7 questions with dog fortune teller Sarah Wolf

Stare into the crystal ball to learn a thing or two about your furry friend.

Sarah Wolf wears a headscarf, while holding a dog and a fan against an outdoor background.

Sarah is making the world a more spiritual place for dogs, one card at a time.

Photo via Lucky Dog Tarot

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You may have had your own tarot cards read, but have you ever shared the spiritual practice with your dog?

A lifelong animal lover, dog foster mom, and charity event planner, you might catch Sarah Wolf donning a fortune teller’s outfit at an animal shelter benefit event. Through Lucky Dog Tarot and her charity event planning company Good Party ATX, Sarah is doing her part to gather local canines + their caretakers to make Austin the Dog Tarot Capital of the World.

Using a tarot deck made just for dogs, Sarah will tell you about your pup’s innermost feelings in the boop of a snoot, all while raising funds for local animal rescues. We spoke with Sarah about her cute new venture.

This interview has been edited for clarity + brevity.

When did you start reading tarot, and did it start with dogs?

A few years ago, 2019 or so, we were having a New Year’s Eve party with friends. I’ve always had affirmation cards and I thought it’d be fun to do that and add in tarot readings for the New Year.

I greatly underestimated how long it can take to learn tarot. It recommended bonding with the cards before you do anything and, trying to do everything correctly, I slept with the cards under my pillow that night. I woke up on New Year’s Eve, and no joke, I had an eye infection and strep throat starting. I was so sick, it hurt to like see and to talk, so I took that as a clear sign that tarot was not for me, or something was amiss.

Since then I’ve stayed away from Tarot readings for people, but I’ve been involved in the animal community here in Austin for years and years. I foster, I have a dog, I’ve had a cat, and I also am involved in the events community. A friend had given me some dog tarot cards. I was like, “I don’t think the powers that be want me to do people tarot, but I will give it a shot with dog tarot,” and it was a big hit. That’s how Lucky Dog Tarot started.

Holding a fan and card, Sarah sits behind a brown and white dog wearing a red bandana.

Sarah no longer does human readings, so animals only.

Photo via Lucky Dog Tarot

What makes the dog tarot deck different from a classic deck?

Some of the cards will be similar to people, but then a lot of them are just silly. I tell people dog tarot is lighthearted just like the nature of dogs. It’s for entertainment, so don’t take yourself too seriously because your dog doesn’t.

People get nervous. They sit down and they’re like, “Oh no, what are the cards gonna say.” I tell them we’re not gonna say anything bad about your dog. There are a few guidelines: We can ask the cards for some insight or some guidance, but nothing about life or death is allowed. I’ll have to remind people the cards don’t take the place of your veterinarians.

Can you walk us through what happens during a reading?

When they sit down I get to know them a little bit first, get to know their dog. Do you know how old dog is? How long have you been together? That kind of gives me some insight right on if they are a pandemic puppy, maybe they’ve been together just for, you know, two years now.

I have some lucky items for Texas dogs — which include some crystals and some seashells from Port Aransas, Texas, a dog’s paradise. And then I have a lucky crystal on a string that I [use] to clear the aura of the dog and let the dog boop the crystal for good luck. That’s always a big hit.

I have the dog parents shuffle the cards and pick the cards — some cards have a message for the dog and the dog owner. If someone pulls [The Magician] card, I tell them this card represents a dog with the magical ability to make things happen for themselves and to get what they want. And so I might ask them about a situation like, “Does your dog know exactly what to do if he wants to get up on the couch? Or if he wants to get another treat? Are we indulging too much?” You know, that sort of thing, and kind of telling the dog if they might need some boundaries.

Do you read tarot for other animals?

There’s a group in town called Tiny Tails to You petting zoo. They take hedgehogs and rabbits and chinchillas out to events so kids and adults can pet them and get to know new animals. During the pandemic they had to shut down, so they were doing a lot of virtual education, and I would join them sometimes to do a reading for their little hedgehogs on Facebook Live. We kind of got creative during the pandemic.

(Editor’s note: Sarah even has different decks for hedgehogs and cats 🦔)

A white dog puts its paw on the card table with a few cards in front.

Sarah will ask visitors if they’d like to ask a particular question, or just ask for general guidance.

Photo via Lucky Dog Tarot

How much money have you raised?

For Lucky Dog Tarot, I would say each event raises a few hundred bucks. Normally it ranges depending on how many people come out. It’s small, but it’s the little ways. We’ve teamed up with groups like Austin Humane Society, Austin Pets Alive!, Pug Rescue of Austin, Austin Animal Center, and Bully Ranch.

I go on CBS every Friday to talk about events in town that give back to good causes. The idea being that there’s a ton of stuff to do in Austin, but if you’re mindful about it, you can really pick stuff that you would want to do anyway and support a good cause. There’s every opportunity in town to kind of give back to the community, even if you don’t have a lot of time or resources. A lot of people think they need hundreds of dollars or volunteer 10 hours a week to make a difference. That’s great if you can, but if not, they’re like little ways that really add up.

What does it feel like to be the person reading the cards?

It’s really special every time you make a connection with the dogs and their parents. People share a lot, what’s going on in their life, or sometimes they’ve lost a pet recently. I think it is deeper than I thought it would be. I really thought it would just be joking around, having a beer, and looking at some silly cards with people, and it really just such a special experience. I will say it’s definitely keeping Austin weird. And until people do it or see someone do it, they normally don’t get it.

A black cat sits on a rug in front of a window.

City Editor Laura Figi doesn’t have a dog, but she does have a 2-year-old cat named Ozzy that she adopted during the pandemic.

Photo by ATXtoday

Will you read a card for my cat?

The shelter. People see this card and they get stressed out, they just have negative connotations with the shelter, but this card sees a pandemic kitty. So this card represents the important nature of a dog’s home life, their shelter, their sense of belonging, and their sense of safety. So it tells us to take a look at the pet’s home life, Ozzy’s home life. How is he feeling? Is it balanced? If he’s anxious, like you said, you’re thinking about maybe another sibling, like what can we do there to balance it out? Or is it like he’s just getting settled? Maybe we need to stay in that space for a little bit. This card means that obviously, having that calm and protective home life is really important to him.

He seems like he might be an emotional, sensitive guy. I also tell people this card represents resiliency — think of a shelter dog and how resilient they are. Shelter dogs are really resilient and sturdy and don’t give up to finding their place their homes. So give your pet the credit, give Ozzy credit that he can also get through tough things. It’s hard sometimes when there are pets because we just want to baby them and do everything for them. Which is wonderful, of course, but he’s a tough guy, maybe tougher than we even know.

That has the same connotations for humans. How are you feeling in your home? Do you want to paint a wall? Do you need to smudge it for October? Do you need to organize something that would make you less anxious? Is there anything in your home that’s been made stressing you out? It might be time to address it now and not put it off for another season because you want to make your home life as comforting as possible for both you and your pet.

Want to learn more? The best way to stay in the loop is to follow Sarah on Instagram @luckydogtarot + @goodpartyatx, and keep up to date with her events calendar on Facebook. Remember, fortune knocks once at every dog’s door.

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