I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Thoreau

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baby Love, My Baby Love

I do not blog about the parrots a lot on here because they are about as un-green a pet as one can imagine. They have demanding and diverse dietary and housing needs and they are a huge drain on the sacred budget. What can I say? Oh well. Love is what love is and it all began with Baby.

Baby came to us through a high school friend back in the days when I was still a rabid facebook user. I had posted a drum set on line for sale. She wanted the drum set for her daughter. My friend had recently lost her husband and their family was in turmoil. She knew Fred and I had rescued our fair share of animals and she asked if we would be interested in a parrot.

“A parrot?” I though.

Wow, they are load of work and on top of that this one had just suffered a huge trauma. I did not know. I told her I would have to talk to Fred but the more I thought about it the more I knew this was not one of those animals to which I would be able to say no. I called our vet, told her what I was thinking. She told me to bring in the bird as soon as I got it and we would go from there.

“What’s her name?” I asked my friend.

“Baby.” She said. OH GREAT. What a name.

Later that week I went to get Baby and all of her paraphernalia. She had a gigantic cage, loads of toys, a book of instructions and a bad attitude. She was also pitiful looking. What few feathers she had left were chewed and shredded and her abdomen and legs were mostly bare. She looked like a plucked chicken with a tiny green parrot head.

As soon as we got in the car she shrieked at me in the piercing way that only a macaw can and then she screamed “WHERE ARE WE GOING?!” I thought oh sweet heaven what have I gotten into. She continued to scream the entire way home alternating between ear piercing shrieks and bellowed questions and commands. I considered how painful my death would be when Fred finally decided to murder me after this latest acquisition. At least my friend said she would take her back if we could not handle her.

I need not have worried about a return policy. Fred fell madly in love with her at first sight. Within a week she begun to call him Daddy kiss him goodnight in the evenings, goodbye in the mornings and pepper him with questions throughout the day. She was 143 grams of pure personality.

She was mostly healthy but she needed some dietary changes and an antibiotic to combat a persistent crop infection. I cannot begin to describe for you how unpleasant it is to medicate a bird. Those first few weeks my fingers were covered in bites and welts and at one point she even bit me on the end of the nose punctuated with a loving “SHUT UP!” It is humiliating to be yelled at by a bird.

That was two years ago.

We grew into each other and together as a family. Baby goes everywhere with us. She goes camping, on vacation, to the drive-in, to the Dairy Queen, etc. She is our darling and obnoxious toddler with a can opener on her face. Hahn’s macaws as a breed can be nippy but they are loving and clever and oh so smart and Baby is the perfect specimen.

Eventually Baby stopped picking her feathers and became even more loving and endearing. We began to consider a feathered companion for her and when our vet offered us a quiet and unassuming Senegal in need of a home we snatched up Simon Peter. I would not say SP and Baby are the best of friends but they are much like any other brother and sister duo. And of course you know, from several blogs ago how Trinity joined our flock.

A few weeks ago we notice that Baby had begun to indulge in some feather picking again. Not horrible just a couple little spots but we took her to Dr. Stephenson anyway. She was pronounced healthy. We thought maybe she begun to pick again because of Trinity’s arrival and her severe picking issues. We wrote it off and kept watch over her.

Monday of this week Baby’s picking got worse. We took her back to the vet where they ran all kinds of tests and again could find nothing wrong. We took home a five day antibiotic just to be safe. Thursday morning when I went to clean the cages I noticed a bloody protrusion from Baby’s vent. I rushed her back to the vet. They ran a bunch more tests, did blood work, took an x-ray, still no obvious cause.

Friday Baby and I drove three hours to a specialist. He did not think Baby was a candidate for surgery and agreed there was no obvious cause for her distress. We came home with more medications and instructions to watch her closely.

Today she is worse.

She is lethargic, barely talking, she has fluffed her feathers and acts unsteady on her feet. She is still eating and drinking. In addition to her meds, via the specialists orders, we are giving her pedialite, honey in milk and yogurt. We have raise the temperature in her cage to 82 degrees. Her abdomen is swollen and there is a slightly hard spot in it. We are praying that is an egg. If this is all just an egg we will be so thrilled, especially if she passes it normally.

All we can ask for now is your prayer. Please, if you have a moment, lift up a prayer for Baby’s healing. I know some people believe it is silly or selfish to request prayer for an animal but I do not. Baby is a small feathered child to us, she is part of our family and even if she were not she is still one of God’s creatures and he loves her. We love her desperately. Pray for her. Pray for Fred and me, pray that God heals Baby and pray for wisdom and grace for us and the doctors. Thank you.

