The Great Grisby

From Mikita Brotman’s The Great Grisby (HarperCollins, 2014), a book about dogs owned by famous people.  This chapter is about Freud and Yofi, but also mentions other psychoanalysts who had their dogs in the room: Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Karen Horney.

Illustration of Freud and Yofi by Davina Psamophis Falco

Sigmund Freud felt that dogs, unlike humans, display no ambivalence in their emotions. “One can love an animal,” he once said to his patient, the author H.D., “with such an extraordinary intensity: affection without ambivalence, the simplicity of a life free from the almost unbearable conflicts of civilization.”i While there was no ambivalence about Freud’s love for his chow Yofi, there was a revealing ambiguity about her name, which is spelled differently in different sources. The word “yofi” means “beauty” in Hebrew, but writing in German, where the letter ‘y’ is rarely used, Freud spelled it with a ‘j’. Other spellings of the dog’s name found in notes and correspondence include “Jo-Fi,” “Jo-Fie,” “Jofie”, and “Yofy.” The pronunciation, however, was always the same: “yoffi.”


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