“Hum.” That’s all I hear from her. She makes this sound to
show me she’s paying attention. When I talk for hours, which
happens frequently, she silently sits, stares into my eyes and
listens. I can trace her gentle wheezing tangled into my
words. I love the way she scratches her right ear.

 I know she is listening carefully to what I say; I can see it in
her eyes. But she neither comments nor questions; she knows
when I pose a question, either I answer it myself or soon
realize its absurdity. That’s how well she knows me. Her only
response is, “Hum.” She occasionally inhales and exhales
louder to display her sympathy. And when she does that, I
look at her kind yet mischievous eyes and imagine how funny
she would look wearing glasses.

 Each therapist has his own techniques. The more
experienced ones don’t talk as much. You may be talking for
an hour and all he does is listen. When he feels you cannot
express your emotions, he asks a simple question to get you
back on track, a question you could have asked yourself and
didn’t. And then he keeps quiet and listens again.

 But shrinks are not truly sympathetic to you, listening is their
job. I bet while you’re expressing your deepest emotions and
confessing your darkest secrets to your shrink, things you’ve
never mentioned to a soul, and at the precise moment you’re
most emotionally vulnerable, he’s maliciously looking at the
clock secretly hidden in the bookshelf behind you and
calculating your bill. And a few minutes before your time is up
especially when the next patient is waiting, he interrupts to
inform you these sessions must continue. They love return
customers. That’s why I don’t trust them anymore.

 But she’s different. For her, money is not an issue. On
numerous occasions, I talk for hours and she just sits in her
chair and compassionately listens. She never looks at the clock
because she doesn’t care about time. She knows how much I
need her, how much her friendship means to me.

 And to show my appreciation for her understanding, I usually
give her a big piece of juicy meat from my plate and she wags
her tail for me.