MichelleMantor.com

In the digital world, it’s easy to share, collaborate, learn and even grow with people you have never met before. I love that idea…that I can connect with someone around the corner or across the globe. I’ve always been fascinated by people, their culture, what makes a person unique and with something as simple as an internet connection, you have the whole world to explore.

Welcome to my world. Feel free to leave a comment or share something of yourself. More isn’t always better but when it comes to ideas and expanding your mind, it often is.

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Why I Love Animals: The Funny Ferret

Posted by on Aug 28, 2019 in Editorial Works | 0 comments

Why I Love Animals: The Funny Ferret

By Michelle Mantor as published in Houston PetTalk, March 2019, Photography By Prudence Is this little fuzzy girl not the cutest thing? You may agree or you might say “ick, how could you hold that critter?” Which, oddly enough, is what my mom would say! Depending on your “animal gene” as I like to call it, you may fall anywhere on the spectrum from seeing the value in ALL animals and their relevance in the ecosystem to having no respect for animals at all.  If you are like me, you’re fascinated by all creatures and the brilliance of their design both in respect to their physical being as well as their intended “job’ in the universe. However, I have to qualify this statement by saying, although I find all creatures interesting, I still get squeamish regarding certain ones (namely snakes) – which doesn’t mean I don’t value them or wouldn’t fight for their welfare, it just means I prefer to view them from “afar” LOL! For those that fall further down the spectrum with their appreciation for all creatures great and small, I like to believe that with a little nudge and some fun facts, you might be willing to open your mind to the role every animal plays in our existence (without them, we would not survive). To quote sadly missed legendary diva Aretha Franklin, maybe you will give them a bit more R-E-S-P-E-C-T. With that goal in mind, this month I chose to feature a ferret.  One of the many reasons I LOVE ANIMALS is because they possess an inherent CURIOSITY that never wanes, yet they know when to inhibit curious tendencies for self preservation. Exemplifying a robust curiosity of all things is probably best represented by my little friend here, LUNA,  a cute and funny member of the scientific family, Mustelidae. I have done only two photoshoots with a ferret and I have to compliment the photographers for photographing a “constantly moving” target. They are busy little creatures and they always make me laugh! Ferrets are rather comedic and entertaining, which can be both good and bad. On the good side, they provide lots of giggles with antics like hiding your car keys behind the sofa because they love shiny objects. On the bad side, they love shiny things and will hide your car keys! Hence the name “ferret” which is derived from the Latin furittus, meaning “little thief”. I just love that they are so busy and allow their curiosity to guide them rather than crouching away in fear of all things.  I’ve often heard people say that they would love to have a ferret for a pet but “they smell bad”. It’s true they have a musky scent but in my research I’ve found that there are many things you can do to minimize odors. More on that later but let’s explore the role of ferrets in the environment first.  For millennia, ferrets were used for “ferreting” out rodents, rabbits and moles from their burrows. Their curious nature combined with their slim build makes them perfect for such a hunting role. They have been used in various places around the world to control overpopulation of rabbits including by Caesar Augustus. Although the domestication of the ferret appears to be about 2500 years ago from...

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Why I LOVE Animals: Beautiful Parrots

Posted by on Mar 14, 2019 in Editorial Works | 0 comments

Why I LOVE Animals: Beautiful Parrots

Why I Love Animals is a monthly column published by Michelle Mantor in Houston PetTalk Magazine. Each column focuses on a different species, their value to our environment and what makes them unique in hopes that their future’s are preserved. Photo by Photography By Prudence What I love about animals is how they instill WONDER in me. I can’t really explain the reason why and I’m satisfied not to – I’m ok with just embracing the fact that God gave me a passion and I’m fortunate to have found it after years of searching.  Some of my earliest childhood memories were of my dogs and cats and the feeling that I needed to help them and somehow protect them from the many harms that could (and did) come their way. It was a compulsion in a sense that made me hyper-aware of any animal’s plight. For instance, it was painful for me to see my pets, or anyone else’s for that matter, hurting or not allowed to come inside in the cold West Virginia nights. I felt such anger when the old man next door would kick my dog for daring to come into his yard;  I felt such sorrow when my kittens died of everything from being hit by a car to being killed by the neighbor’s dog. I wanted nothing more than to protect my pets but at a young age, there was only so much I could do.  I lived in a world where i felt misunderstood. Didn’t anyone see that animals have emotions? Didn’t anyone feel their pain? Didn’t anyone see their value like I did? Obviously I still carry that pain or I wouldn’t be talking about it in my mid fifties LOL! So, yes, it is confirmed that I have the animal-empathy gene for sure! The pain still resonates because my love of animals is innate and heartfelt.  Having said all of that, for one reason or another, I didn’t choose a career in animal welfare.  Instead, I got an MBA and went corporate. I slogged through that career path, never feeling quite at home. Then, in 2003, I got my break from the life of desks, spreadsheets, quotas, meetings and mega-egos when the opportunity to publish PetTalk manifested. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a huge learning curve but I took the leap and never looked back. For all of the gratefulness I have in finding this path, I decided to start a column in 2019 about my love of all creatures and to share the unique qualities of many species with you, in hopes that you too will celebrate the value of animals that make our world so interesting, sustainable and beautiful. Fast forward to here and now, as I sit in the presence of this charming Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot and this fantastically beautiful Green-wing Macaw. Their colors are so brilliant and defined, as if drawn by a meticulous artist. Not a single feather is misplaced on the landscape of color variations. Their body is artwork, yet they offer so much more. Macaws, the largest type of parrot, are native to Central America and North America (only Mexico), South America, and formerly the Caribbean. Like other parrots, toucans and woodpeckers, macaws are zygodactyl, having their first and...

