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‘Pet Psychic’ full of baloney

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PASADENA, Calif. — Television critics are a skeptical lot. And yours truly is as skeptical as they come.

That said, I have to tell you that the biggest bunch of hooey I've ever heard in 12 years of attending TV critic press tours — even bigger than nonsense network executives spew — came from a sweet, genteel British woman by the name of Sonya Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick claims to be able to communicate telepathically with animals — to hold actual conversations with everything from dogs and cats to lizards and mice. A real-life Dr. Dolittle.

Yeah, right.

But, my skepticism aside, you can judge for yourself when the cable network Animal Planet airs "The Pet Psychic" on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Yeah, it's baloney — but it's also unintentionally hilarious in spots. Not that Fitzpatrick (or the pets) are laughing.

"Sometimes when someone answers them for the first time in their language, they are very surprised and very excited," she said. "And so some animals are more chatty than others."

No doubt.

Fitzpatrick is more than a bit nebulous about how, exactly, she does this.

"When I talk to them, I'm using not just words, I'm using my sense, my feelings, my emotions and all my faculties," Fitzpatrick said. "Telepathic communication is so fast."

Yeah, right.

And, apparently, telepathic communication is not only fast but it can be long-distance.

"Many of my clients are hundreds and thousands of miles away, and I do this on the telephone with a photograph (of the animal)," Fitzpatrick said.

As if it didn't strain credulity past the breaking point that she can talk to a dog sitting next to her, Fitzpatrick would have us believe she can talk to dogs a continent away.

While facing the press, she did have a bit of trouble hearing the questions.

"I have to tell you that the reason I have this ability is because I was born with a hearing loss, and one of my rescue dogs ate my hearing aid before I came," Fitzpatrick said.

Um, if you can really communicate telepathically with animals, wouldn't you know the dog was going to eat the hearing aid before it did?

Fitzpatrick claims to be more than just an animal psychic, however. She said she can also read humans.

"But I find that I'd much prefer talking to animals than people," she said, "because a lot of people carry junk and baggage. And animals . . . just talk to me very straight. They're very honest and they're very straight and people aren't always that way."

Well, let me tell you honest and straight — I think you're a fraud. It's fairly easy to say that you know what a dog is thinking because the dog can't contradict you.

If Fitzpatrick can, indeed, hear human thoughts, one would have thought she would have blanched at mine during the interview. Just for fun, I began sending her the mental message "Look at me, look at me, look at me" during the session.

Of course, she never looked over. Which is either an indication that she's not psychic or that, like so many non-psychics who know me well, she decided it was best to ignore me.

Not surprisingly, this psychic-to-the-animal kingdom doesn't do this for free. She'll charge you a rather large sum of money to do a reading of your pet.

"Yes I do because that's how I earn my living. I do hour consultations with people," Fitzpatrick said. "I have to charge because the volume of people that I have is just overwhelming. And it is very exhausting when you are talking one-to-one with animals because I go on a different level of communication that I do when I'm verbally speaking. I am on another part of my brain, and animals communicate on a higher conscious level than human beings."

Yeah, right.

As to how much she charges, well, Fitzpatrick declined to answer that straight and honest question, saying that "there's so many things happening, and there's going to be some changing in my scale of fees."

No doubt a hike in those fees, which are reportedly now $300 an hour.

Well, watching her on Animal Planet won't cost you anything — except an hour of your life you'll never get back.

ELLEN GETS SUPPORT: Looking only at the ratings, there's no particular reason that "The Ellen Show" should still be on the air. But CBS remains committed to trying to make the show work — at least for the moment.

"With that show, we want to be more patient," said CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem. "She's extraordinarily talented. We want to hang in there with that show."

E-MAIL: pierce@desnews.com