In looking into my family history in pre-World War II Vienna, I’ve been digging around for pictures. I found some I didn’t know I had — and don’t ever remember seeing.

Like this one.

I always thought my mother disliked dogs and all other creatures great and small. Yet there she is, standing next to Flooki, her cousin’s dog, bold as anything. She is even, if I’m not mistaken, touching him (or her).

How cute are those matching outfits? How cute is that poodle?

Does anyone have any idea what Flooki might mean and whether it’s a masculine or feminine word?

I was going to write that there is no connection between Flooki and Sigmund Freud, but then I remembered: My mother said that her cousin Stella had been sent to see Freud when she was a young woman because she had a disability, some kind of limp. Her parents apparently hoped that Stella’s physical ailment was psychosomatic.

This seems far-fetched. Freud was very busy and I doubt he would have had time to see every Gretchen, Heinrich and Rudolf who had a limp. Of course, maybe Stella had an in, an uncle who sold meat to Freud.

I don’t think Flooki would have been around by the time Stella was old enough to be sent to see Freud, and patients probably weren’t permitted to bring their dogs. But you never know. I wouldn’t have imagined I’d see my mother, at any age, cozying up to a poodle.

23 thoughts on “Flooki the Dog, My Mother & Freud”

  1. I love looking at old family photographs, but I have nothing like this one in my family photos. How sweet to have one of you mom and her cousin and the cousin’s dog. Vienna? Who an say that?
    I wish I knew what the dog’s name meant, but I got nothing. I hope you find out and share it with us. Happy hunting Edie!

  2. Ooh, careful what you ask for, or ask: to my mother’s German-American family a flooky was a fart. Love the photo, was your mother as stern as she looks and did you know Cos Stella?

    1. Ha, ha — it’s very likely that Flooki was a flatulent poodle and that was just a nickname. My mother was not, in fact, stern; that’s an uncharacteristically intense expression. And I only met cousin Stella once; she moved back to Vienna after the war and I saw her the only time I was there, in the 1970s.

  3. What a great picture!

    It’s also a really neat story. It’s fun to speculate about what really went on in family history, especially when there’s a picture to go on.

  4. ohh, this brings good memories of my mother talking about her poodle that she had when she was a little girl – a miniature white poodle. She always talked about how smart it was, I think she talked to it a great deal because she was a shy child. Poodles were more popular then it seems. I wish I could remember its name. Maybe there is a photo. Thank you for this post.

    I suspect the photographer posed the photo, and the girls had to ‘hold still’. Flooki seems to be enjoying himself. It’s amazing these old photos, amazing you found this!

  5. You didn’t mention in the post: is your mom still around to ask about her cousin’s dog? Or the Freud connection?

    It’s so hard to get answers to questions you didn’t know you had.

    Loved the photo. And yes, Flooki looks like the one most enjoying him/herself.

    1. No, I’m afraid my mother’s long gone. And you’re right — aside from missing her because of our relationship, I also miss being able to ask those questions.

      Flooki does look like he/she is having the most fun.

  6. I think Flooki is irresistable!
    Family histories are so interesting, aren’t they! I’m also of German descent. My grandfather emigrated to the USA in the very late 1890’s.

  7. I am probably totally wrong, but I thought Flooki meant something like “furball” or “fluffy”. And who knows if they met, Freud being fond of dogs, and your uncle’s butcher shop, maybe Stella was not “just” a patient after all. I hope you can found out more about it.

    1. Leo, since you are Dutch by birth and therefore a master of many languages — not to mention because it’s much more pleasant — I am going to accept your explanation of what Flooki means. Thank you for saving the poodle’s good name!

  8. I like Leo’s interpretation, too! I’m of mostly German lineage (Koch, mid to late 1800’s), but don’t believe I’ve ever heard the term. I love it, though! How cool for you to have this photo, the knowledge of so much detailed history in your family….and the connection to Freud to boot!

  9. How sweet! You must be having a blast on your new “adventure,” and I hope you’re able to track down the answers to your questions. Perhaps some long-lost family members in Europe will have pieces to the puzzle.

    1. Thanks, Amy. I haven’t had as much time to focus on the project as I’d like but I’ve made several great finds.

    1. I thought of you, Deborah, when I saw that poodle. As it happens, I always wanted to name a dog Stella but for very different reasons: I just wanted to be able to shout “STELLA” like Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Frankie was lucky he is male; that would have gotten old very fast!

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