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Freedom’s Colic Story: Multiple Modalities Proved Successful

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Freedom’s Colic Story: Multiple Modalities Proved Successful

By Renee Adiar; Intro by Michelle Mantor; As published in Houston PetTalk Magazine Jan/Feb 2019. Many of you are familiar with the paint stallion, (now gelding), I rescued in 2016, who I named Freedom. Our story was chronicled in the January/February 2018 issue along with a video that introduced the people who helped me save him. One of those angels was Renee Adair, a natural horsemanship and EEL trainer. In September of this year, Freedom returned to Renee’s home for a couple of months because he was sunburning and her place is lush with trees. While there, Freedom gave us quite a health scare. The story is rather fascinating and I wanted to share it with you because I think it highlights the power of medicine, body work, teamwork, relationships, synchronicity and prayer. Here is the story as told by Renee.  In the wee hours of the morning on October 29, it was still pitch black out- side as I headed to the barn to feed the horses. I turned the exterior barn lights on first since they light the landscape gradually, giving the horses’ eyes a chance to adjust. I first let the mares in the barn then went back to let the boys in.  When I opened the gate, Dally, my 14 yr. old gelding and TeRado, my 18 month old colt, casually walked in. Freedom, who is al- ways ready to come in at feeding time, rolled and didn’t get up. I immediately knew he was colicking. From past experience, I knew mild gas colic was not abnormal for him and typi- cally a dose of banamine to help muscles relax was enough to get him through it.  On this particular weekend, I was tak- ing a two-day course on the Masterson Method, a form of body work that encour- ages improved motion by partnering with the horse and moving joints in a relaxed state. During the clinic the previous day, I had heard someone mention the “under- the-tail-points” were good in a colic situation. After I fed the other 4, I started applying the technique. By 7am, he was looking better. I left to get ready. At 8am, I checked on him one more time before leaving and he was down again.  I let the clinic organizer know I was going to be late, then called Michelle to tell her the situation. By 11am, Freedom still wasn’t his normal self, so I took him to Waller Equine. The plan was to leave him for observation and for them to intervene if he wasn’t improving.  During one of the breaks, I saw a missed text from Michelle. Dr. Beadle wanted to put him on fluids, what did I think? Fortunately, when she didn’t hear back from me, Michelle made the execu- tive decision for fluids and sedation.  Fast forward to the end of the day, my clinic colleagues asked about Freedom as we prepared to leave. I shared what I knew, which wasn’t much, and ended with, “I hope and pray this isn’t how Michelle and Freedom’s journey ends.” After we dismissed, a fellow classmate shared a video of another colic-release-point.  When I arrived at Waller Equine at 7:00pm, Michelle hadn’t been there long and Freedom was on the ground looking as if he’d given up. I...

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Respect

Posted by on Dec 29, 2018 in Editorial Works | 0 comments

Respect

Respect – as published in December 2018 Issue of Houston PetTalk: Photo by Evin Thayer; LB provided by Mini Pig Rescue of Houston Being a part of humanity is filled with questions – Why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? What is God’s plan? Why is there evil and pain? The list could go on and on with the BIG questions that drive us crazy because the answers are arbitrary and typically not provable, thus reducing the answers to a matter of faith.  We are barraged with information, hatred, love, cruelty, injustice, good-hearted people, freedom of choice, suppression, abuse, jealousy, heroism and more in this big black cauldron being stirred together in a soup called LIFE. As a people, we have to navigate through it, digest it all and make choices based on our own beliefs and individual situations. Simply put, it can be hard to be a human and live in this world. Some people unfortunately can’t cope and create their own demise. Others struggle but find a way to see a positive outcome and on the whole, seem to maintain a balance. For me personally, the uncertainty in our world and the evil that exists are two of the most disconcerting aspects.  However, there is one element of humanity that I don’t struggle with, I don’t question and that I know for sure: the concept of respect for all things. Between humans, respect for one another is a universal expectation (but that doesn’t mean it actually occurs 100% of the time). There are plenty of examples to point to that defy this basic principle of humanity but for the most part, respect between people exists unless there is a factor of greed or evil present. Moving past respect between humans, the slope gets very slippery. As humans at the top of the food chain and possessing the highest IQ, we have a responsibility to be the stewards of all else including animals, plants and all aspects of our environment on earth and beyond. Just because we CAN disrespect, abuse or misuse something doesn’t mean we SHOULD. The world we have been given is quite spectacular. If you’ve ever stared at Caribbean waters, studied a peacock’s feathers, smelled a gardenia, hiked to a waterfall, witnessed a rainbow, watched horses race across a meadow, been mesmerized by a harvest moon, then you know what I’m talking about. There is so much beauty, innocent life-forms, and extraordinary geological displays that to not steward and protect them is not only disrespectful, it’s reprehensible. I’m not talking about being extreme and being upheld to impractical standards, I’m referring to a basic level of respect for all living things and our environment.  Take LB (short for Little Bit) as an example, who was so gracious to pose with me and underscore my point. He comes from one of the most abused, tortured, misunderstood yet intelligent species on earth…the pig. Many studies have been conducted regarding pigs and it’s no secret among those who care to know the truth that pigs can solve cognitive problems, they display emotions, they have unique personalities, they love to play and they are easy to train. Authors Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and founder of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, and Christina M. Colvin, a professor...

