Jewish World Review March 24, 2004 / 2 Nissan, 5764

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Mind-melding is not for the squeamish | Suggesting there may be more than one side effect of pet-born allergies, a Swiss woman claims she has established telepathic communication with her pet rabbit, Spot.

Better yet, she'll be glad to teach you how to share brain waves with your pet boa constrictor, ferret or cougar for the low, low introductory price of $500 a lesson.

"Animals communicate with us humans every day, but we mostly don't realize it," said Paloma Baertschi. "We should try to listen more to our inner voice because that's the voice animals use to communicate with us."

I have never had a pet rabbit, but judging from the mental transmissions emanating from Spot, they are profoundly deep thinkers.

"(Spot) told me that humans should always welcome the animal and ask if it is willing to communicate. Wait for a reply which could be anything: a feeling, a word, a picture, a color or simply emptiness."

I personally see no reason to hand over $500 to a Swiss bunny owner just so I can telepathically communicate with my two pug dogs, Satan I and Satan II. I like to think that, over the years, we have achieved an understanding of one another that does not require a Vulcan mind-meld or whatever it is that Ms. Baertschi does to get in touch with the inner Spot.

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I peered deeply into the eyes of Satan I, which was difficult to do because he was asleep. I let my mind go blank, a state I am accustomed to from years of trying to dream up column ideas. Jumbled images came into and out of focus. There was a metal supper dish and refrigerator. The refrigerator door opened by itself and leftover spaghetti and spare ribs floated out and gently descended into the dish. Satan I and Satan II appeared in the picture but there was something different about Satan II. He was wearing a muzzle and was unable to eat the food, which Satan I gobbled down in three enormous bites.

The word "MORE!" then appeared in my mind and the refrigerator door opened once again and out floated a wedge of gouda cheese and a half-pound of lunch meat. Both were quickly scarfed down by Satan I, who by now had taken on the shape of a beach ball. He paid no attention to the muzzled Satan II, whimpering nearby. Then more words appeared: "Would it kill you to fry me up some pork chops?"

Badly rattled, I broke off contact with Satan I, who had remained sleeping through the whole ordeal.

Perhaps I would have better luck communicating telepathically with Satan II, the younger of the two dogs and, I hoped, the one less freighted with nightmarish emotional baggage.

Satan II was well into hour 12 of his usual 23-hour nap, but I felt it was better to wake him than risk another weird trek through the subconscious of a sleeping dog.

I stared deeply into Satan II's bloodshot eyes, trying to avoid inhaling any of his exhalations, which were reminiscent of week-old shrimp.

"Emptiness" was definitely the operative word here. Mentally, Satan II was a blank piece of typing paper. This seemed to be a good time to make some mental suggestions of my own.

"I want you to promise me that you'll never stain the carpet again," I thought in as telepathic a manner as I could manage.

Satan II's eyes seemed to be closing.

"And it would also be nice if you didn't snore so loudly," I added, pursing my lips for added telepathic horsepower.

In a few seconds, Satan II was fast asleep.

I don't know if I succeeded in improving his behavior, but at least no salami came floating through the air.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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