2017-11-02 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Madame Milkboni of Romania, pet psychic, would like to start by making a major prediction. If you buy a wig in a costume store, you’ll be disappointed. The wig never looks as good on you as it does in the photo on the package.

Meet Madame Milkboni: Last Saturday Madame Milkboni was invited to Halloween Hoopla at Last Hope in Wantagh to do private readings for pets. She was thrilled to leave her homeland for these weekend festivities in America. Let’s pray no one offers her a visa or reality show.

Actually, my Madame Milkboni persona was based on Miss Piroska Fenyvessy, my 7th grade Latin teacher at Parkside Junior High (now Ames) in Massapequa. Miss Fenyvessy emigrated from Hungary, and spoke eight languages. I was fortunate to be her student the only year she taught on LI before returning to Europe. She showed us how to conjugate verbs, to stand and salute adult visitors and to memorize one Latin proverb a day. “Hodie mihi; cras tibi” translates “Today me; tomorrow you” and means “It’s best you refrain before making fun of me”.

Madame Milkbond of Romania, pet psychic Madame Milkbond of Romania, pet psychic It took our next teacher months to figure out why he couldn’t understand us when we read Latin. Turns out Miss Fenyvessy taught us to speak Latin (and English) with a heavy Hungarian accent. She was probably in her twenties. The first semester, she dressed like Zsa Zsa Gabor, but then remained in full black mourning attire after she learned a relative had passed away back home. Madame Milkboni needed to capture this twisting style in her fortune teller outfit.

After searching thrift stores and my closet, I came up with a Madame Milkboni ensemble including black tights, purple glitter slippers, the awful black wig with a gypsy scarf and an evil eye protector necklace my late aunt bought in Turkey decades ago. But did I have any pet psychic credentials?

Eli the Aussie pup meets with Madame Milkboni Eli the Aussie pup meets with Madame Milkboni My resume is old. Over 40 years ago I helped by being the fortune teller for events at both Hofstra and the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson. It was amazing and scary how visitors to my booth would believe everything I said, and then return with friends so I could do readings for them too. As for the pet part, I’ve spent a fair share of my life having intimate talks with dogs and cats at shelters and shows.

Pet Psychic Reading Room: We wanted Madame Milkboni’s room to be private and spiritual, so we decorated a glass meet n’ greet room in Last Hope’s lobby. My mystical mentor Sue Butz is well-versed in psychic readings. We do Scout tours and humane education school visits together for Last Hope as retired teachers. Sue gave me a crash course (and cheat sheets) for astrology and Tarot cards.

Golden Retriever brothers Dante and Luca after their reading with Madame MBGolden Retriever brothers Dante and Luca after their reading with Madame MB
Sue transformed the room with a perfect table cloth and curtain, crystal ball, unlit incense, the 22 Major Arcana Tarot cards and astrological chart. I added a statue of Anubis, the Egyptian dog god of the dead, and a plaster owl sculpture I made at Parkside to channel Miss Fenyvessy. Sue provided old parchment astrological papers for each dog’s reading. If the dog’s birthday was a mystery, we determined the dog’s sign of the Zodiac from his adoption date. Horoscopes came through stronger to Madame MB when based on the dog’s real date of birth.

It was hard to take my canine clients seriously because most were wearing costumes. Some dogs were understandably apprehensive about the weird woman in the wig. I sat on the floor to relax the pups before reading their paws without flipping them over the way palm readers do. Right front paw revealed their present situation. Left one gave clues to their past life or lives. I had an unfair advantage because plenty of my 21 clients were Last Hope rescues. I am familiar with snippets from their background such as:

“Banjo, I feel rough skin on your paw pad from your troubled time when you were tied to the fence at Wyandanch High School all night during a storm. I can feel a deep indentation left over from your heartworm treatment, yet on the right paw I sense a pad soft as a pillow because you are so loved now.”

Eli (once Merlin, an Aussie pup from Babylon Shelter) has a guardian angel. His owners and I lost Monica, a dear, mutual friend three years ago to sudden cancer. Monica was my goto person for every dog dilemma and a beloved “adopted” aunt to the four girls in Eli’s family. We know Monica sent Eli to us and is guiding him from above. Eli’s reading was emotional for all involved. From the floor the Madame could do phrenology, feeling and reading the bumps on the pups’ skulls. Some had pronounced “worry lines” between their eyes. Others had Collie bumps which helped reveal their pedigrees and famous ancestors.

Hammer a Last Hope Beagle from Virginia must have thought I was a dog shrink. This silly Hound wearing a curly wig and tough guy jacket moved closer. He began blubbering his life story, telling me about being surrendered by his owner although he was once leader of the hunting pack; his heartworm ordeal; painful back disc. He may have feared he was coming back to Last Hope and became more frantic, begging to stay in his fantastic home. Meanwhile his sister Pepper, also a Virginia Beagle dressed as a Monarch butterfly fluttered around the room. She was oblivious to Hammer’s lament.

Madame Milkboni’s last clients were family from Seaford. Her cousins brought their two goofy Golden Retriever brothers. Born under Taurus, Dante and Luca are truly bulls in a china shop. Each dog chose a Tarot card by putting their nose or paw on one. Dante picked The Chariot card which means he is an unstoppable force. “Hey! Watch out for that crystal ball!”

And Luca chose the Fool which really needs no explanation. When The Fool comes up in a Tarot reading, you are encouraged to take on his open, willing energy and embrace all that lies ahead of you without worry. Isn’t that the way every single Golden Retriever on earth approaches life?

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