My dog Tucker's favorite color is red. He doesn't mind our new puppy, Nora, but thinks she gets too much attention and he's sick of her sitting in his favorite spot on the couch.
How do I know this? He told me.
Well, kind of.
I don't know what my dog is thinking, but Sharon Roberts, an animal communicator who lives in Wimauma, claims she does.
In the spirit of Halloween, I attempted to set aside my skepticism for an afternoon session with the pet psychic recently.
Roberts, who also runs a pet boarding facility next to her home, says she communicates telepathically with animals. She's been able to do it since childhood but reconnected with the skill as an adult after attending an animal communication workshop. Her first client was the owner of a deceased dog named Hoot.
Roberts doesn't require an animal to be near her — or even alive — to communicate with them. But I wanted to meet her in person. I took Tucker, my 5-year-old Scottish Terrier, along with me.
We met outside her home, where we almost immediately came across a small snake. Tucker discovered it slithering through the grass, and Roberts quickly proclaimed it as a sign. After some searching through her animal communication books, she figured out what it meant.
"The snake was letting us know we will have a clear, clairvoyant reading today," she said.
I tried not to roll my eyes.
As Tucker wandered the yard, I asked Roberts what was on his mind.
She closed her eyes, appearing lost in thought for a moment. Then she said: "There's been a change, something he's very agitated about."
In December, my husband and I adopted Nora, a now 1-year-old catahoula mix. Tucker has never seemed thrilled about the new addition to the family, and I shared that with Roberts.
"His space is invaded, and the puppy steals his attention," she said.
It's a conclusion anyone could come to, I thought to myself.
Then Roberts said something unexpected.
"He says (Nora) has lots of hair," Roberts said.
That's a fact for any dog. But Nora is exceptionally hairy, shedding all over the house.
"Her hair gets in his mouth," she added.
This made me laugh. Tucker has a habit of licking the floor, which unless I've just vacuumed, is often dusted with a layer of Nora's white fur.
Lucky guess? I'm not sure but even if Tucker did really tell Roberts that, it's definitely not the earth-shattering revelation I was waiting for.
Soon, we moved on to my cat. Roberts doesn't usually read cats in person. They often become too agitated by travel, she said. Instead, I offered her a visual description of Fiona's black and white tuxedo-patterned fur, helping Roberts make a connection.
What she learned surprised me.
Apparently my cat, Princess Fiona, or Fi Fi for short, doesn't like her name, Roberts said.
She'd prefer to go by Kassie. It could be a name from a past life, Roberts said.
Princess Fiona — or should I say Kassie — has never seemed to like me much. She always has a look in her eyes that makes me think she's planning my demise. Maybe it's because I call her Fi Fi.
Not so, Roberts said. The indoor cat would just really like to be let outside.
Before our session ended, I snuck in a question about Nora — my fun, loving puppy who doesn't seem to worry about much. What was on her mind, I asked.
It turns out that aloof look on her face says it all, because Nora didn't have much to say. She did request a soft mat for her kennel, though, to replace the old blanket she nestles into for naps.
In the end, Roberts didn't share anything that made me say "wow." And I wondered the entire time if I was unknowingly giving her clues as to how to answer. At one point, I even looked down at my shirt and wondered if I had missed a patch of white dog hairs while lint rolling that morning.
When Roberts told me Tucker's favorite color, I was sure I'd tripped her up. "Ah-ha! Dogs are colorblind," I thought. Afterward, I called a canine ophthalmologist to back me up. No help there. It turns out that dogs can see most colors, even red, just not as distinctly as we see them.
Despite the conflicting facts, I keep telling myself that while my session with Roberts was fun, I just can't take it seriously. But my actions seem to tell a different story.
When I went home that night, I brought Nora a padded mat for her kennel, called my cat Kassie and made sure Tucker got his favorite spot on the couch.
My husband laughed.
Shelley Rossetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2442.