“After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~Philip Pullman
My dog, Phin, is adjusting to our new apartment. Sometimes he gets some anxiety that manifests in barking as he’s adjusting to new circumstances so we have a whole routine we’ve used many times to help him adjusted as quickly as possible. (Luckily that’s the only way it manifests!) Brandon McMillan, the host of the show Lucky Dog, recently did an episode about a dog who had severe separation anxiety and he suggested a layering technique that included recording his voice and playing it back in a loop when he left the dog home alone. I decided to give it a try.
I recorded some stories to play for Phin as I left him in our new place for the first time yesterday. I recorded Anne Lamott essays, J.K. Rowling’s speech when she was the graduation speaker at Harvard a few years ago, and a few of my own pieces. When I turned on the loop, Phin curled up in a blanket in front of my laptop, put his head down, and went to sleep. Amazing!
Stories are always a comfort to me. To read them, to write them, to revisit them when I need their encouragement and inspiration the most is a privilege I never take for granted. I never realized that reading them out loud could be so comforting for Phin, too. Philip Pullman was absolutely right—we all need a good story. Dogs included.