Much Love,


UPDATE: 2/21/12

Saturday morning Baby seemed to take a turn for the worse. She was listless and not talking and she acted as though it pained her to climb around her cage. After consulting with Dr. Mohan (the specialist mentioned earlier in the post) he said he would meet us Sunday morning at the clinic in Columbus. He said it was very important that we get the temperature in her cage up to eighty-five degrees before then and that we monitor her closely. We wrapped her cage on three sides with sheets placed a heating pad and thermometer inside and a heater and heat lamp near by.

This meant that Baby was confined to her cage for the rest of the day and night. Baby's cage is humongous, it would be quite suitable for a much larger bird, but still she is in no way used to being confined and was extremely unhappy with us. It was for her own safety and well being, though. We could not have her climb out and fall, nor could be keep the temperature in the whole house at eight-five. We were already boiling (goodbye electric budget).

We got up before dawn Sunday morning and packed the car. The threat of snow was imminent and we had borrowed my dad's little Sion for the long trip. Our Honda is very old and our truck would have cost a bazillion dollars to drive all the way to Columbus. We were nervous about the road conditions and built an extra hour into our drive time just to be safe. Dad's car is great on gas, not so great in snow. Although our worry was for naught, we had beautiful weather all weekend.

We bundled Baby up in her travel carrier and loaded the car with her camping cage, food, medicine, toys and water. I had packed an overnight bag for ourselves. Dr. Mohan had warned Baby would probably need to be hospitalized but at this point we were still hoping for an obvious and easy solution.

Baby, who normally likes to "go" was leery of us and another car ride so close on the heels of Friday's long and strenuous journey. She seemed to be acting somewhat better. Still straining a little when she went to the bathroom but without the horrible crying that had accompanied it for the last few days. She still wasn't her normal gregarious self but she did talk to us a little on the trip.

We got to the clinic about thirty minutes early. We beat the doctor there and so we had to wait. The doctor arrived shortly after we did and we rushed Baby in to start an immediate plan of care/intervention. (I cannot say enough nice things about Dr. Mohan and the staff at the Avian Health Clinic. They are wonderful people who met us on a Sunday to do their best and save our feathered child. They are kind and caring and patient. If you are in need of avian care outside your normal vet's skill set please make the trip they are worth it.)

They put Baby in an incubator, which looks something akin to a microwave with a sliding glass door, and gave her medications and vitamins. Fred and I spent most of our time alternating between the lobby and the sick room until it was time to leave, then we spent one very long night pacing the hotel room floor. We drove past the clinic several times that evening, even though we could not be with Baby we wanted to be close to her.

Monday morning Fred had to take an emergency vacation day from work and we went back to the clinic bright and early. The plan for the day was to give Baby barium in the morning and then take a series of x-rays through the day to see if there was an obstruction in her GI tract. I will not lie. It was terrible. I know it was a horrible experience for Baby but it was almost as traumatic for Fred and me. I will not go into the details of just exactly what has to happen to a bird so that she might have an x-ray but I will say it is unpleasant and there was much crying on both her side and mine.

The tests took all day. The upside was that we were allowed to stay with her at the clinic and that in between tests and incubator time we were allowed to hold her and comfort her (and us).

The test showed no obstruction in her GI tract, upper or lower. Dr. Mohan said based on that he did not want to do an endoscopy. She had not presented blood in her droppings or shown the prolapse in 24 hours so he did not want to further traumatize her vent area. He believed that her problem may be originating from a hormonal source. Even though she had not passed an egg and did not have an egg internally he thought all her symptoms probably originated hormonally and then led to irritation which led to infection and became a cycle of worsening pain and bleeding.

She was given a hormonal implant subcutaneously on her back (Norplant for birds!) and we are to continue the medication regimen for several more days. We got home late last night. The three of us are mentally, emotionally and physically drained. Baby's cage still looks like a birdy hospital ward and it will for a few more days. Since she is so weak and beat up from all the medications and procedures we have to keep her extra warm and confined for a few more days.

We are not out of the woods yet. If she worsens or her symptoms return we will find ourselves back to the road and back at the clinic.

We are so thankful to have Baby home and hopefully on the road to recovery. We give praise to God and we thank you all for your prayers. Please if you think of us, and our non-human family, continue to remember us in your prayers.

