“Horses are the most gossipy,” says Lisa Greene, a pet psychic from Houston. “They’ll always tell me everything that’s going on in the barn. Snakes usually have a pretty bizarre sense of humor. And rodents like to spell for me.” Recently on the schedule: a reading for a whale.
With pet ownership at an all-time high, and spending on animals increasing steadily despite a recession, the progression from providing our family pets a comfortable goose-down feather bed to wanting to know what is going on in their little heads seems natural.
Although the American Pet Products Association keeps no data about animal psychics specifically, it attributes spending on pets’ well-being during a recession to an increasing humanization of animals. “I think it’s that more people are owning pets, and more people are treating their pets like a part of the family,” says Alison Anderson, an APPA spokesperson. “Products keep getting stranger.”
Americans spent a total of $45.5 billion in 2009 on their animals. That was up 5.4 percent from 2008. Such booming services as massage therapy, antidepressant treatment, and grief counseling account for the increase. An annual study by the APPA noted that “pet services continues to be a growing category as they become more closely modeled after those offered to people.” So it stands to reason, perhaps, that pet communicators who can help us know what our little friends are thinking are a relatively easy find these days.
Greene, who has worked as a pet psychic for just over 10 years, may, in a busy week, receive anywhere from 15 to 40 calls. “Not all the animals want to talk to me,” she says. “I have some animals flip me the paw.” She considers her services a luxury item, with rates of $120 for an hourlong telephone consultation during which she speaks with the owner, who asks her questions to communicate psychically to the animal, and $240 for in-home/in-barn treatment.
And while clients have more typically been women, Greene has noticed a change. Recently cowboys have begun to call her to ask about their horses. “These are good ol’ boys from Texas,” she says. “You wouldn’t think they would call a pet psychic. It changes the way they compete and train.
“The majority of people call because they have a problem,” she says. “They’re not getting along, or [their animals] have a health issue. A lot of times people call because their animals are dying.”
“A lot of it’s curiosity,” says Susan Hoffman Peacock, a dressage instructor and ranch owner in Corona, Calif. “It’s justification for what you’re doing with the animals on a daily basis, and to see if there’s any way you can get more information.” For nearly two decades she has had animal communicator Lydia Hilby visit her barn to tell her what the horses are thinking. “I think most people go with the idea [that] if anything comes out of it, [it] may be useful.”
She remembers Hilby interacting with one horse that had a pinched nerve in its neck, a condition about which, she says, the psychic had no way of knowing. “She said, ‘He said he doesn’t need surgery, and he can, most of the time, feel his right front foot, and he’s fine.’ ” Peacock tells favorite stories about one horse admitting he preferred a purple saddle blanket with gold trim, and another confessing that he had stolen a lollipop from a child.
“I don’t think most people expect a psychic to change everything you do with your horse,” she says. “You’re hoping to get some little piece of information that might help out.”
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