Pet psychics bridge gap in medical knowledge


It was a landmark phone call. Mrs. Itis is concerned about the health of her aging cats, needed to talk to the doctor "right away."

It was a landmark phone call.

Mrs. Itis is concerned about the health of her aging cats, needed to talk to the doctor "right away."

It seemed that they might have been eating poorly, acting sluggish or possibly losing weight. This, in and of itself, was nothing new. Imogene Itis calls almost every day. Over the years her cats have had examinations, X-rays, blood tests and referrals to specialists. No one has ever gotten to the bottom of the problems because there is nothing wrong with the cats. In fact, any problem that does exist with these kitties, is to be found only within the vacuous space between the ears of their owner.

Though similar to previous calls, this one would turn out to be very different. There were two reasons for this. First of all, it represented a milestone. You see, she has called about a zillion times each year for about a zillion years. So, using higher mathematics, anyone can see that this was her one bazillionth phone call. I have no doubt that, once they hear about me hitting the one bazillion mark, the McDonalds hamburger counters will be looking up with envy.

Secondly, I knew that the conversation would be taking a whole new course when she asked about a different type of specialist.

"Doctor, do you think I could use some mental help?"

Having decided to avoid the first answer that came to mind, I wasn't sure what to say. Her questions continued before I had a chance to say anything at all.

"Do you know Charlotte Tan, the pet psychic?" she asked.

I told her that we have more than a kajillion records in our files and that I wasn't sure off-hand.

"No, no, you don't understand what I mean," she said. "How about Claire Voyant? Surely you've heard of her?"

I may be slow, but by this stage of the conversation, I was catching on. She was mentioning people famous for their mental powers, those who could supposedly read minds, solve mysteries or communicate telepathically with animals. Personally, I have no faith in these individuals at all. I formed this opinion one day in 1998. As luck would have it, while attending a play on Broadway, I noticed that the "Amazing Claire Voyant" was seated just four rows in front of me. I ignored the stage and spent three hours staring at the back of her head trying to send a message of greeting. What a snob! She never even turned around to say hello. I guess superior mental powers don't necessarily come with good manners. (Although, I must admit, that she may have had a bazillion other messages coming in at the time and couldn't possibly acknowledge them all.)

The conversation with Mrs. Itis now took the expected course.

"Couldn't we get one of them to tell us what's wrong with my cats?" she asked. "I've heard they can diagnose disease. They would know what's wrong with Hale and Hearty."

She was serious and I wasn't about to laugh at her, at least not until I hung up the phone.

"Do you know how to get in touch with them?" I asked foolishly.

"You don't call them. They call you," she said. "Don't you know anything, Doctor?"

I had to admit that this was to be my first experience with consulting a mentalist. (Though I did consider it once while trying to balance a checkbook.)

Mrs. Itis proceeded to give me directions.

"You have to think about me and my cats," she said. "If you and I both think about the cats and what's wrong with them, Claire Voyant or Charlotte Tan will get the message and call us.

I just know it will work, doctor. Promise me you won't just forget about this phone call as soon as you hang up."

"No chance of that," I assured her. In fact, I promised to mention the call to several of my friends.

No psychic has called yet, but my hopes are high. In fact, I'm making a list of things I want to ask. Because, if someone calls who has all the answers, I have about a kaptillion questions. n

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