By Rhoda Lerman
No one is more skeptical than my husband about things mystical and inexplicable and unscientific. “Hocus pocus” is his word for these strange happenings. This is certainly true when it comes to calling animal psychic Mary Long on the phone and listening to her talking to my dogs. I breed Newfoundlands and I miss them when they die, worry about them when they hurt, or just want to reassure them when they worry about something—like having puppies or suffering through an illness. To my husband this is a ridiculous expense added to an already expensive kennel hobby.
When I call Mary she visualizes one or the other of my pets, alive or dead, and tells me their concerns and opinions. Mary calls herself an animal communicator and until she was 16 she and her sister thought everyone could talk to animals. You should know that she has a Ph.D. in math and therefore trained in logic. But she has this “hocus pocus” gift. Thousands of people rely on her to solve problems with their animal companions. But there are those, like my husband, who remain skeptical.
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It wasn’t until the episode of the blue bedspread that my husband finally believed Mary.
Lulu, an exceptionally sweet Newfoundland who slept in the bed with us, suddenly stopped, refused no matter how we coaxed and tempted her, to climb into our bed. Alarmed, I rushed her to the vet’s for X-rays of her back and neck and legs. Everything was clear. I called Mary Long. Lulu patiently explained to Mary Long that she did not like the new bedspread. She did not like blue. I changed the bedspread back to the old flower print. Lulu immediately climbed up and on the bed and tucked herself under the covers. I have never heard my husband refer to Mary Long’s ability as “hocus pocus” since then. Another skeptic down.
The blue bedspread incident happened when Lulu was alive, but she continued to speak to me long after she passed away. One day while I was on the phone with Mary discussing one of my dogs upcoming C-sections, Lulu interrupted our phone call from The Great Beyond. Mary suddenly exclaimed. “Oh my! Lulu’s here and wants to say something.” Lulu told Mary that she knew that what she was about to say was not correct, but she wanted to say it this way. Lulu spoke to us in baby talk: “I wuv you.” I burst into tears. When Lulu was alive, we privately called her “Woowoo.”
Mary had no idea what we called Lulu privately. How had Lulu shared her baby name with Mary Long? Mary Long had really heard Lulu.
Rhoda Lerman is known as a “writers’ writer.” When her first novel Call Me Ishtar was published in 1973 the New York Times termed her “a first novelist of formidable gifts.” Her subsequently critically acclaimed, award-winning novels including The Girl That He Marries, The Book of the Night, God’s Ear, Animal Acts and Eleanor have received remarkable praise from the national and international press. Elsa Was Born a Dog, I Was Born a Human…Things Have Changed is the 2013 WINNER of the Merial Special Award for Human-Animal Bond DWAA (Dog Writer’s Association of America). As a speaker and writer, her work has been recognized and honored in India, Tibet, South America, and Europe. She has taught and lectured at major universities, including Ghent, Harvard, Wisconsin, Colorado, Syracuse, Buffalo, and California Institute of the Arts as consultant. She has served the State Department as an AMPART speaker. In 1979 her novel Eleanor, based on years of extensive research, was hailed by critics as “beautiful, elegantly written, true as anything could be. An imaginative success, Lerman brings what has always been a stick figure in history to glowing, aching life.” It is from this novel that Ms. Lerman adapted the play, Eleanor Roosevelt, Her Secret Journey.