2 July 2004 - Friday

A recent call to Dr. Laura

DR LAURA: Our phone number here, one eight hundred Dr. Laura, one eight hundred D-R-L-A-U-R-A . . . Brianna! welcome to the program!

BRIANNA: Hi, Dr. Laura.

DR LAURA: What's up?

BRIANNA: I have a sort of a -- well, uh, it's a family issue that's, uh, been in the family a long time, and it's just now coming up again. It's causing problems for the family again. And I'm not sure what to do. I don't want it to separate us again.

DR LAURA: What's the problem?

BRIANNA: Well, I thought we had it taken care of, but apparently it's back again. I just don't know what to do. I thought I could finally trust my father. He'd been in counseling, and my mother forgave him and let him back into the house

DR LAURA: Brianna, OK, Brianna. Brianna, first tell me What your problem is.

BRIANNA: Well, it started a couple of days ago when I found a dead rabbit in our yard.

DR LAURA: A dead rabbit.

BRIANNA: Yeah. Like, ripped apart like a dog had gotten it, you know?

DR LAURA: OK . . . .

BRIANNA: But we don't have a dog.

DR LAURA: You don't.

BRIANNA: No. Not for three years, in fact.

DR LAURA: I'm not sure where this is

BRIANNA: We have a fence.

DR LAURA: OK . . . .

BRIANNA: And this rabbit was inside our fence. [Sigh] And that's not all. I also found our trash cans tipped over and the trash bags, like, torn open. [Begins to cry] We put some fish leftovers in there, see.

DR LAURA: I don't see what this has to do with your father, Brianna.

BRIANNA: It's a really heavy trash can. It's so big It's It's one of those thick plastic ones, on wheels. And it's, like, four feet high.

DR LAURA: Brianna, you're not listening to me. What does this have to do with your father?

BRIANNA: Well, he . . . and here's the thing. He says he didn't do it.

DR LAURA: Do what?

BRIANNA: Kill the bunny.

DR LAURA: Who says he didn't do it?

BRIANNA: My father.

DR LAURA: You think your father killed the bunny?

BRIANNA: I don't know who else could have done it. Am I wrong to suspect him? 'Cause when I confronted him, he was like, I'm the bad guy because I'm accusing him falsely and I don't trust him and stuff . . . .

DR LAURA: What, you think he ate it?

BRIANNA: Well, that's what I want to know. Am I wrong to suspect him?

DR LAURA: Well, it's, uh, it's really hard for me to sit here and tell you that your father just killed a bunny rabbit. Is there some reason for your suspicion?

BRIANNA: Well . . . it's kind of embarassing to get into this, but . . . .

DR LAURA: What? You called me up. If I'm going to help you, you're going to have to give me the whole story.

BRIANNA: Well, it runs in the family. My grandfather had it too.


BRIANNA: Lycanthropy.

DR LAURA: I see.

[Awkward silence]

BRIANNA: We thought he had it under control. Like, he was in therapy for a year, and he had this support group. But six months ago he stopped going. He said he was cured.

DR LAURA: [Sigh]

BRIANNA: We held him a [sniff] we held him a party when he got out of the rehab center. We were, like, so happy, and now

DR LAURA: Well, I don't know what to tell you, Brianna. It sounds as if he's in denial.


DR LAURA: You've talked with him about this? Does your mom know?

BRIANNA: Yeah. She just said . . . like, you know, it's no big deal

DR LAURA: She thinks this is no big deal?

BRIANNA: Yeah. She said not to worry about it. She said she would talk to him.

DR LAURA: Brianna, your mother is an enabler.


DR LAURA: And there may not be much you can do about it.

BRIANNA: I just feel so

DR LAURA: Are there any outdoor pets in the neighborhood?

BRIANNA: We live near a park. People walk their dogs there. And our neighbor keeps cats.

DR LAURA: It sounds as if your mother is setting you guys up for major liability, here. As long as she as long as she tolerates this kind of behavior, your father has nothing to lose. She's enabling his irresponsible behavior.

BRIANNA: Yeah. How can I get her to do something about it?

DR LAURA: Well, I don't know. I think he needs professional help, first of all. Second of all, you need to get him out of that neighborhood and into someplace a little more urban.


DR LAURA: But this is going to be a fairly major adjustment for your mother as well as your dad.


DR LAURA: Are you religious?

BRIANNA: I think we're Protestant.

DR LAURA: Well, I think you should start by speaking with a minister. I wouldn't necessarily talk to a Protestant, though; I think Rome is generally a little better at handling these things. I would talk to someone who knows about exorcisms, preferably someone with some background in cryptozoology. Maybe he can assess the situation and come up with a plan.


DR LAURA: But ultimately, it's up to your father to get help.


DR LAURA: All you can do is encourage him to face his own behavior, and take responsibility.


DR LAURA: But I think the fact that you're taking an interest will go a long way toward helping him. These are the times, you know, when we need family.


DR LAURA: So phone your local diocese and see if they can recommend a professional. Then try to get your parents to talk to him.


DR LAURA: Oh, and Brianna warn your neighbor to keep the cat indoors when there's a full moon.


DR LAURA: [Sigh] Now go do the right thing.

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