31 Denver
Temperatures take a nose dive; Here’s how to protect your pets  FOX 31 Denver

The benefits of exotic pets for children on the autism spectrum - WJLA
The benefits of exotic pets for children on the autism spectrum  WJLA

PETS COLUMN: Handling canine meningoencephaloceles - Enid News & Eagle
PETS COLUMN: Handling canine meningoencephaloceles  Enid News & Eagle

Got photos of your pets in Halloween costumes? We’d like to see them - AL.com
Got photos of your pets in Halloween costumes? We’d like to see them  AL.com

Pets of the week: Tonka and Betsy need somebody to love - MLive.com
Pets of the week: Tonka and Betsy need somebody to love  MLive.com

Adorable Adoptable Pets Of The Week: Rainbow, Missy Kay, Scruffy - Anne Arundel, MD Patch
Adorable Adoptable Pets Of The Week: Rainbow, Missy Kay, Scruffy  Anne Arundel, MD Patch

4 escape house fire in Syracuse; 2 pets rescued - syracuse.com
4 escape house fire in Syracuse; 2 pets rescued  syracuse.com

Justorian Alpacas raises alpacas as pets, offers products at farm store - Leader-Telegram
Justorian Alpacas raises alpacas as pets, offers products at farm store  Leader-Telegram

Julianne Hough Dogs: 'America's Got Talent' Judge Mourns Pets - Closer Weekly
Julianne Hough Dogs: 'America's Got Talent' Judge Mourns Pets  Closer Weekly

Animal welfare advocates protest at Lexington pet store Kylen Mills 6:47 PM, Oct 12, 2019 - LEX18 Lexington KY News
Animal welfare advocates protest at Lexington pet store Kylen Mills 6:47 PM, Oct 12, 2019  LEX18 Lexington KY News

Rescue flights help with pet overpopulation - KOKH FOX25
Rescue flights help with pet overpopulation  KOKH FOX25

‘Doga,’ or yoga with dogs, new this year at annual Brady Street Pet Parade - WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee
‘Doga,’ or yoga with dogs, new this year at annual Brady Street Pet Parade  WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

Dozens of pets rescued, 3 perish in Hwy. 26 trailer crash - KTVZ
Dozens of pets rescued, 3 perish in Hwy. 26 trailer crash  KTVZ

Pet of the Week - Troy Daily News
Pet of the Week  Troy Daily News

Dog advent calendars - 10 best advent calendars for pets - Countryliving (UK)
Dog advent calendars - 10 best advent calendars for pets  Countryliving (UK)

Global Pet Food Market, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2024 - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire
Global Pet Food Market, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2024 - ResearchAndMarkets.com  Business Wire

Oklahoma veterinarian warns against disease contagious to pets, humans - KOCO Oklahoma City
Oklahoma veterinarian warns against disease contagious to pets, humans  KOCO Oklahoma City

Photos: Kenner firefighters fight blaze that damaged 14 business; two pets rescued - NOLA.com
Photos: Kenner firefighters fight blaze that damaged 14 business; two pets rescued  NOLA.com

Rescue pets of the week: Orton and Rusty - SC Times
Rescue pets of the week: Orton and Rusty  SC Times

Florida Wildlife Officials Offer Exotic Pet Amnesty Program - WUSF News
Florida Wildlife Officials Offer Exotic Pet Amnesty Program  WUSF News

Owners present pets to Philippines priest for blessing - Reuters
Owners present pets to Philippines priest for blessing  Reuters

Do you really need pet insurance? How to tell whether it's worth it - Chicago Tribune
Do you really need pet insurance? How to tell whether it's worth it  Chicago Tribune

‘He’s My World’: Family Worries About Missing Pets During Sandalwood Fire - KTLA Los Angeles
‘He’s My World’: Family Worries About Missing Pets During Sandalwood Fire  KTLA Los Angeles

