07/17/2014 11:11 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2014

Is Your Relationship With Fido On The Rocks?

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Dr. Joel Gavriele-Gold is not a cat person. The walls of the 73-year-old psychologist’s Upper West Side office are decorated with paintings of dogs, including one of Rin Tin Tin. On the day of my visit, Gavriele-Gold’s enormous black herding dog, Dova, snored on a sofa by the garden-level window. Gavriele-Gold had encouraged me to bring along my Lab-mix, Casey, who lounged at my feet on the carpeted floor, occasionally getting up to sniff a bag of treats stashed behind a chair.

I had come to interview Gavriele-Gold for a book I was writing about dogs in America. His practice is nontraditional: Gavriele-Gold specializes in dog issues — not canine depression or other behavioral problems but the sometimes fraught relationships we have with our pets.

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