Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

A few years ago, if you had mentioned a pet psychic or animal communicator, as they are sometimes called, mine would have been among the loudest voices calling you a gullible fool. These people, who claim they can use their minds to sense what pets are feeling, are quite obviously charlatans, I would have said. Psychics, in my cynical view, are nothing but con artists, pet psychics even more so.

But then something happened that made me rethink my position.

I was working at a small newspaper, and one of the reporters there had recently adopted a retired sled dog, as skittish and timid a creature as you could ever hope to find. Any noise or sudden move was enough to spook the poor thing nearly out of its skin.

One day the reporter was walking the dog in Aspen when a car alarm sounded. The terrified dog took off running, pulling the leash from the reporter’s hand and disappearing up the street. The reporter and his girlfriend searched high and low for the dog, but they weren’t even sure if they were looking in the right place.

When a few hours of combing the streets of Aspen proved fruitless, someone suggested that the reporter call a local pet psychic. He was every bit as skeptical about the idea as I would have been, but figuring it couldn’t hurt, he gave the lady a try. She told the reporter to go to a road just out of town and assured him he would find his dog there.

Still skeptical, the reporter did as the pet psychic instructed, and when he got to the road he saw a bloody pawprint. He followed the faint trail of blood, and there, cowering in the bushes, he found his dog, right where the psychic said it would be. Cynical as I am, I found myself unable to explain away that particular story.

Even so, I wasn’t quite ready to sing the praises of pet psychics. I remained fairly certain that for every success, such as the one she’d had with the reporter, there were probably scads of occasions when the psychic had been way off the mark. And I definitely hoped to never find myself in a position where I would need the services of a pet psychic, which I thankfully wasn’t until earlier this week.

I was bartending Monday night when I got a call from my wife telling me that Clover, our 16-year-old golden retriever, was missing. My wife and our neighbor had been hiking with Clover and our 3-year-old mutt, Tansy, when Clover fell behind on the trail. The two ladies must have been talking about something fascinating, like how awesome their husbands are, because they failed to notice that Clover was not behind them.

When they finally saw that Clover was gone, my wife and our neighbor rushed back down the trail and began a frantic search, to no avail. When I got off work I joined in, scouring the area around the trailhead in the dark with a headlamp and driving up and down every road in the area. We also called everyone we could think of – the cops, animal control, the local shelters, our veterinarian – but it was no use; Clover was gone.

Tuesday morning we starting searching again but still found nothing. With hope rapidly fading from our hearts, my wife finally called the pet psychic. She told us that Clover was still in her body, and we should go back to the trailhead and phone her again.

When we got there I resumed looking around while my wife called the pet psychic back. This time she told us to visualize the parking lot as being made of light and ourselves as the brightest lights and to send out positive vibes imploring Clover to come to us. She also added that she thought we would find Clover in the next 15 minutes.

About 12 minutes later my wife’s phone rang. It was our vet, calling to tell us that a lady halfway up the trail had found Clover. We raced up the trail, and there she was, looking none the worse for wear after her night in the wild. The lady who found her, Christina, said she would have walked right by had her own dog, Max, not gone bounding off the trail to sniff Clover out. In an ironic twist, Max had himself been found abandoned on a trail and brought to a shelter, where Christina had adopted him.

Anyway, our sincerest thanks to everyone who helped get Clover back, particularly Christina and Max. And to the pet psychic, who has proven so effective now not once but twice: Color me convinced.

Todd Hartley will never poo-poo a pet psychic again. (Get it? Poo-poo?) E-mail comments to

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