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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