Freud’s Last Session: What Happened to Sigmund Freud’s Dog Jofi?

A fictional meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis is at the center of ‘Freud’s Last Session.’ Starring Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Goode, the film takes place over the course of a day, where Freud and Lewis have a conversation about their beliefs (mainly their conflicting views about God), their parents, and the past that has shaped them to be the people they came to be. It is an interesting conversation, as both sides, particularly Freud, try to psychoanalyze the other and make their point. In between this, we also meet Freud’s beloved dog, Jofi. While the title cards at the end tell us what happened to Freud and Lewis, it doesn’t tell us what happened to Jofi.

Sigmund Freud’s Dog Outlived Him

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Freud got Jofi, a Chow Chow, in 1937, and the next year, the Freud family, including their beloved dog, had to flee Vienna for London due to the threat of the Nazis, who had targeted Freud not just for being Jewish but also for his works on psychoanalysis, among other things. When they arrived in Dover, Jofi was taken away for the mandatory quarantine at Ladbroke Grove for six months. However, 82-year-old Freud visited him a few days later and kept his visits regular. Six months later, Freud and Jofi were reunited, and the event was captured by the media.

As Freud’s health worsened, he found that his dog would often turn away from him, possibly due to the odor from his mouth. Still, the dog remained by his side. When Freud died in 1939, Jofi stayed at his London home with Freud’s daughter, Anna, and was joined by other dogs who belonged to her, enjoying long walks along Hampstead Heath and living a good, long life. Anna Freud had several Chow Chows after Jofi’s passing, and she later named another dog Jofi in honor of her father’s favorite pet.

While it seems like Freud’s time with the dog was highly short-lived, one would find comfort in the fact that this wasn’t his first Jofi. The original Jofi, a large orange-brown Chow Chow, came into Freud’s life in 1930. The reason behind choosing a Chow Chow was that a few years ago when Freud went through surgery for his cancer, he was accompanied during his recovery by his friend Princess Marie Bonaparte’s Chow Chow named Topsy.

As Freud’s connection with Jofi grew deeper, he started to let the dog attend the sessions with his patients. The psychoanalyst noted that the dog kept time, promptly moving towards the door when a session was nearing its end. Her reaction to Freud’s clients also helped him understand the people in front of him better. The dog would accompany her master almost everywhere. In 1937, when Jofi was found to have ovarian cysts, Freud arranged for her to have surgery in the hopes of saving her life. However, a few days later, the dog’s heart failed, and she died, leaving Freud utterly inconsolable. A few days after that, he got another Chow Chow, who was also named Jofi.

Apart from the two Jofis, the Freud household had other dogs as well. The first dog to join the family was a black Alsatian named Wolf, whom Freud brought in 1925 as a companion and protector of his daughter, Anna. In 1928, he received a dog of his own from Anna’s friend, Dorothy Burlingham. The Chow Chow was called Lün-Yu, who died about a year later in a tragic accident. For the six months in London that Freud was away from Jofi (the second one), he briefly had a Pekingese named Jumbo. However, even after all these dogs, his favorite remained Jofi.

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