Friend's Best Man

Quiet. The Infiltrator is getting something. Yes, he can see it clearly now: Pet ... psychics ... are ... hilarious ... frauds.

"Ever wonder what your pets feel and what they have to say?" questions an ad featuring a smiley woman hugging her dog. "They are angels beside us in physical form. With telepathy, energetics, and intuition, I can help you clarify and understand."

Yes, like Dr. Doolittle, this woman has the ability to have entire conversations with your pet, but she'll go the doctor one better. She'll do it over the phone, charging you money to get into your pet's head at a distance. A session will set you back a good $75 to $100.

Pet psychics claim that they enter a light meditative state, during which they engage in old-fashioned chin-wagging with pets. If pet psychics can really talk with the animals, then the Infiltrator says, "That's fucking great!" But if they're pulling our chains and charging us money for it ....

I decide to test pet psychic veracity by phoning several. Since I don't have a pet, I pose as my own dog, who happens to go by my name. Any true pet psychic should pick up on this right away. If not, well -- I hate to say it -- I'll have to conclude that this is a pure, 100 percent, fuck-me-sideways scam.

Pet Psychic No. 1

Hoping to get funny responses, I tell the pet psychic that I think my dog, Harmon, has a really good sense of humor, and that he's the life of the party.

Pet Psychic 1:I was talking to Harmon this morning. He's very open to talking, by the way.

Infiltrator:Uh-huh.

PP1:I'm in touch with him, simultaneously, when we're talking. If something else comes up, just ask me, 'cause I can get the answer from him right away.

I:Around what time were you channeling into him? He was making this weird yelping.

PP1:It was probably around 9 or 10 -- around there, yeah.

I:[holding receiver away from mouth and screaming] HARMON, GET OFF THE COUCH!

PP1:And, by the way, he is just a love. He's like this big giant teddy bear. He doesn't see himself as big as he is, and he sees himself as light, if that makes any sense to you.

I:Yes, it does ... GODDAMN IT, HARMON, GET OFF THE GODDAMN COUCH NOW!

PP1:And he is just the most social animal! I get the feeling -- or I know-- that Harmon is very aware of energy. He loves other beings. Do your friends hang out with him a lot?

I:No! And other dogs don't seem to get along with him. Can you hold on? HARMON, QUIT DRINKING OUT OF THE TOILET! Sorry about that -- what were you saying?

PP1:You know what his thing is? He doesn't like rude dogs. He is very proper. Almost like, I guess, a butler. He likes things to be just so, while at the same time he's very lighthearted.

I:GODDAMN IT, HARMON --YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT OUTSIDE! I'M NOT GOING TO CLEAN THAT UP! [Sound of slipper hitting the couch.]

Pet Psychic No. 2

Why is my dog, Harmon, aggressive to Grandma?

Pet Psychic 2:Harmon is like a little magnet. He likes to attract people who are good for you, by the way. Use him as a thermometer -- that's what he is helping you with.

Infiltrator:He's aggressive to Grandma. Should I not like her?

PP2:One of the things Harmon said was that Grandma gets a little cranky at times, and so he ... let me look at my notes ... is Grandma around you a lot?

I:She comes by once a week with freshly baked cookies, and then Harmon just starts growling, and we have to put the muzzle on.

PP2: [Pause.]Oh, Harmon's absolutely funny, he just said [the psychic assumes a cartoony dog voice], "She's a bit cranky. I admit I don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling from her."

I:But she's the kindest old lady; she's, like, really, really kind. That's why I don't understand it. Harmon scares the heck out of her because she's so little and fragile.

PP2: Well, I have to tell you that one of the things that came up was that Grandma gets a little cranky at times, and what I saw was a little bit of a darkness around her.

I:A darkness?! Around Grandma?!

PP2: The next time you see Grandma, why don't you picture a giant white light around her, like an egg? And in your mind say, "Dark forces around my grandma, please leave, 'cause we don't want you here!" And just sort of send it away.

I:It's that easy?

PP2: Absolutely! That's what Harmon is reacting to -- not her. I'll check in with Harmon after we get off the phone, and I will tell him he needs to be more gentle.

Pet Psychic No. 3

Does my dog, Harmon, like it when I dress him up in little sweaters and people clothes? (The pet psychic I put this question to pauses a lot, creating the impression that she's actually getting responses from my fictitious dog, who bears my name.)

Pet Psychic 3: He's a really easygoing dog, so it doesn't embarrass him to wear little sweaters, but he told me he does get hot. Do you dress him up before you take him for a walk?

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