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We as a family are experts in the area of ‘therapy’. We have all sorts of disorders from OCD to anxiety attacks to depression…we’re a walking psych ward — which may or may not explain our writing and screwball view of life. One could make a valid and persuasive argument that someone who has emotional or related problems him or herself would make a good shrink. At least they’d be compassionate and understand the angst of patients.

In just the same way, we have come upon a possible brilliant solution to the behavioural problems of The Pig (L’il Sis’s beagle and my carpet’s arch nemesis). You may recall that, when Poochie was alive and queen of my household, The Pig made statements — in the form of pees –to get across her displeasure at not being Top Bitch. When Poochie died, so did the statements. My carpets have remained dry (if stained) for months.

“Ma, The Pig is playing you,” Gill insisted. “She knows you and L’il Sis are softies. I wouldn’t trust her for a second. The minute your back is turned and something displeases her, you’ll be back ordering carpet cleaner by the case!”

“No, she seems to be fine now. She was just suffering anxiety when she wasn’t being made to feel important.” See? I watch Dr. Phil and know all about bad self-image and bullying.

It turns out, and it pains me to admit this, Gill was correct. A few weeks ago, L’il Sis’s schedule changed and she had to leave The Pig alone for hours during the day. Since The Pig had not been an integral part of this new job decision-making process, her insecurities rose to the fore. This time she peed on L’il Sis’s carpet. Then, because she hadn’t totally vented her anger, she crapped on the bed. And then threw up. Her message came through loud and clear. A crate was purchased for her. We’d teach her a lesson, show her who’s boss. When she ate through the crate to show what she thought about being locked up, in the groove of modern permissive parenting, L’il Sis scurried right out to buy toys for The Pig.

“Poor darling…she must be bored all day, home alone with nothing to do,” lamented my youngest daughter.

“Bored, my ass!” quipped Gill. “That Pig is a bitch and needs to be taken down a peg or two. Wait til Christmas and I’ll take her in hand and show her a thing or two.”

But her sister had a Better Idea. Since the dog was bored, she needed something constructive to do. She needed a job. L’il Sis and Other Brother used to spend hours watching ‘Dogs With Jobs’ on t.v. And so, in a move so twisted it’s brilliant, she signed The Pig up to be a…wait for it, a THERAPY DOG! Yup, the inmates are running the asylum. The dog with extreme anxiety issues is going to be soothing and calming hospital patients, autistic kids, elderly folks with dementia.

Where to start? This is either a genius move or the worst idea ever. I know which way Gill’s voting.

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