When a health magazine sends a person a pamphlet called Good Health Magazine’s Book of Home Remedies, don’t you think they should tell the reader right up front that the health tips are for pets and not humans? I got one last week. It was chock full of useful tips. I was so pleased with the pamphlet, I decided to call the publisher and give him my compliments.

“Hello? Is this Good Health Magazine? I wanted to thank you for the excerpt from your latest publication. It was delivered the same day that my elderly Aunt Millie arrived for an extended visit. I was able to use many of your tips in caring for Aunt Millie. She not only has many health issues, but possesses many of the annoying habits you discussed in your magazine.”

“But, Ma’am,” he said, “the magazine is not for…”

“Don’t interrupt me, Mister. I especially liked your suggestion of how to break the habit of chasing cars. Heaven forbid I should go to the mall without taking Aunt Millie. She once chased my car all the way to the county line. It turned out that the hem of her housecoat was caught in the car door. How was I supposed to know that?

“Anyway, when she got close to the car, I startled her by popping a balloon in her face, just like you suggested, After she got out of the coronary care unit, she never chased cars anymore.”

“Ma’am, excuse me, but…”

“Your tip for getting her to swallow a pill sure came in handy. I placed the palm of my hand over the bridge of her nose, with my thumb and middle finger encircling her muzzle behind each upper canine tooth, like you said. Then I quickly poked her blood pressure pill to the back of her tongue and then held her mouth closed and stroked her throat until she swallowed. Worked like a charm.

“But your article said, ‘When she licks her nose, you will know she is done.’ She never did lick her nose, although she did try to bite mine. You did not warn me about that.”

“Ma’am, these tips are not for humans, they are…”

“Oh, and I loved the idea for curing her of waking me in the middle of the night. Aunt Millie is always shaking me awake with her trivial complaints: ‘I am having severe chest pains!’ or ‘ I dropped my cigarette and set the bedding on fire’ or ‘There is a burglar climbing in the window!’ Whine, whine, whine.

“The last time she woke me, I squirted her in the face with a squirt gun, just like you suggested. The burglar got the TV and our fire insurance was canceled, but Aunt Millie never bothers me at night anymore.”

“Ma’am, I must insist…”

“I do have a question about the article titled, ‘Cure Flatulence with a Tennis Ball.’ I added. “Aunt Millie put up quite a fight when I tried to shove that tennis ball up her…”

“Ma’am! These are tips for pets, not humans! The article was called Home Remedies for Cats and Dogs. You were supposed to put the tennis ball in a dog’s food dish. It forces the dog to eat more slowly, which reduces the amount of air he swallows and cuts down on gassy emissions.”

“Uh-oh,” I said. “I had better hang up now. I have to call the spay and neuter clinic. Aunt Millie’s appointment was for three P.M. I dropped her off an hour ago.”

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