Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Animal overload: How many pets is too many?

The person you love hoards 20 pit bulls or a houseful of debris. How to help?

Suggest they watch television.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Daniel J. Moran has been traveling all over the country helping people confront their hoarding in his role on two TV shows that utilize his expertise: Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” and the Discovery Channel’s “Hoarders: Buried Alive.”

“I interview the family and teach them how to support the person who is doing the hoarding — if that person wants to change,” said Moran, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “I also meet the individuals, try to find their motive and help them take steps toward living more flexible lives.”

Dan Jackson, executive producer of “Confessions: Animal Hoarding,” said he searched for clinical psychologists with experience in hoarding. Moran is one of five psychologists Jackson selected.

Ten episodes are planned for this season; Moran has appeared on three of them. “He’s part of our team,” Jackson said. “He tries to understand these people and then help them out.”

There is a major difference between owning many pets, or a substantial magazine collection, and hoarding. Those who hoard acquire significantly more animals or useless possessions than can adequately fit in a particular space. Living a normal routine is severely impaired or impossible to execute, further distressing the hoarder..." More

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