Much love and feathered kisses ~a

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Naturally....skuzzy?? EWH!

So I have been experimenting with natural/homemade hair and skin care now since September. While in PA I learned of a website called The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) which lets you explore just how many harmful chemicals are in the allegedly “safe” products we put on our bodies every day. If you were not of a paranoid persuasion before exploring their site I promise you will be afterwords. Since returning home from the Mother Earth News Fair I have really tried to reduce the number of chemicals I put on my body in hopes of making myself healthier and having a little extra money in my pocket.

I started out with skin care. Soap is easy, you can make soap in the crock pot with some basic ingredients from the grocery and hardware store (NOTE: some of the hardware store ingredients will get you the side-eye because, apparently, they are also popular for cooking methamphetamines). I learned how to make soap on YouTube. There are lots of different videos just search “crock-pot soap” and pick one. This is the one I use most frequently, I like it because it has everything in writing and describes exactly what each stage should look like so it is kind of idiot proofed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRoRlHMCemw.

I thought I was really up on it because I could make my own soap, detergent and lip balm. Really, I felt pretty self assured with my hippie holistic self. I also used “mineral” makeup so I figured I was pretty self-righteously safe. Then I put my favorite makeup and deodorant through the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database at the EWG’s website. Um, YIKES! All of my favorites landed in the red zone, uh oh, time to reevaluate.

I do not wear makeup everyday so that one was not a huge concern but I did wash my face with a high end drug store cleanser, I did use shampoo and conditioner every other day, I did slather on deodorant every morning and I used tons of body lotion so what’s a girl supposed to do? Smell bad and have greasy hair and alligator skin?

Thus began my quest through the magic of the internet for homemade safer alternatives. I turned to abraca-google for my answers. Let me tell you, there are some magic potions out there, all for your creation, with just some kitchen ingredients and some time. I can also attest to the fact that many of these are bunk and will leave you with stinky hair and lots of acne. Every site I researched was quick to point out that although their concoction of choice worked miracles on their hair/skin it may not work for you because of course everyone’s body chemistry is different. This is a nice way of saying good luck you are on your own.

I started with the simplest suggestions first, baking soda and vinegar hair care. According to many natural lifestyle sites this is the have all to end all of hair care. All you need do is rinse your hair in these magical basic elements and you will have shiny, lustrous healthy locks befitting a Disney princess. I am not going to call anyone a liar but…well…that is a big stinky crock of cat poo, or dirty hair as the case may be. Each site said there was an adjustment period while your hair and scalp acclimated and you worked to get the exact ratio down but I will tell you I gave it two months and my hair was both dry and brittle while constantly looking filthy and smelling like dirty gym shoes every time it got damp or I got hot.

This is how it works; you mix up one bottle of water and baking soda for cleansing I think I finally settled on a ratio of about one cup of water to one tablespoon of baking soda. Then you get your hair wet in the shower and rub this mixture into your scalp and out to the ends of your hair. You give it a few seconds to break down the oil then you rinse it out. I have relatively short hair and I can say if you stop with this step it will resemble an S.O.S. pad and you will never ever get a comb through it again as long as you live. Thus follows the vinegar.

The vinegar rinse is supposed to condition and detangle the hair and it does, to some extent, but what all the blogs and tutorials I read glossed over is the fact that your shower will smell like salad dressing and your hair, while not stinky as long as it remains dry and at a normal temperature, will immediately begin to smell like five day old socks as soon as you get caught in the rain or begin to sweat. Also if you do not get the ratio of vinegar to water exactly right for your hair it is a beast to rinse out and instantly gives you dirty-looking locks. Not to mention if you blow dry the smell will choke a dog at twenty paces.

I spend a lot of my time at home with animals that do not care what I smell like and with children who are too young to express their concern about my personal hygiene but poor Fred does have to sleep in the same bed as me, and on Sundays we go to church and our church family is a super huggie bunch and all I could think was someone was going to hug me and promptly puke down my back.

GROSS. I am sorry. It is gross. I want to make as much of my own skin and hair care as possible but this is gross. I used apple cider vinegar which I love to cook with but I do not want to smell like it any more than I want to smell like a garlic clove or a green pepper. I committed to the program for two months and over that time I became so paranoid I was afraid to hug people at church I was sure they thought “Ewh, does Autumn ever wash her hair?!” I may have stuck with it if it had provided the glorious hair of a Panteen commercial (which is what people all over the internet swore to) but it did not. I had gross smelling hair and it looked terrible. The ends split, it was unmanageable and constantly looked dirty so back to the drawing board.

