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Patty Pet Psychic: If dogs could talk

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Among the many strange artifacts found in the BW office (dress-up pinecones, sushi-scented air fresheners, teddy bears in dominatrix attire), there is a narrow space devoted to our animal friends. This pet shrine consists of tufts of fur labeled with Magic Marker and stuck to the wall with scotch tape. It's cute in a sort of cultish way, and it indicates how many of us are dog worshippers.

Hence our interest in Patty Pet Psychic, a Salt Lake City-based animal lover who has been "communicating with animals her whole life." Her method involves feeling emotions, transferring energy and observing behaviors in conjunction with specific questions. She explains on her Web site that animals are very vocal in their sensory cues and that their reactions are based more on felt experience than analysis. She also states that the ability to read them is inborn in a lot of people but that most dismiss the idea as craziness.

Lucky for Patty, we are every kind of crazy and snagged two 15-minute appointments during her appearance at Petco last week. First was Dusty, Arts & Entertainment editor Colleen Cronin's miniature schnauzer. To look at him, you might expect Dusty to wear a vest and smoke cigars as soon as fetch a stick. He has a very regal, human air about him, and Patty was quick to pick up on his vibe. She explained to Colleen and the surrounding spectators that Dusty was the healthiest dog she had seen in a long time, adding that he was about four years old, not open to having a canine buddy and that he soaked up his owner's stress like a sponge. When asked about chronic vomiting, she mentioned the possibility of eating too fast and suggested a healthy snack (apparently, Dusty was channeling "freeze-dried liver treats"). Later, Colleen broke down the accuracy of Patty's reading. 1) Dusty is closer to eight years old, but he admittedly acts and feels a lot younger. 2) He is healthy, but he battled cancer a little over a year ago and has been under surveillance for relapse ever since. 3) The personality pronouncements seemed dead on as Dusty is more human than dog and prefers to dominate his owners' attention. 4) Dusty is not a fan of liver.

Next came Spoon, my brand new, 7-week-old lab puppy who played so hard the night before that he was practically comatose in Patty's arms. Looking into his adorably wrinkly face, Patty told me that he was a submissive, mellow dog who would basically eat anything that smelled like garbage and/or feces. She asked if he was from a litter of six, and I laughed and told her to multiply that by two and add a few more. Not that I know that much about him yet, but here are a few things that whittle away at Patty's all-seeing eye. 1) Spoon is definitely dominant (I've seen him throw down three pups at once). 2) Mellow is not a word that should be used to describe any lab 3) He had several opportunities to indulge in the above nastiness and politely declined (hoorah!)

Taking the babies to Patty turned out to be more of a lark than a deeply insightful glimpse into their psyches. She was acutely aware of physical presence and energy, but such things are based very much in this plane of reality and maybe not worth the fee. Still, we all wonder what our pets are thinking, and Patty might just be the one to tell us. :

For more about Patty and readings via the phone or Internet, visit www.pattypetpsychic.net.