Talk about shaggy dog stories.
I thought my series on Freud & Dogs — see Part I, A Case of Late Life Puppy Love; Part II, A Dangerous Method (If You Fear Dogs) for background — was finished. In Part III, I described how Freud escaped to London from Nazi-occupied Vienna with his chow, Lun. It’s a sad last chapter of Freud’s life. Lun was quarantined for several months and the father of psychoanalysis visited him frequently, but during the final weeks of Freud’s life, when his jaw cancer had become so advanced that the site was necrotic, Lun shied away from him.
But then I found a mystery, involving a picture of Freud with chows on the balcony, which I wrote about in Part IV.
And while researching that story, I made a startling discovery. Lun was not really Freud’s last dog.
The Replacement Pekingese
According to Anna Freud in her narration to a home movie (more on which in a minute), “When Lun, our chow, had to go into quarantine, we bought this little Pekingese, Jumbo, hoping that my father would take to him as a temporary replacement.” Perhaps the choice of breed was no surprise, since Pekingese and chows, which Freud came to love, are both lion-like dogs from China. “Foo” dogs are among Freud’s many precious exotic tchotkes.
I’m afraid I was unable to find a still photo of Jumbo. I chose an arty Pekingese to represent him instead.
Anna goes on to note that the new dog never won Freud’s heart. “I think he remained very loyal to Lun,” she says.
Another explanation is offered in the introduction to Topsy: The Story of A Golden-Haired Chow: Jumbo had become attached to the Freuds’ housekeeper, Paula Fichtl, “the provider of nourishment.”
A Final Birthday Scene
There is evidence for both perspectives in the home movies taken over a span of several years by family friends Mark Brunswick and Marie Bonaparte, narrated by Anna Freud in her old age. Embedding is not allowed, but here is a link to it. It’s nearly 24 minutes long but has a lot of fascinating scenes of Freud with his successive chows, Yofi and Lun — and with some people too.
The Pekingese comes in at minute 19:27, a scene of Paula and Jumbo playing happily. Freud is nowhere to be seen. But the footage of Freud’s final birthday celebration, May 6, 1939 — it starts at about 20:45 — shows a lovely domestic tableau: Paula, keeping up with the family tradition that started with Wolf, Anna Freud’s first dog, attaches ribbons with birthday message around the necks of both Lun and Jumbo. Sweet.
The final scene shows the guest of honor retreating into his studio, followed by Jumbo, who seems to like Sigmund Freud just fine.