Fun Animals Encounters When Traveling

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.

Sunsets in Destin, Fla.

Sunsets in...

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My Rescue Horse: Freedom

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

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 Allwein

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Essay: Friendship

Essay: Friendship

Michelle Mantor with Jeda as published in December 2015 Issue of Houston PetTalk Magazine. Photos by Evin Thayer. Meet my new friend, Jeda. As many of you know, I lost my Briard and long-time friend of 15 years, Remy, in 2011. I still miss her and think of her often. Life’s journey offers us hilltops with great highs and valleys with great lows and Remy was steadfastly there for the ride. But once she was gone, daily life just wasn’t as rich. Enter Jeda. Also a Briard, Jeda is quite a character and has carved out her own little piece of my heart. I’m happy to say that we’ve built trust between us and have become friends. That’s what friends do – they make our lives more fulfilled. Can you imagine your life without friends? I’m not referring to acquaintances or relationships that might be characterized as “friends” but are not enduring, meaning with just a small change, the communication ends. Those relationships certainly serve a purpose in our lives working as a secondary support system but I am referring to those friendships that have substance, strength and longevity. I am blessed to have many of these lasting friendships and the cool part is that I keep making more. Life never runs out of people for us to give our love to! The secret to building strong friendships is to be a reliable friend yourself. That means helping a friend in need even if it’s not convenient, listening for hours to their woes, being honest when they ask for advice, being respectful of commitments you make to them, showing them they matter and the most important one in my opinion – don’t forget to be silly and have some fun together! Laughter, before or after the tears, is an essential element of the friendship bond. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who is a true friend and who is not. I believe there are a few fundamentals to true friendship versus “being friendly”: One is the test of time and the other is sacrifice. In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends. Of all the different types of friends in my life, there is one I never have to question what their commitment is to me – my furry friends. Our pets are in a different category all to themselves. Of course they are not as dynamic in their interaction with us as a human but what giving souls they are! Can you name a time when your pet wasn’t happy to see you? They need our care in order to survive and they realize we are their strongest ally in life. For being their caretaker, we are given devotion and I can’t think of anything I would rather have. Many a word has been written about the human-animal bond as well as why dogs are called Man’s Best Friend. Yes, they are loyal, love us no matter who we are, they have our backs, they have no hate, greed or jealousy, only pure hearts and they love to be part of the pack and socialize. I for one am happy God gave us these authentic little creatures. This holiday, celebrate your friendships, both human and animal. Give your friends your attention and your love. I don’t know about your human friends but your furry friends will happily give you a big sloppy kiss of thanks – the best Christmas gift of all!...

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