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My Rescue Horse Freedom: Our Journey of the Heart

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in Editorial Works | 0 comments

My Rescue Horse Freedom: Our Journey of the Heart

After a year and a half, I finally saw my dream of a Horse issue for PetTalk come true featuring my rescue horse Freedom and our journey together. Many people were instrumental in helping me save him and I hope our story inspires others to rescue any species their hear desires! Read our story in the digital issue of Houston PetTalk Jan. 2018....

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Stian’s High School Graduation

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in Blog, Event Photos | 0 comments

Stian’s High School Graduation

It’s a tough, bitter-sweet day for a mom when your first born graduates from High School. After 18 years of loving, guiding, protecting, influencing, strengthening, teaching…it’s time to let go a little and just pray that your love and dedication to this soul will serve them well and they will find happiness in life. Pictured here with his loyal gang in life (Mom, Nana, Aunt Kim, sister Kaia and Dad). I love this boy dearly and I’m so proud of him…he’s heading off on a new journey – saying goodbye to Stratford HS and hello to Texas A&M – and now he gets to be the man I know he’s meant to be. Gig’em Stian! Stian’s HS...

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Fun Animals Encounters When Traveling

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in Travel Photos | 0 comments

Fun Animals Encounters When Traveling

Going to new places in the world is so energizing – I guess because it’s exciting and a little scary at the same time. We get used to our own little world and when we leave it, we leave behind a feeling of security. But we also leave behind a sense that our life is a bit stale and we just might be missing a lot by not exploring. For me, the tug to explore typically wins out and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some beautiful places like St. Croix, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Maine, Newport RI, Belize, Costa Rica, etc…and each of these naturally lovely places has indigenous animals that add to the flavor of the location. And of course, being an animal enthusiast, I’m always up for animal encounters. Enjoy some of my photos where I’ve found a local animal experience that made me smile!...

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Sunsets in Destin, Fla.

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Projects Photos | 0 comments

Sunsets in Destin, Fla.

Sunsets in...

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My Rescue Horse: Freedom

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Favorite Things | 0 comments

My Rescue Horse: Freedom

Most of my friends and family would say I was trying to do the right thing but made a wrong decision when my heart decided “we” should save an abused and neglected horse seized by Houston Humane Society in mid 2016. I named him Freedom because that’s what he deserves after years of neglect. Time will tell if my friends and family are right. Some days I think they are but most other days I believe in this blind journey that Freedom and I are traveling together. Given my background of zero horse knowledge and a bit of a fear of horses, it really is kind of crazy but from the moment I saw his photo, I was all in. It’s true that I don’t have enough time for him in my current life situation and the financial part of this equation is daunting but so far, one year later, we are still together, moving forward…learning to trust one another and probably falling in love LOL! He’s not an easy horse but I’m not an easy person so we will hopefully come to understand one another. I know he’s teaching me lessons I need in this life and for that, I am thankful. In this journey over the last year, he has been relocated a number of times but I believe in my heart that each time he knows I am his steward and I’m taking care of him…teaching him to trust me and the other humans that are helping him. Just a few weeks ago, he went to train with Jack Leiser, a well respected natural horsemanship trainer in Chapel Hill who has broken him to ride and is working with him for 2 months. As I write this on July 19, I’m anticipating tomorrow with both joy and fear…I will get on his back for the first time. It’s his turn to teach me to trust. I must learn to communicate with him in his language, cultivate a mutual respect and be patient even when this hectic world is rushing us through. Yes, our journey is to be continued but tomorrow we reach a milestone…the beginning of us being one, being a team, being a little herd of...

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Michelle Featured in Absolutely Memorial Magazine July 2017

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Media Mentions | 0 comments

Michelle Featured in Absolutely Memorial Magazine July 2017

A little mention about me in Absolutely Memorial Magazine, just before their name change to SWOON – Photo by Prudence...

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