The Incredible Claims of Pet Psychics

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

The Incredible Claims of Pet Psychics


FROM WOLVES TO LAPDOGS

Human beings evolved alongside countless other animal species. Our prehistoric ancestors were part of the natural ecosystem. Many of our early relationships with other wild creatures were unfriendly ones. We hunted animals for food. We learned to steal eggs and honey, how to catch fish, where to find the juiciest bugs to snack upon. At the same time, parasites like fleas and mosquitoes used early humans for food. So did sharp toothed larger predators like lions and bears.

Other relationships between prehistoric people and wild animals benefitted both. Ice age wolves learned to hang around human camps for scraps. As the wolves and humans got used to each other, each species got something valuable. The wolves got free food. In return their keen senses helped warn our ancestors about other predators and enemies (especially at night). Over time that relationship grew and changed. Humans raised wolves from pups, fed them, and trained them to help in the hunt. These slowly became dogs--probably the first species to be "domesticated," or taken out of the wild to be fed and bred for human purposes.

Many other plants and animals were domesticated over thousands of years. People learned to grow crops, ride horses, and breed sheep, cattle, and pigs for wool, milk, and meat.

Humans live in groups. It's natural for us to form social bonds--with each other, and with our domestic animals too. Dogs in particular became not only our guards and helpers, but also something more: they became pets. Ancient Greeks and Romans were wildly fond of their dogs. Some kept pampered lapdogs just as people do today!

THE BUSINESS OF PETS

Pets are animals that are kept for the happiness and companionship they provide to their owners. People in our modern culture form powerful emotional attachments to their pets. They play with them, care about their happiness, worry when they are hurt, and grieve for them when they pass away.

Dogs and cats are often considered "part of the family." Some are treated almost like human children. Their owners may refer to themselves as "Mommy" and "Daddy" when talking to their "fur babies." Some pets are even pushed around their neighborhoods in baby strollers.

When so many people feel so much love for their animals, there is a great deal of money to be made. People buy things their pets need. They may pay veterinarians many thousands of dollars to help sick or injured animals. Some pet-lovers also buy luxuries. Businesses sell fancy pet foods, pet grooming, accessories, and "doggy daycare" services. The truly rich may even buy their dog a collar made of diamonds!

Pets are big business. But not everyone in the pet business is responsible, well-informed, and honest. Some sell pet products and services that aren't worth the money. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that some websites "sell unapproved pet drugs and counterfeit pet products... and sell expired drugs." These unscrupulous "practices could mean that the products you are buying could be unsafe or ineffective for your pet." Other people--often well-meaning--claim that they can heal sick pets with far out treatments that scientists know to be useless.

Pet Psychics

There is an entire industry of people who charge money to communicate telepathically with animals. Some pet owners rely on pet psychics to tell them what their animals need, whether they are healthy, or even where they have gone when they are lost. Can pet psychics really do these things? Are they worth the money?

Unfortunately for pet owners, it's certain that many self-proclaimed animal psychics are fakers. "I must say that I do not believe that everyone who claims to have this ability is truly being honest," admits one man who himself claims to talk to animals. "Just like the psychic medium field is plagued with fraud, so is the animal communicator field. …

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