After searching the web some more I thought I might be interested in trying to make some shampoo bars. However, this seemed like a time consuming and expensive endeavor so I figured I would order some and try it out first. I ordered half a dozen sample bars from the people at Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft Company (www.chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com) and fell in love with the Extra Honey Beer Shampoo bar but at almost eight dollars a bar and six dollars in shipping it is kind of out of my price range for hair care although it does last much longer than a traditional bottle of shampoo. I would recommend it and I am going to try and recreate it in my kitchen. Using it allowed me to see that I do like a shampoo bar, it takes a little getting used to, and it would be a worthwhile project for me. It is important to note: you cannot leave it in the shower like you would a regular bar of soap. It melts with alarming speed. I order a full size bar of the beer-honey shampoo and a couple of sample bars of other concoctions and made the mistake of leaving the first sample in the shower where it did not last the week. Also apparently the beer-honey bar is delicious. I do not know this first hand but my Sengal parrot Simon Peter tries to eat it every time he is in the bathroom so now I have the double problem of not storing it in the shower and hiding it from the animals.

That still left the conditioner dilemma. I continued to use the vinegar rinse until I just could not stand the smell. I found some organic tea tree oil conditioner at the Healthy Life Market made by a brand called Avalon and for now that is what I am using. The joy of having short hair is that only a minuscule amount of conditioner is needed so a bottle can last me almost a year. It does not totally solve the problem. I would like to make my own but I figure one baby step at a time. Let me conquer the shampoo bar and then I will move on to the lofty project of conditioner. So far all the conditioner recipes I have found on the internet seem extremely gross and oily so I will be trying them with caution.

This takes me to the problem of skin care. I have very sensitive acne prone skin. In the past I have taken antibiotics, Accutane, used harsh chemicals, had laser resurfacing treatments and chemical peels all to varying degrees of success. But I am tired of poisoning myself via the largest organ of my body so I decided to jump head first (or face first as the case may be) into homemade skin care.

The most popular method I researched was something called “oil cleanse” ok the thought of deliberately putting oil onto my already grease prone acne laden face was enough to give me SEVERE anxiety but in an effort to be green and reduce our carbon footprint I thought I would try it. It is a pretty simple process/concoction, depending on who’s blog you read, but I thought I would go with the simplest process first which was just a combination of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and cold pressed castor oil. (An interesting and unrelated side note: Did everyone but me know that the side product from castor oil, what is left over from the caster bean, is what is used to make the insanely deadly poison Ricin? I was floored and a little put off from castor oil when my dad brought out that little bit of shock and awe trivia. He said that eating as few as two castor beans could kill a person, makes me a tad nervous about slathering my face in castor oil.)

The science (or pseudo-science, again depending on who you read) behind an oil cleanse, as best I understand it, is this; the castor oil dissolves the pore clogging dirt and oil on your face and the olive oil replaces the dirt and oil with a pure clean alternative. You basically slather the mixture on your face, (I ended up with a equal 1:1 ratio) leave it for anywhere from two to ten minutes, then steam it off either via warm wash cloths or by placing your face over a bowl of steaming water or with a hot shower.

I am still using the oil cleanse method and although the texture of my skin is much softer and smoother and I have noticed a reduction of the fine lines that were mostly due to dry skin, it has not done much or anything to help my acne. I still look like a pimply faced preteen for at least two weeks out of the month. I blame Mother Nature not the cleansing method. The plus sides to the oil cleanse are it is seriously the cheapest form of skin care I have ever come across even cheaper than bottom shelf generic drug store cures. The down side is you have to get used to skin that feels pretty weird and slightly dirty for the first couple of weeks you try it. I think if someone is not prone to acne this is an awesome fix, if you are prone to acne it is not so great but basically nothing is. I have tinkered with tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar as treatment and toner but I have not seen any noticeable improvements and the problem, especially with vinegar, is the same as with hair care. IT STINKS.

Lots of different sites and bloggers swear by different oil concoctions. I briefly tried jojoba oil and castor oil which one commenter said was the most amazing acne cure they had ever seen. Um, no. It left me with raging acne both cystic nodules and white and black heads, yuck and painful. So the expensive bottle of jojoba oil is now sitting lonely on the bathroom shelf. Oh well, live, test and learn.