These adorable pets need new homes! - WCVB Boston
These adorable pets need new homes!  WCVB Boston

News 2’s Pet of the Week: Mario - WCBD News 2
News 2’s Pet of the Week: Mario  WCBD News 2

Paws & Pals: Fluffy and cuddly pets - News 12 Long Island
Paws & Pals: Fluffy and cuddly pets  News 12 Long Island

Adoptable Alexandria Pet: Senior Cat To Snuggle With - Del Ray, VA Patch
Adoptable Alexandria Pet: Senior Cat To Snuggle With  Del Ray, VA Patch

You can adopt 20 remarkable pets on Staten Island this weekend: Oct. 12-13 - SILive.com
You can adopt 20 remarkable pets on Staten Island this weekend: Oct. 12-13  SILive.com

Pet of the week: Reggie - Billings Gazette
Pet of the week: Reggie  Billings Gazette

87 pets removed from condemned Phoenixville, Pennsylvania home - WPVI-TV
87 pets removed from condemned Phoenixville, Pennsylvania home  WPVI-TV

Uber Launches 'Uber Pets' So That Fido Can Now Ride Shotgun - Our Community Now at Maryland
Uber Launches 'Uber Pets' So That Fido Can Now Ride Shotgun  Our Community Now at Maryland

Ellen DeGeneres Creates New Pet Product Collection to Entertain All the Dogs She Keeps Adopting - PEOPLE.com
Ellen DeGeneres Creates New Pet Product Collection to Entertain All the Dogs She Keeps Adopting  PEOPLE.com

Pets in Need of Homes: Bobbi (Brought to You by A Furry Tail) - Saucon Source
Pets in Need of Homes: Bobbi (Brought to You by A Furry Tail)  Saucon Source

Millennials favor pet ownership over children in America's increasingly unaffordable cities. - City Journal
Millennials favor pet ownership over children in America's increasingly unaffordable cities.  City Journal

Pet Parade: MSPCA’s Cape Cod Adoption Center - CBS Boston
Pet Parade: MSPCA’s Cape Cod Adoption Center  CBS Boston

Area animal shelters team up to get pets adopted - KMBC Kansas City
Area animal shelters team up to get pets adopted  KMBC Kansas City

Fort Worth Animal Shelter Full; Pets 35 Pounds Or More Available For Free - CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Fort Worth Animal Shelter Full; Pets 35 Pounds Or More Available For Free  CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Denver 1 Of 7 Cities To Test ‘Uber Pet’ Program - CBS Denver
Denver 1 Of 7 Cities To Test ‘Uber Pet’ Program  CBS Denver

Youths spat at and threatened pet shop staff in Dundee - BBC News
Youths spat at and threatened pet shop staff in Dundee  BBC News

'Like he vanished out of thin air': Dozens of pets missing in Buccaneer Bay community - KETV Omaha
'Like he vanished out of thin air': Dozens of pets missing in Buccaneer Bay community  KETV Omaha

Tammy Judges Pet Costume For Pitties In The Park! - RADIO.COM
Tammy Judges Pet Costume For Pitties In The Park!  RADIO.COM

Pet of the Week: Meet Church & Pebbles! - WMTV
Pet of the Week: Meet Church & Pebbles!  WMTV

Portland woman sentenced to psychological help after more than 52 pets seized - OregonLive
Portland woman sentenced to psychological help after more than 52 pets seized  OregonLive

Scott Underwood column: Madison tells stories of pet redemption - The Herald Bulletin
Scott Underwood column: Madison tells stories of pet redemption  The Herald Bulletin

MAS to participate in BISSELL Pet Foundation's Empty the Shelters event - WMC
MAS to participate in BISSELL Pet Foundation's Empty the Shelters event  WMC

CHOICES, Columbus Humane partner to house pets of domestic violence survivors - 10TV
CHOICES, Columbus Humane partner to house pets of domestic violence survivors  10TV

Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value - The Wall Street Journal
Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value  The Wall Street Journal

Pet Doc: Osteosarcoma - NTV
Pet Doc: Osteosarcoma  NTV

How pets improve our health - CNN
How pets improve our health  CNN

Giant dog appears to pet small rescue kitten in adorable viral video - Fox News
Giant dog appears to pet small rescue kitten in adorable viral video  Fox News

6 signs that indicate you're neglecting your pet rabbit - Countryliving (UK)
6 signs that indicate you're neglecting your pet rabbit  Countryliving (UK)

84 pets rescued from overcrowded shelter in South headed to Michigan - MLive.com
84 pets rescued from overcrowded shelter in South headed to Michigan  MLive.com

Pet Pampering - The New York Times
Pet Pampering  The New York Times

Coyote-pet conflicts are nothing new, but feeding the wildlife could escalate the problem in the Farmington Valley - Hartford Courant
Coyote-pet conflicts are nothing new, but feeding the wildlife could escalate the problem in the Farmington Valley  Hartford Courant

James Island neighborhood worried after wild dogs kill pets - Live 5 News WCSC
James Island neighborhood worried after wild dogs kill pets  Live 5 News WCSC

Pet rabbits are often condemned to unhappy, disease-ridden lives - Daily Mail
Pet rabbits are often condemned to unhappy, disease-ridden lives  Daily Mail

Road Rants: Florida’s laws on driving with pets - WFLA
Road Rants: Florida’s laws on driving with pets  WFLA

Couple banned from keeping dogs for three years after starving pets - Daily Mail
Couple banned from keeping dogs for three years after starving pets  Daily Mail

Did you know your pets are more at risk from passive smoking than humans?' - The Telegraph
Did you know your pets are more at risk from passive smoking than humans?'  The Telegraph

Animal Welfare – Adopt a pet - Stillwater News Press
Animal Welfare – Adopt a pet  Stillwater News Press

Pet Turtles Linked to Salmonella Outbreak: CDC - WebMD
Pet Turtles Linked to Salmonella Outbreak: CDC  WebMD

U.S. demand for pets and skins threatens some African animals - National Geographic
U.S. demand for pets and skins threatens some African animals  National Geographic

Three people, 10 pets safe after house fire in NE Portland - KPTV.com
Three people, 10 pets safe after house fire in NE Portland  KPTV.com

Adoptable pet: Meet Liz - Tallahassee Democrat
Adoptable pet: Meet Liz  Tallahassee Democrat

Pet of the Week: Aziraphale | Videos - South Bend Tribune
Pet of the Week: Aziraphale | Videos  South Bend Tribune

Akron's One of a Kind Pet Rescue seeking donations to care for nearly 50 sick dogs - News 5 Cleveland
Akron's One of a Kind Pet Rescue seeking donations to care for nearly 50 sick dogs  News 5 Cleveland

Why Do I Use Baby Talk With Pets? Experts Say Your Habit Has Its Perks - Elite Daily
Why Do I Use Baby Talk With Pets? Experts Say Your Habit Has Its Perks  Elite Daily

Pet Talk: Veterinary Technician Week - KBTX
Pet Talk: Veterinary Technician Week  KBTX

No more 'dog pound': Pets at Kitsap Humane Society get open, airy adoption center - Kitsap Sun
No more 'dog pound': Pets at Kitsap Humane Society get open, airy adoption center  Kitsap Sun

Not cross bunnies: can a pet rabbit ever be happy? - The Guardian
Not cross bunnies: can a pet rabbit ever be happy?  The Guardian

Area pets available for adoption (PHOTOS), Oct. 9, 2019 - OregonLive
Area pets available for adoption (PHOTOS), Oct. 9, 2019  OregonLive

These cute Halloween pet costumes are everything we need right now! - USA TODAY
These cute Halloween pet costumes are everything we need right now!  USA TODAY

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