I talk to my dog all the time. I say things like, “Aww, Hot Dog, who’s a good girl?” and “Goddammit Hot Dog, stop barking.” But not once in the six years Hot Dog and I have been together has she joined the conversation. Of course I know that dogs can’t talk; this is a fact. But still, what if there were a way to know what your pet is into, who her friends are and why she constantly licks her butthole? I needed answers, so I decided to interview my dog through local pet psychic Patty Rayman
You should know that Hot Dog barks at everyone. It's not her fault. She’s a loyal mixed breed: part shepherd, part belligerent dickhead. If you knock on my door, you’re gonna get barked at. If you walk by my house, you’re gonna get barked at. If you even think about my house, you're gonna get barked at. But when Patty pulled up a to my house a couple weeks ago, Hot Dog was dead silent. Not a peep. I opened the gate to my backyard and Hot Dog walked up to Patty like they were old friends.
“I was probably 10 before I realized that other people didn't talk to dogs and cats the way I did,” Patty said while petting Hot Dog. “I was kind of a weird kid. I didn't relate terribly well to people. I hung out mostly with animals. They were my friends and we talked.”
Patty doesn't come across as a stereotypical psychic. She doesn't use tarot cards, she doesn't predict the future; she just sits next to your dog while you ask questions and, well, she translates.
“Psychics are just aware of energy in different ways than other people. I can look at a picture of an animal and get a strong emotional feeling from them that I don’t think a lot of people can receive in that degree. Is it psychic? I’m using abilities that I was born with that are a little different than everyone else's. Am I telling anyone’s future? No. People are like, 'How long is she gonna live?' and I’m like, 'I dunno, she could get hit by a bus tomorrow.'”
Patty has the ability to speak with most types of domesticated pets, but not in the traditional sense (you know, like how Shaggy does with Scooby). She claims that she’s able pick up on the thoughts and emotions that animals project.
“I see their mental pictures and feel their emotions,” she says. “They don’t really think in words, but they’re very perceptive, and they’re very emotionally aware. We think the same way. Little kids, before they learn language, think like animals. They think in pictures and emotions. Their brains aren't developed enough to think in words. So it’s visual, it’s emotional; it’s not symbolical or logical.”
Before she came over, Patty asked me to compile a list of questions for Hot Dog. Since I was so excited to find out what was going in my dog’s little dog brain, I made a list of more than 150 questions.
What follows is just the highlights. And, even though Hot Dog didn't respond in English, per se, I've taken the liberty of editing her responses into her own words (or at least what I think they would be). Also, I like to imagine that Hot Dog’s voice sounds like Fran Drescher, for some reason:
Hey, hey ... who’s a good girl?
Hot Dog: Me ... I'm a good girl.
Patty: It looks like she’s saying, “Yes, I am.” She doesn't understand the question, but she knows that you’re praising her. Dogs aren't self-referential. She’s about at the level of a coordinated two year old. But this is one of her key phrases.
What do you like most about being a dog?
Hot Dog: I don’t understand this question. What else is there?
Patty: She doesn't really know what any other alternatives are. The things she enjoys the most about being a dog is smelling. For her, the world is this huge 3-D kaleidoscope of smells and running. The rest of it is just eating, sleeping and hanging out with Dad. I don’t think they ever want to be something else; they are completely happy with their form. They can’t imagine what it would be like to be an other animal, but neither can we really.
How can I be a better owner to you?
Hot Dog: Leave your job, do dog stuff.
Patty: Yeah, quit your job and go on dog-focused activities every day. She likes small adventures; she doesn't like big adventures. So if you’re going to run over and get a hamburger, she gets to come with. She’s very satisfied with her life. She actually does like her alone time. She likes just chilling in the yard, and she knows you’re coming back. She doesn't really worry about it. She doesn't get upset about your flexible schedule.
I work with animals that have separation anxiety to certain degrees, and I really only see one or two a year that need medication for it. The first thing I ask people if their animal has separation anxiety is if they like their job. Most of them say no. The dog knows that if you work eight hours a day and you come home beat up. The dog is like,”Dad, don’t go to that bad place. Stay home with me.” So, some dogs get nervous and upset when they are left by themselves. But Hot Dog enjoys her space. She hangs out and has stuff to look at, and she’s involved with her neighborhood, she’s part of the scene.
What is your deepest, darkest secret?
Hot Dog: Turds, I eat them.
Patty: She eats poop occasionally. Not often, but once in a a while.
Wait, why do you eat the poop?
Hot Dog: It tastes good.
Patty: Why not? It still has nutrients in it.
Are you racist?
Hot Dog: No.
Patty: A lot of people ask that, and not really, not like how people might be racist. But dogs key in on mannerism, articles of clothing and how humans feel about other humans.
Author's note: She seems to go into primal rage mode whenever Russians are around. This might have something to do with the fact I was raised on
Rocky movies and she's feeding off my ingrained hatred for Ivan Drago.
Hot Dog, what do you dream about?
Hot Dog: Don't know. Don't remember.
Patty: I don’t know what they dream about, I don’t know what people dream about, but they definitely do. Dogs are hunters, so I think they dream about hunting because there’s no more joy than that, and we've taken that hunting instinct and redirected it with domestic animals.
