Dogs and counselling. Are dogs replacing counsellors?

Therapy for dog owner and counsellor

Here's an interesting coincidence about dogs and counselling which I'm having a little fun with and would love to hear your thoughts on!

I have been using Google Trends this week.  Google Trends allows you to look at usage of particular search terms across the internet, and see how they are changing. I decided to look at the search terms over the last 5 years from the UK, related to dogs and counselling (because it's my specialist subject).

The first search term I looked at was 'dogs for sale'. How does the number of people in the UK, using google search to buy a dog, change over this time?  Then, additionally, how many searches have there been for dog training, or dog behaviourists.  Finally I looked at how many people were looking for counselling and how had that changed over the same time.

The graph, shown below, makes interesting reading.  The searches for dogs for sale, dog training and counsellors shows an annual cycle, with some differences.

During the Christmas week over the last 5 years, there has been an annual peak for 'dogs for sale'.   In other words, this is the busiest time on the internet for people looking for dogs to buy.  The number of searches for dog trainers is much lower, but it also shows an increase in the Christmas week.  This seems to make sense, as more people look to buy a dog, more people will also want to know about dog training.  However, during the Christmas week, people using google to search for counselling slumps to an annual low.  This is repeated over the last five years.

So I conclude that at Christmas time people are more likely to buy a dog. And at Christmas time people are less likely to look for counselling.  Are the two things related?  Can I conclude that because people are buying a dog they no longer need a counsellor?!  The dog has replaced the counsellor? Just wondering, because as a counsellor for dog owners, I might need to re-think my therapy service.

I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

2 Responses

  1. Dee Trueman
    | Reply

    Hi, I have battled illness for just over 12 years now, it started with cancer which had spread, I went through a battery of treatments (chemo & radiotherapy + brachytherapy to finish) I beat the cancer after a year and numerous operations & though I was struggling with the fact is never have anymore children (took me 7 years to fall with my daughter who was 2 months premature, lost my second due to hospital error) I was doing ok and feeling positive about the future. Sadly as time went on I became more and more I’ll with different problems and spent more and more time in hospital. It turned out that though at first they thought my bowel was twisting, I was actually suffering from radiation poisoning from my treatment. You can get this on different scales and sadly mine was one of the worst cases. To cut a very long story short, I lost my bowel, bladder & 6 discs in my spine were damaged they had completely disengaged from my spine and are now lay vertically alongside it. They are unable to fix my back because my bones are to weak to pin and will crumble. This left me with chronic pain, 2 colostomy bags, a battery of medication and being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. As you might imagine after living a very active life of hiking, mountain climbing, climbing indoors & out, walking my dogs & working/owning horses to sitting in a wheelchair in constant pain with these two horrible disgusting bags on my stomach I became very depressed. I tried coucilling but it was s disaster. One councillor told me the reason I was so depressed was because I’d gotten fat (her words) and was disgusted with myself and another said I don’t think your depressed I think your being controlled by your fiance! I was so upset at that lady remark because my fiance has stood by my side from day one, he’s given up everything, his home, his career, his cars, his life to care for me & my daughter, who was just 3 when this all started, and all he’s ever wanted is the best for me and to see me smile again. He never stops me doing anything, infarct he would encourage me to try things after being I a very controlling & abusive marriage before I met him. So I gave up on councilling and just left it alone. Now while I’d been ill I had a wonderful Dalmatian called Dasha, he was my baby. My fiance had bought him as a surprise for me when I went into remission. At 2 years of age he started having a number of problems and after finding out his brother had passed away we took him to the vet where we were told he had a brain tumour. My world was already crumbling at this point and to find out I was losing my joy was heartbreaking and soul destroying. After my illness he’d been by my side every single day, he never left me, and he was actually an amazing support to me, when I was having a bad pain day he would cuddle up close and kiss me letting me know he was there. I can’t explain it, but it was like he knew which days were bad for pain, which days were bad for sadness and which days were just your average day in our lives. There was nothing they could do for him and at 2 & 3 quarter years of age he went to sleep in my arms. That day broke me. My councilling had been a few years later after I’d spiralled downwards and that had failed me too. Then this little dog dog came that needed rescuing. We already 2 older dogs which we’d rescued years before, but they were my daughter’s dog and my fiancée’s dog, I no longer had my boy and couldn’t face having another to just lose him. However always helping animals we went and rescued this little miniature dachshund and from day 1 she latched onto me. She was only 6 months and had been through so much that I use gave her so much love, before long I realised she was different like my bitvhsf been. She would know good and bad days, she would pick up on what it was that was causing the bad day and before long she was supporting me. When I fell out my chair she ran to my fiance barking then.back to me where she sat in my arms, when I’m in bed very ill she refuses to leave me at all curling up beside me making sure she’s touching, when I’m upset she would kiss me, wipe away my tears. Overtime our bond became strong but something else she would do. I started having problems leaving my home. I would stay indoors 1-2 months at a time and when I did have to go outbid started having panic attacks, feeling like everyone was staring at, thinking they could see my stomas through my clothing, or that they could smell them, then I started thinking because I had put weight on that people were thinking I was in my wheelchair because I was fat. However, one day I went out and Moomin came with me. The second I started feeling that attack coming she was on my knee kidding me, protecting me and calming me down. She is my support dog, she is my councillor and she goes everywhere possible with me. Sadly we do not give support dogs for people who can’t leave the house or who suffer with depression/mental health issues and because she’s never been officially trained as an alert dog, she doesn’t have a card stating she should be by my side at all times, however she wears a vest when we go out that says support dog, just so she is left alone to work. When that vest goes on she does everything she’s supposed to. I’m not saying she’s as clever or as well trained as official service dogs but she’s perfect for me, she knows me, my problems and how to stop them. She is also currently learning when I sit scratching my leg, or arm when I’m stressing that she should nudge my hand to stop me. It’s coming on well. In the UK I don’t think we value dogs enough for what they are capable of. I just wish people in my situation could get more help. Without my Moomin i think I’d be totally lost in my dark abyss.

    I hope that wasn’t all rambling, I had to cut out so much that happened to make it this short

    • joframe
      | Reply

      Dear Dee,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your story and your experiences. The relationships you describe with Dascha and Moomin are remarkable. I can’t imagine what it must be like to go through the health difficulties you have had. Moomin sounds like a wonderful character in how she helps you. I think you are right in what you say about our lack of recognition of dogs as a nation. It’s some comfort to know that dogs still manage to find us out and help us,as yours have. I don’t feel you have rambled at all. I’m honoured that you shared your story on my page.

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