I saw this in the new arrivals section at the library tonight. I know we live in a therapeutic age which makes a virtue of emotional incontinence, but I’m afraid this particular manifestation is even worse than I thought. But if people no longer feel embarrassed by the indignity of presenting themselves as fundamentally broken, then let’s try a different approach: pets are noble creatures who simply don’t deserve to bear the burden of your psychological weakness. They are not furry Kleenex for absorbing all your pain and despair. You owe it to them to get your act together before bringing them into your care and expecting them to work some sort of healing miracle on you in exchange. I’m pretty sure it’s a truism even in the self-help world that a healthy human relationship can’t be formed around a sense of being damaged and fragile; why should it be significantly different in the case of an animal? Neurotic people just create neurotic pets, and then nobody’s happy.