2006: Animal Whisperer Still Reading Minds

Did Kathi Kibbel know we were going to call?

Kathi Kibbel with Gabby
Kathi Kibbel had a conversation with our sports editor’s dog, Gabby, on Monday. (Staff photo by Alana Harrison)

By Georgia Fisher | Staff Writer

‘A pet psychic’s coming over,” I told my mom, in the tone one reserves for a child who doesn’t yet understand Disney World, but is bound to love it.

“Sweetie! That sounds … neat.”

Time to try someone else.

“Kaye!”

I called a friend, a technically minded sort who doesn’t care for pet hair or metaphysics.

“There’s gonna be a psychic at my house on Monday! She’ll talk to Pixie.”

The line went quiet.

“Oh, Georgia.”

Pixie is an oft-scowling, potato-shaped cat with a small tail and a bald midsection. She’s not a supermodel, nor does she have many friends. And she hates sports. But she’s my child substitute, and I love her. A lot.

Kathi Kibbel 2006Turns out she’d hide from Kathi Kibbel, the mellow, easy-to-like “animal whisperer” who graced the pages of Park Cities People in February 2006. That story sent clients her way, said Kibbel, who has since slowed down on the readings, at least as a source of income.

She arrived at my place to find a mess of pets and reporters: Pixie, invisible; Carlton, a new cat Pixie loathes; Gabby, sports editor Chuck Cox’s shy basenji mix; Murphy, reporter Alana Harrison’s goofus Lab, and — get this — a photo of Memphis, Alana’s Thoroughbred.

Kibbel can even sense animals’ thoughts from snapshots, she said. “But just because I’m talking to them doesn’t mean they’re listening,” she added, as Murphy began bouncing around the backyard.

“What about people who don’t believe you?” I asked.

“Aw, I don’t bother with them,” she said, shrugging. “Why try?”

I wanted to believe her, so much that I blurted details about my pets from the get-go.

Chuck, for one, kept quiet.

“She’s saying your wife’s the disciplinarian,” Kibbel said, a hand placed on Gabby’s back.

“Oh my God,” Chuck said. “She is.”

“You’re the pushover,” Kibbel added.

Chuck, rapt, just nodded.

Kibbel mentioned, among other things, the couple’s decision not to have children. A former stray, Gabby fears them anyway, and endured “a lot of roughhousing,” said Kibbel, “about a mile” from Chuck’s house.

“Even if you’re a really good [liar],” he told me the next day, “something like that doesn’t just flow from you.”

Murphy wants to please Alana, Kibbel told us, but isn’t sure he can. Memphis the horse may be sad, or just overheated. Pixie “isn’t thinking about much,” but needs natural anxiety remedies.

“He’s a very confident boy,” Kibbel said of Carlton, my tuxedo cat, as she made a gun shape with her hand and did a little “buh-bam” noise.

“He thinks of you” — she nodded toward my roommate, Megan, who was digging through the fridge with a “What’s going on in my house?” expression — “as his girlfriend.”
Megan laughed.

“He slept at my feet the other night,” she said. “But most men do.”

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2006

ALSO IN THE NEWS …
On July 20, Park Cities People published a front-page story disputing widespread rumors about Burger House going out of business. “We have a lease and are going to plan to be here for 50 more years,” said owner Angelo Chantilis.

On July 24, longtime Borden milkman John Lutz died from complications related to lung cancer. He delivered milk in the Park Cities for 42 years until his retirement in 1999.

On Sept. 14, a vintage sign was rehung at Highlander Stadium, 28 years after then-HPHS senior Ray Washburne found it in a heap of trash. The future owner of Highland Park Village spent a few thousand dollars refurbishing the sign after rediscovering it in his mother’s garage in spring 2006.

CHANGES AT THE TOP
In March, Steve Orsini was introduced as SMU’s 12th athletic director, replacing Jim Copeland.

In July, Joel Weisberg was hired as HPHS band director, a job since held by three others.

On Aug. 20, Dr. Joseph “Skip” Ryan said he was stepping down as senior pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church. On Sept. 3, church elders said Ryan admitted
to a prescription-drug addiction.

HIGHLAND PARK HIGH SCHOOL
Valedictorian: Spencer Coon
Salutatorian: Patrick Stefan
Blanket Award Winners: Mason Flink and Claire Guerriero

IDLEWILD DEBUTANTES
Megan Rheal Lacerte, Maren Amanda Miller, Janice-Kate Courtney Petruska, Martha McKamy Tiner

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