I do not mind the oil cleanse method but I have not seen the miraculous results some people claim on their blogs. I basically believe what those people say because they are not being paid to advertise generic oils (as far as I know) so I doubt they would have many reasons to lie about it. I just assume they are more genetically blessed than I. I will probably stick with it because I have not found any better, cheaper, more effective natural methods so far but I am open to suggestions.

I do know that diet plays a big part for me. The cleaner I eat, the clearer my skin. Of course I am not perfect and clean eating often gives way to convenience or comfort eating but that is another blog.

If you have a natural cleanse hair or skin care method you swear by please feel free to share it in the comment section. I would love to hear it and I am always open to trying something new. Also, if you make your own shampoo bars and have any tips those would be much appreciated.

Much love, and thanks for reading,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Helga, my sweet

You all are familiar with Helga and her story of triumph against the odds, her lovability and quirky personality, her stint living in our bathroom, her charming attempts to become a house chicken and her inability to keep a secret. It is with a heavy and broken heart that I come to tell you, Helga is no more.

My precious, sweet, charming little weirdo was killed by a hawk Tuesday afternoon, in broad daylight, while she ate in the yard. I am bereft. She cheated death so often I am sure she cherished her time as borrowed but still I mourn.

Helga was a chicken like no other. Rescued with Momma, the two of them were the last of my aunt’s formerly large flock. The only two to survive a malicious dog attack, my aunt could not stand to leave them as fodder so she brought them to join my flock. Helga was barely grown but obviously possessing of a massive dose of personality. She loved people. If you were in the yard you must obviously have come to see her. She would follow you around clucking and talking, if you bent down to pet her she would hold her wings out and chortle. If you stood still long enough without paying attention to her she would try to leap into your arms.

After her reintroduction to the flock she would come to the back door and peck on the glass for attention. She’d stand on the porch railing to eat from the wild-bird feeder and she loved to lay eggs in the middle of my oregano pot. She was as unique and charming of a chicken as you could ever hope to encounter. Adorable and quirky with a large red comb and waddle and beautiful red blond feathers trimmed in black. She grew into a magnificent bird despite her scarred head which she wore without discomfit.

She loved treats, raisins, oats, biscuits but especially French fries. When grandma would send her twice weekly bag of chicken treats Helga would grab as many French fries as she could and would then charge about the yard maniacally, swallowing them whole, while trying to escape her sisters snatching beaks.

She was lovely and charming and I miss her terribly. It is horrible to walk to the coop in the mornings and not see her silly little head bobbing to greet me. I am so distressed to think she died scared and in pain. It breaks my heart because she was such a sweet creature without malice. Chickens can be peckish and grouchy and can be especially hateful with each other but Helga never was. She had a Rastafarian countenance that allowed her to roll with the punches never seeming to take a slight to heart. She never even held her almost-scalping against Momma, instead cuddling right back up to her as soon as she rejoined the flock.

I will miss her so very very much. I know people think it is silly to be so attached to a chicken. Thousands of them die every day in horrible slaughter house factory conditions but this is yet another reason I scorn and deride our modern day food system. It is so easy to walk into a restaurant and order that chicken sandwich and never make the connection that it was once a living breathing thing with feelings and emotions. People will tell you that chickens are stupid and dirty but this is what they tell themselves to make it ok to leave these animals in a world of pain and cruelty.

I tell you, they are not. They are neither stupid nor dirty, if properly cared for, they are not without feeling but are instead clever little charmers. I am not saying you cannot eat them, you are a creature of free will and can make your choices. Most humans eat animals it is the way of our world. What I am saying is that you have a responsibility to the animals you consume to ensure them a healthy and cruelty free life. If you believe you have no responsibility to the animals then I say to you: YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO YOURSELF. Your body is comprised of the things you eat, if you consume fear and pain and suffering these things will manifest in your life.

I know everyone will not raise the food they eat and some people like us will only raise chickens as pets with benefits, we do not eat our flock I do not eat chickens at all, but everyone can say no to the corporate farming greed that has so poisoned us today. Even a small step will help. You do not have to eschew fast food forever but think before you order. Choose it less. Choose somewhere local that locally sources their free range meat. Say no to the fast food even one time a week when you would have said yes.

Fred and I are not perfect. We still occasionally eat fast food. What I am suggesting is that we can all be more mindful. I loved Helga, she was a beautiful piece of God’s creation so how can I then deny that all the animals churned through our corporate food sources have the same value she had? They do. Ignoring them or pretending they do not exist does not lessen their suffering.

