Why I LOVE Animals: Beautiful Parrots

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 fourth toes pointing backward. Many macaws are “colors in the wind” with brilliantly defined plumage which is suited to life in Central and South American rain forests, with their green canopies and colorful fruits and flowers. They have large, powerful beaks to crack nuts and seeds, while their dry, scaly tongues have a bone inside them that makes them an effective tool for tapping into fruits. Macaws are intelligent, social birds that often gather in flocks of 10 to 30.  Their loud calls, squawks, and screams echo through the forest canopy as they vocalize to communicate within the flock, mark territory, and identify one another. Typically, they mate for life and they not only breed with, but also share food with their mates and enjoy mutual grooming. In breeding season, mothers incubate eggs while fathers hunt and bring food back to the nest.  When properly taken care of, some macaw species can live 60-80 years. For those interested in adopting a macaw, you must be willing to commit enough time to care for them and make provisions for their care in case they outlive you.  Unfortunately, as with many majestic and amazing animals, some macaws are now endangered in the wild and a few are extinct. The greatest problems threatening the macaw population are the rapid rate of deforestation and illegal trapping for the bird...

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Freedom’s Colic Story: Multiple Modalities Proved Successful

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 thought they had just sedated him, but later learned the sedation was two hours earlier. Freedom had continued to decline  throughout the day and without sedation, he was rolling in pain. The diagnosis was an impaction colic in the large intestine. He was hooked up to IV fluids, but if we waited too long, part of his intestine could die, creating other complications.  Many factors were considered with the vet’s recommendation, and Dr. Beadle strongly recommended surgery or be ready to euthanize if surgery wasn’t financially an option (colic surgery and after-care can range from $6K to $10K, then specialized care is required for up to 4 months after surgery). Dr. Beadle gave us space to discuss the options, none of them good.  We all stood in Freedom’s stall, talking to him and coaxing him to fight while simultaneously trying to make a decision. Surgery felt like the direction to go, but I had to face the hard reality that I could not take care of Freedom after surgery. Michelle was weighing her options. In a leap of faith, I told Michelle that if Freedom was meant to have surgery, the solution would present itself.  While Michelle contacted potential post-surgical caregivers, I sat down behind Freedom and started working the under-the-tail-points again. He went into a series of yawns and after some time, Freedom stood....

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Respect

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 at Emory University, published a research paper about domestic pigs in which their findings conclude that pigs are mentally and socially similar to dogs and chimpanzees. They go on to say that pigs  are cognitively complex and share many traits with animals whom we consider intelligent. I have often heard that pigs have the intelligence of a 3 or 4 year old human.  The unfortunate circumstance for pigs is that they are considered a food animal all over the globe and they are treated horrifically for that purpose. Over 97 percent of pigs in the world are raised in factory farms. Meaning, they never see the light of day, they are kept in crowded unsanitary conditions and injected with hormones to make them grow abnormally large and antibiotics to keep them breathing until slaughter. In addition to the unhealthy conditions this food animal is raised in, pigs are known to carry some diseases, the processed meat of pigs is deemed a cancer causing agent by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the pig’s digestive system is ripe for keeping toxins intact. But having said all of that, there are plenty of people who will consume pork all over the world, every day. I can’t convince a person not to eat something but I think a balanced awareness is in order when it comes...

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My Rescue Horse Freedom: Our Journey of the Heart

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

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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