Kito is not just my pet, my best friend, and my loyal companion. He is also my attending amateur psychotherapist, providing me support and improving my mental well-being. Over the past seven years, he has even become my spiritual teacher and my guru. He has taught me important things about life.

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But there is so much more than companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love that I have learned from him. In fact, Kito has taught me some of the most important lessons in life. These teachings exceed the ideas of other spiritual teachers, such as Walsch (Conversations with God) and Tolle (The Power of Now); as well as clinical teachers such as Rogers (On Becoming a Person) and Yalom (Existential Psychotherapy). He probably picked up his profound knowledge through meditating every day for at least four hours.

My guru cannot be portrayed as a religious dog, and he wouldn’t fit well within a spiritual institution. Nor are his insights all-encompassing or built on scholarship. But anyone open to his deep wisdom will be enlightened. If only we could walk in his footsteps, we could change our lives and become more at peace with ourselves in this chaotic world.

Words cannot convey all his profound knowledge. In fact, he is almost always silent. Words, in his mind, just complicate things. Words come from the head, rather than from the body. Instead, my guru instructs through modeling. By observing his behavior, there is a lot to learn, because he really lives according to his own principles. Whatever he does, we know that he really means it. It comes directly from the heart. We don’t have to be dog whisperers like Cesar Millan to know what he wants. When he is hungry, he will eat. When sleepy, he will sleep. When he needs affection, he will come and let us know it.

He even senses when we need affection, and may then approach us and lick us in the face. In fact, his ability to sense our mood equals the most empathic psychotherapist. His body language, from the curve of his tail to the shape of his eyes, will convey his genuine responses to who we are to him. Understanding his talk, and walking his walk, may help us develop a relationship of trust and respect for one another.

To build such a relation, we have had to become his servant for some time. When he embarks on a walk, we have to join in his search for new experiences. During these times of exploration, we will often experience our greatest insights, along with opportunities for some health-promoting exercise.

Every journey becomes a new exploration of the world. He is always curious and eager to try new things. Kito will examine the odor of every tree and every corner to identify the scent of other dogs that were there before him. He may even put his own personal mark on the world when a suitable location is found.

My guru takes a special interest in animals and people we meet on the way. On these occasions, he remains unprejudiced and open-minded. He doesn’t judge others based on their looks but on their scent and the energy they emit. If he likes them, he will wag his tail, and even jump up and greet them with enthusiasm. But if he finds them repulsive or dangerous, he will bark and distance himself from them. There is no political correctness and no fake politeness in such relations.

Even though Kito is mostly a well-behaved and balanced dog, he can also be mischievous if there is something he badly wants. Usually, however, he is playful and enjoys fooling around. In short, he seems to love being alive.

As for a source of mental strength, he is a master. The past doesn’t bother him, and the future is of no concern. Living only in the here-and-now gives him a resilient edge that is hard to beat. He is always present, his communication genuine, both verbal and non. My life and my work have become more enriched and endurable through the bond I have established with my psychotherapist-guru dog Kito. He has become a role model for me that matches that of any distinguished bipedal psychotherapist.


Kito lives and works in Israel with the author and his wife.


Lundqvist, M., Carlsson, P., Sjödahl, R., Theodorsson, E., and Levin, L. Å. (2017). Patient benefit of dog-assisted interventions in health care: a systematic review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 17(1), 358. 

File under: Musings and Reflections