Dear Helga, I love you. I hope your short little charming life will be a lesson in humanity that never leaves me and I hope through this blog you may live on to teach others that kindness and forgiveness are quality to which we should all aspire. I hope heaven has a big farm and you have all the treats your little heart could desire.

Peace, love and sadness,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Dominion: noun, Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty.

(Here is the disclaimer: This entry will probably fall along the lines of a rant so if you are not in the mood, do not read past this line.)

Everyone knows how I feel about my animals. They are my additional children, fuzzy, feathered or reptilian. I care for them as I would want someone to care for my child and I believe that God ordained and commanded us to do so. In Genesis God gave man dominion over the earth. Yes, dominion implies some kind of entitlement and control or rule but dominion also confers responsibility. Allow me to follow this thought process through with some examples.

Good leaders rule with benevolence. They care for the people who are entrusted to them. They provide shelter, safety, food, comfort and security. Bad leaders abuse, use, coerce, rape, pillage, mistrust and mistreat their citizens.

Kings and queens have dominion over countries as do dictators, presidents, czars, etc. Some are good and benevolent some are wicked and cruel but all have a responsibility to the people over which they rule. Whether they choose to acknowledge that responsibility and do right by the people or whether they ignore it and serve their selfish goals instead, they were still mantled with that responsibility and will at some point be accountable for it.

If they choose to mistreat those people be it physically, fiscally, through spiritual or racial oppression, or if they mistreat those people based solely on their own ignorance or poverty, at some point they will be held accountable. Whether by the people themselves or from outside forces pushing in, or ultimately by God eventually something must give so that things may come back into balance.

In the Psalms David writes “For thou hast made him (mankind) a little lower than the angles, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea. (KJV)” This clearly does not state that God gave man the right to pillage the earth and take without recompense but instead He gave us “dominion”. There is that word again!

I believe pet owners and people in general are responsible to animals in the same way leaders are responsible to the people they rule. This is not a vegetarian/vegan rant, so do not get your knickers in a twist, this is instead a call to responsibility. If you want to eat an animal that is your choice but you have a responsibility to make sure that animal did not live a life of cruelty and abuse. The same goes for animals in the pet trade. They have no voices and we, as good stewards of this earth, have a responsibility to be their voice. To speak out for their health and welfare, to ensure they are provided with proper care, attention and nourishment and to report when those things are found lacking.

I would go a little further to say sometimes reporting is not enough. I know it clears our collective conscience to think we took that extra step and reported the witnessed abuse or neglect but animals are not legally children and, often times, even though a report may be followed up on by the appropriate official, there may be little to nothing they can do on the animal’s behalf. Especially if a less than thorough or less than honest party is involved and clears the animal as healthy when it is obviously not. The “buddy system” which is alive and flourishing in my beloved West Virginia is notorious for allowing atrocities based solely on the so-and-so-is-a-good-guy-give-him-a-break school of thought. Meanwhile animals languish in pain and fear without proper veterinary care or basic necessities.

Fred and I have recently run up against a desperate situation. We have rescued a very very sick parrot from what we deem a horrible environment and certainly an impending, slow, painful, lonely and frightened death. We have named her Trinity because she is our third and because we believed God intervened on her behalf when she most needed us and when I most needed her.

At this point Trinity’s health is so poor that we do not know if she will recover. She is very sick, she has a severe infection and she is undernourished, she has an enlarged liver and she has plucked her feathers to the point where some follicles may be permanently damaged and may not grow back. But she is beautiful, she has a kind and loving, gentle nature and she is safe now. I wish I could say the same for all the other animals suffering right now in the under regulated pet trade.

I by no means think that pets should be outlawed or that animals should be taken from good kind owners or even from breeders who love and nurture and cherish them but I do believe this industry should be HEAVILY monitored and regulated with independent veterinary assessments made a stringent requirement. Fred and I are going to get involved. We want to see change, we want to see animals treated with compassion and we want to see pet stores and breeders held to a high level of quality and accountability. If you want to get involved email me I will let you know what I learn as I learn it.

You have been given dominion, what will you do with it? I choose to use it gently and kindly. I am sure I have never and will never use it perfectly but I pray to use it wisely.

Also if you would like to help with the cost of Trinity’s mounting medical care please contact me. She deserves a second chance and so do all the others who will sleep tonight in uncertainty.

Much love and thanks for reading,