Pet Sounds

Animal psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick hears voices - the dog and cat kind.

"When the pigs got slaughtered, it really used to upset me. I used to tell my dad that they know, but my dad would say, 'Oh, don't be silly,'" says Fitzpatrick, who ditched the meat diet after her geese pals were butchered. She and her daughter, Emma Kiper, remain vegetarians while Sonya's sons and eight-year-old granddaughter Emily are vegans. (Vegetarians don't eat meat, while vegans abide by a stricter diet that includes zero access to dairy products.)

Fitzpatrick eventually went into hiding as an animal communicator, an abnormal ability that Fitzpatrick's psychic grandmother had cautioned her about. "I started to realize that people didn't feel the same way about animals as I did. My grandmother told me that people don't do what I did. It was very hard emotionally."

Instead of pursuing a professional path that didn't exist at the time, the 17-year-old Fitzpatrick moved to London to sculpt a successful four-decade career as an international fashion model that included photo shoots for accomplished British fashion designer Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell.

After nearly losing his veterinarian's license, Dr. Martin Goldstein has become a pioneer of  integrative medicine, which rejects "cancer-causing" vaccinations and pet food used in traditional animal care.
Courtesy of Dr. Martin Goldstein
After nearly losing his veterinarian's license, Dr. Martin Goldstein has become a pioneer of integrative medicine, which rejects "cancer-causing" vaccinations and pet food used in traditional animal care.
Dr. Lori Teller of Houston's Meyerland Animal Clinic thinks that pet psychiatry is akin to a "party trick."
Chris Curry
Dr. Lori Teller of Houston's Meyerland Animal Clinic thinks that pet psychiatry is akin to a "party trick."


Exclusive video of Sonya Fitzpatrick giving a reading of a dog.

In the early 1990s, Fitzpatrick lost most of her money to Lloyd's of London, a British insurance and reinsurance agency that would be exposed for corruption during one of the largest financial scandals of the decade. For a change of pace, she and her daughter Emma emigrated to the United States.

Though her line of work is more suited to spiritual epicenters like Hawaii, she picked Texas because an American friend of hers, who used to live in a neighboring flat on London's Baker Street, had moved to the Houston suburbs for a job. Fitzpatrick has stayed in the conservative Woodlands-Conroe area, located more than 30 miles from central Houston, ever since.

Animal communication dates back to the 1910s, when the Association for Research and Enlightenment, during its research of the era's human-to-human telepathy, claimed to have discovered a similar link between humans and animals. Though pet psychic readings moderately increased from the 1930s to the 1990s, the often-mocked practice never hit the mainstream. In its place was the much-ballyhooed human psychic industry, led by future multimillionaires Sylvia Browne and Miss Cleo. Many contemporary animal communicators say that their psychic abilities were first realized through extrasensory perception of the human mind.

Fitzpatrick was still suppressing her paranormal capabilities when she arrived in the States, but that changed when the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals who died in the year 1226, visited Fitzpatrick. Around the same time, she talked on the phone with a blind pet psychic and was blown away by the experience. Says Fitzpatrick, "I did [animal communication] as a little girl, but I shut down when my geese died. Then, I was suddenly communicating with animals."

In 1993, Fitzpatrick and her daughter opened Sonya of London, an etiquette studio that helped decorum-seeking Texans become a bit more proper. The parlor above La Madeleine in Highland Village also dabbled in pet psychiatry, though it wasn't really advertised.

One of the more than 20,000 callers to Animal Intuition cries as show host Sonya Fitzpatrick tells the woman that her deceased sister is holding the caller's departed cat Malibu in her arms in the afterlife. The next caller dubs Fitzpatrick a lifesaver after the distraught woman's dog tells Sonya, from the spirit world, that he is not angry with the woman for putting him to sleep.

These are just some of the quick-hitting remedies that Fitzpatrick dishes during her weekly two-hour radio program. The Tuesday-evening show also features Sonya's psychic eight-year-old granddaughter Emily doling out advice. During a recent episode, the child mused about the evils of declawing, something Fitzpatrick calls "the cruelest, most unnecessary thing" you can do to a cat.

Fitzpatrick's radio program is one of the only ways to get a free pet psychic session with the celebrity animal communicator, who leads an industry that has transitioned from a vanity business to a profitable line of work. This is especially the case in Texas, where Dallas-based Sandra Larson charges $150 an hour for her pet psychic sessions via telephone. Larson also moderates workshops such as the Animal Communication Gallery, a meet-up in The Colony that once featured several dogs, a cat, a snake, a guinea pig and their owners sitting in a circle and communicating with one another.

These and other pet psychics, such as the $100-an-hour, Houston-based Griffin Kanter, claim that they can translate the thoughts of animals even if the animals are absent and sometimes without the aid of a photograph. Instead, self-proclaimed pet therapists, many of whom have taught themselves since a pet psychic school does not currently exist, can tune into the brain biology of animals through a phone conversation with pet owners.

Fitzpatrick, who remains unmarried after divorcing her second husband in 2005, charges $300 for a private 30-minute phone chat that she conducts exclusively from her two-story home in the affluent Conroe Woods. (The property, which Fitzpatrick has made into a lavish English-style house, is valued at $377,600, according to a Montgomery County public records search.) These rates are a flat fee for all of her clients, who include famous people such as Rosie O'Donnell and Sharon Osbourne as well as low-income folks who live in mobile homes.

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Doggy Lama
Doggy Lama

Yes, I do become quite amused when some people are taken for a ride by Television Pastards. Basically, if people are willing to believe in television miracles, they deserve the consequences. Of course, I don't appreciate the elderly being a target of this recalcitrant behavior, but most others are fair game.

Psychics are no different. But, psychics for dogs? Come on.

I have been known to hand out business cards to pretentious psychological fucks at various mental health conferences to break the monotony of name tag examination. "Canine Hypnotherapy and Psychodrama" It is amusing to watch the contorted faces that follow.

If I were to open such a clinic, I could easily milk the patient owners. I could ask the owner to assist in obtaining an informed consent paw print. Then, I could ask them to leave the room. Confidentiality is very important. If the patient were to show no progress or regression, I could blame this on "resistance." I might do this. I could call myself a Specialist in Canine Psychotherapy.

Richard Doll
Richard Doll

Just proves again "There's a sucker born every minute", or "a fool and his (or her) money are soon parted". And to think she didn't even have to go to law school to swindle this amount of money!

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