Well, the other day, I was looking through the Brookline Adult Ed catalogue, and they had a listing for a one-day preparing-for-your-death class that was being taught by a “cemeterian”. I wasn’t familiar with this profession, and I’m still not sure whether it means someone who runs a cemetery, is interested in cemeteries, or – as the Urban Dictionary has it – is someone who’s one step away from the cemetery.
Anyway, I wasn’t interested in the program. Sure, I do have to re-do my will and pull a few things together so that – come the day – I’ll be ready. Wait a minute. Come the day, I won’t have to be ready.
I already have my ash plot bought and paid for, so I do know where my remains will remain.
I was going to do a post about what an interesting job cemeterian – whatever it actually is – must be, when I came across an even more interesting profession: animal telepath.
I read about animal telepathers in an article in The Boston Globe on what some might consider the extremes that some dog owners go to tend to their pups: dressing them up, buying (and wrapping) them presents, baking them cakes, procuring sex toys for them (yes indeed…the side of the couch and anyone’s leg just will not do), sending them to doggy day care, and plumbing the depths of their doggy little souls by hiring someone to communicate with them telepathically.
Other than sporty collars, I’m not much for dressing dogs up, other than maybe a silly hat for a quick picture. I’ve really never seen a dog that looked all that happy to be wearing a tutu, tux, or Sponge Bob outfit – and I’ve witnessed Boston’s pet Halloween Costumer Contest a couple of times.
But I have a recipe – which I’ve used – for doggie-delicious (no sugar) carrot and peanut-butter cake. I smile every time I see the doggy day care bus pull up a couple of doors down from my house. And I have gotten my dog nephew a subscription to a site that analyzes a pet’s type and suggests activities that will make their lives more fulfilling.
Apparently, I ain’t done nothing:
Dog owners can now hire canine-specific fitness trainers, chiropractors, and massage therapists … and we can dress our pups in Halloween costumes running the gamut from Yoda to the pope. We can buy dog strollers, automatic tennis ball launchers, and the MTI Jentle Pet, a dog hot tub with massage jets. Getting even weirder, there are pooch perfumes and colognes; Neuticles, a prosthetic testicular implant for neutered dogs; and the Hot Doll. (Source: The Boston Globe.)
No wonder pet spending has tripled over the past two decades, and is now running at about $60B per year in the US.
Dog spending is nothing new. At just about the time that “the first commercial dog foods appeared in America in the 1870s, so did the first knitting patterns for dog sweaters.”
It’s just that there’s so much these days that goes beyond the choice of dog food – my dog nephew Jack is partial to Holly Jolly Pot Roast and Brats and Tots – and the pattern for the argyle sweater vest. And even beyond perfume and sex toys to the frontier of telepathy, both live and posthumous.
A local practitioner mentioned in Globe article is one Maureen Harmonay. My fellow Maureen is a central-Mass real estate agent with a sideline business with Animal Translations. Here’s a bit from her FAQ:
How can you be sure that you’ve really connected with my animal? In most instances, the animal will provide specific, verifiable details about something that is important to him. It could be a memory, an unusual favorite food, a physical description of his home or environment, a recent event, or even the name of someone (animal or human) who has played a significant role in the animal’s life. In many cases, an animal will provide information that I could not possibly known.
Are you a psychic? No. While animal communication requires an intuitive sensibility, and the ability to perceive subtle energies, it does not rely on psychic prowess. I do not make predictions about the future nor do I “read” the animal in some inexplicable way.
The information I receive is transmitted to me directly by the animal, through energy pathways. These pathways, though invisible, are nonetheless quite real. With the proper training, almost anyone can learn to develop the ability to use telepathy to connect with animals in a meaningful way.
Can you deliver messages to my animal for me? Yes. The communication pathway is a two-way street. During the course of a telepathic communication session, I receive impressions from the animals, and I also transmit information, images, ideas and queries back to them. I may suggest to an animal how his behavior might be changed, or I might relay reassuring messages or expressions of encouragement from his person. And of course, I can always ask questions on your behalf; in many cases, your animal will respond with specific answers.
She tuned in for a virtual “telepathic powwow” with one of the Globe writer’s pups and reported back that Biff does, indeed, prefer human food to his old brand, that he fears falling out of bed at night, and that he does not especially like wearing clothing. (I don’t think you need a telepath to figure that last one out.)
Biff also doesn’t like people laughing at him; “he would prefer to be respected.”
Many years ago, my roommate and I gave our dog Grimbald a particularly hideous toy: a rubber man’s wingtip shoe that he was especially fond of. One time we were laughing at Grim - kindly and gently, of course, not in a bullying or mean way; this was our dog – for the enthusiastic way in which he was playing with this toy. A look of pure embarrassment passed over Grim’s face, and he took the shoe into another room with him. So there.
So I understand that Biff might want respect.
I also understand that dogs can be especially empathetic and attuned, and definitely know what’s going on. Jack sure knew when my husband died. The first time he visited after Diggy’s death, Jack went around looking for this buddy, then let out a moan, and lay down (facing away from us) with his head on his paws and had his moments of grief.
So maybe someone really can have a telepathic encounter with a dog.
Should we try to find out what Jack is really thinking? Is he jealous that Molly gets to go away to college and he doesn’t? Should I try to tap into Grim and see if he was reunited with Diggy in the great beyond?
Hey, what the hell, I’ve spent money on stupider stuff that was a lot less fun and interesting.
A nod to my sister Trish, Jack’s mom, for pointing this article out to me.