Pet psychic visits primates for TV show


Sonya Fitzpatrick, an animal communicator, talks to a monkey at Jungle Friends, a primate sanctuary near Gainesville, between shoots Monday for 'The Pet Psychic', a television program on Animal Planet. Standing beside Fitzpatrick is Kari Bagnall, founder of the sanctuary. Filming behind them is Lisa Barnes of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, who was visiting her monkey, Louis.

Marla Brose/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2002 at 11:53 p.m.
Pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick visited Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, just east of Alachua, to link minds with two troubled monkeys on Monday .
She met with Mickey and E.T. for an upcoming episode of her weekly animal talk show on Animal Planet.
Donning her trademark black riding boots and an animal print silk scarf, she appears as a cross between "Dr. Doolittle" and the "Horse Whisperer," giving pet owners insight into what's going on in the minds of their animals.
Fitzpatrick takes her job seriously, and the Jungle Friends family expects some answers.
Animal Planet officials called Jungle Friends proprietor Kari Bagnall a couple of weeks ago asking if any of her monkeys - most of which have been abandoned by their human owners - had problems. Bagnall was quick to take them up on their offer.
"Being ex-pets, they have so many behavioral problems," Bagnall said.
Mickey, a 9-year-old white-faced capuchin rescued from an abusive situation, doesn't play nice with the other monkeys. She even beat up three monkeys.
"He's a rough guy," said Nicole Haaf, the sanctuary's director of animal care.
E.T. is a 20-year-old brown capuchin with a propensity to nibble on his tail until it's bloody. He also has a chronic runny nose believed to be from a failed attempt to pull out his canine teeth, which were later filed down.
E.T., who arrived at Jungle Friends about five months ago, is having difficulty finding an amicable roommate.
"We're hoping Sonya will tell us who he wants to be with, why he chews on his tail and if his teeth hurt," Haaf said.
Fitzpatrick has profound hearing loss in both of her ears - something that she says makes her particularly acute to her telepathic ability with animals.
Fitzpatrick, who was born in England, indicated she was receiving incoming messages as soon as she approached E.T.'s cage about 2:30 p.m. Almost immediately, Fitzgerald began to scratch. Then she closed her eyes.
"I can really feel itching," she said. "He's transmitting that to me right now."
Then a few moments later: "It's a parasite in the tail area," she said. "When I speak to the animals, I become them."
She said the monkey would like to try a homeopathic remedy.
Haaf said later she would indeed substitute E.T.'s medication with a more natural solution.
"The antibiotics aren't working anyway," Haaf said.
Fitzpatrick even delved into E.T.'s thoughts about diet, occasionally grasping hands with him and closing her eyes.
"Bananas are his favorite," Fitzpatrick said.
But Fitzpatrick's insight into E.T.'s relationship with another monkey proved her psychic ability to Bagnall.
Fitzpatrick said E.T. wanted to spend time with Buddy, a female diabetic capuchin, whose cagemates fought with E.T. when he first arrived.
"I knew they were really bonded," Bagnall said. "That information is really valid."
Bagnall and Haaf said they plan to take some of Fitzpatrick's suggestions to help make E.T. and Mickey's life at Jungle Friends a little more pleasant.
Animal Planet, which is now shooting its second season of "The Pet Psychic," plans to air the Jungle Friends segment sometime in December.
Janine Young Sikes can be reached at 337-0327 or sikesj@ gvillesun.com.

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