I do very little dream analysis. I had one dog actually show me what it looked like and it was very surreal. It was like, if you were running in a stampede of large quadrupeds and it was dusty and there were weird flashing lights. But it was just a large jumble of legs. That was the only thing I could get out of it.
What do you experience when you stick your head out the car window?
Hot Dog: It’s like ... so goddamn intense.
Patty: It’s like streaming 20 channels of video at the same time. It’s all smell and it just flows through her. The speed of it is fascinating to them. It’s the best thing ever. I don’t know why they don’t get tired of it, because it seems like it would be exhausting.
Do you forgive me for that time I made you wear that hot dog costume?
Hot Dog: Don’t ever do that again.
Patty: I used to do Petco grand openings and I did one that was right around Halloween. They had a costume contest and there was this miniature dachshund in a pumpkin costume. It was probably the cutest thing you've ever seen in your life ... and that dog wanted to shrink into the floor. For some dogs, it’s borderline abuse to make them wear clothes; however, some dogs love it.
How often do you lick your ass and then lick my face?
Hot Dog: Probably every other day.
Patty: They don’t understand our social norms. So, if you like to vacuum naked and sing opera, your dog doesn't care. They only care if you feed them at the same time every day. They don’t know what embarrasses humans and they don’t care. No remorse whatsoever.
Do you miss your family?
Hot Dog: Eh, I guess.
Patty: Sort of, but in a more general way. They remember their mom and their sibs their entire life. If you and her ever met one of her siblings it would be the biggest party you've ever seen. Dogs live in the moment; they aren't wondering what their siblings are doing at this moment, but if they are in a situation where they get that emotional trigger, they’ll go nuts.
Hot Dog, are you religious?
Hot Dog: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Patty: No, they never are, but sometimes they’re very spiritual. They’re very aware of energy.
So, you don’t think of me as your god?
Hot Dog: Pfft, please.
Patty: No, you’re her partner. I don’t think they look at us as gods; I think they look at us as magical dogs. They look at us as if we’re a type of animal, but we do great things for them. We make their lives enjoyable. Are we the granter of gifts? Yeah, probably, but I don’t think they look at us as gods.
Is my neighbor, the guy who shares the back fence with us, a jerk to you?
Hot Dog: No, but he's super beta.
Patty: Not really, he just mutters, grumbles and says, 'Stupid dog' all the time. She knows that you talk bad about him, so she reflects that.
Author's note: He is indeed an asshole. He once ratted me out to the city for not shoveling my sidewalk on Christmas Day when there was less than two inches of snow on it.
Have you ever been in love?
Hot Dog: Yes ... Yes I have.
Patty: She had a really good dog friend that was a black lab that was smaller than her—maybe in her mind smaller. They weren't together for very long, but they were bonded. It was a boy and he just disappeared one day.
Authors note: Hot Dog was indeed best friends with a black lab named Forrest.
Hot Dog, are you happy with your name?
Hot Dog: It’s the best. What's not to like about it?
Patty: It was confusing at first, but she does like it. She doesn't get why it’s funny but she likes it now. I don’t think they understand their names, directly, but they do live up to them.
Author's note: If you're wondering, Hot Dog isn't named after the popular encased meat; she's actually named after the 1984 ski movie Hot Dog.
Are you satisfied with the food?
Hot Dog: Meh.
Patty: She’s not terribly food motivated. It’s working for her, but she couldn't really care less. For her, food is fuel, and that’s all it is. She regulates her calories very well. If she’s less active, she won’t eat as much.
There's a dog that keeps shitting on our lawn, who is it?
Hot Dog: Some lady lets her cocker spaniel drop deuces here all the time.
Patty: One of them is a brown cocker spaniel. It’s like everyday and they come early in the morning.
Author’s note: I've actually caught this lady letting her dog shit on my lawn.
Are there any people that you don’t like?
Hot Dog: Yeah, you have a few haters.
Patty: Not specifically, but you have a couple "frenemies" that she doesn't care for. If you’re on the fence with someone she’ll act out toward them because she is totally picking up on your energy. She’s a sweet, sweet dog, but if something ever happened to you, I wouldn't doubt that she would get right in the middle of it.
Hot Dog, do you love me?
Hot Dog: Of course I do. You’re my rock.
Patty: She enjoys her life very much, she’s happy and healthy. Keep doing what you’re doing. She’s an easy dog to live with. If you ever get a roommate she doesn't like, get rid of the roommate.
People always want to know if their pet loves them. I've only met a few that didn't like their owner. If a dog gets with the wrong person, they’ll make the best of it. There’s a person they’re supposed to be with, but sometimes that doesn't happen. If a cat gets with the wrong person, they’ll just re-home themselves. Also, cats live happier, longer lives if they stay in the house.
Patty charges $35 per half-hour for a phone reading and $75 for a home reading in the Salt Lake area ($100 for outside of the valley). Home readings are one to two hours in length and she doesn't charge extra for extra animals. Patty can also do readings for animals that have passed on (from photos).
For more info, rates and to set-up an appointment, head over to her website.