Saturday, May 12, 2012

If you didn't think American civilization was in trouble already, this ought to worry you: Americans are hiring psychics to communicate with their pets.

According to Benjamin Radford of Discovery News, pet psychics claim they can use telepathy to communicate with animals, living and dead -- for about $85 an hour.

I can tell pet owners what their dog is thinking for half that amount: Rover wants you to scratch him on the belly and give him a treat. I'll pop my invoice in the mail.

But this isn't about telepathy so much as it is about our obsession with pets -- a reflection of a country gone nutty and soft, confused by our emotions.

Look: Pets, generally, are a great thing. Social scientists explain that in our fast-paced, transient society, pets help fill the void that was once filled by close friends and extended family.

I love dogs and wish I wasn't away from home so often or I'd get one.

But our obsession with pets is getting out of hand. Despite our sour economy, the pet-service industry continues to grow by $2 billion a year -- to $52 billion this year.

There are gourmet pet foods, heated waterbeds for dogs, doggie personal trainers and doggie weight-loss programs (Biscuit Watchers?).

If Rover's feeling down, a doggie psychologist is waiting to help: "Rover, your low self-esteem can be traced to your neutering."

Now that people will pay thousands of dollars for veterinary care, pet health insurance policies are all the rage.

The truth is that many pets in America are living better than three-fourths of the people on this Earth, and something isn't quite right about that.

But today, we're not only pampering pets with overzealous affection, we're trying to elevate them to the level of humans. We see a dog's paws move while it sleeps and we assume the dog is having a nightmare.

We think today that our dogs have souls that live on after their physical bodies cease to work and exist.

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