Saturday, October 25, 2014

Farewell, My Friend

    My dedication to the cause of unwanted companion birds began many years ago when I adopted my first bird, Bobo, a green Budgerigar. It was shortly after that, when I brought home an abandoned Umbrella Cockatoo named Gilligan, that my journey into the world of captive bred companion birds had truly begun. For the next 20 years, I was not only to share my life and home with this amazing bird, but I was to learn the difficulties a captive bred companion bird faces. Gilligan had many challenges, not the least of which was a tendency to self-mutilate despite being given the best veterinary care, love, and companionship possible. In March of 2014, after a lengthy illness, I lost my beloved bird. Despite a tremendous fight on his part, and twice weekly vet visits for laser treatments,the years of mutilation had taken its toll. The weight loss from the illness and the buildup of scar tissue around his organs were all just too much for him. 

I had thought he was going to pull through; in fact, just a week before he died he was acting like his old cheerful self. Yet almost as if he knew the end was near, the day before he died he took a stroll around the shelter walking over to various volunteers and offering a friendly hello. But it was, in fact, his final goodbye. By morning he was gone.

I'll be honest. After he died I wasn't sure I could continue my work with unwanted birds. It has in fact, taken me this long to even have the ability to write about it. Bobo introduced me into the world of unwanted birds, but Gilligan was the reason I became so involved. The months after he died were truly difficult ones, as countless individuals stopped by to visit with him and the other birds. Each time I had to explain that Gilligan was gone. However, the work provided me with a sense of peace and fulfillment. If there is one thing I know for sure, it's there is never a shortage of cleaning to do when you run a rescue. As time went on, the pain lessened and my resolve to make a difference returned.

I thought I would have Gilligan for the rest of my life. I was wrong. However, he is just one of thousands and thousands of captive bred birds that have needed new homes since breeding and selling exotic birds became part of the pet industry. Since parrots (should) live for many years, more and more shelters are needed to house the growing number of unwanted birds. As I look to the future, I know that helping unwanted birds will always be a part of the future, and so Gilligan will always be a part of my life as well.  This video was shot by one of my most dedicated volunteers  in October of 2013, about a month before he became ill. Farewell, dear friend.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

What a Busy Summer!

I have had such a busy summer that there hasn't been any time to write about it! Every weekend I have been at the Mahtomedi Farmer's Market selling homemade jams, vegan cookies and my handcrafted soap. I expected it to go well, but I didn't expect to sell out nearly every weekend. Because soap takes so long to cure (4 to 6 weeks) I started back in April making a new batch every couple of days. Each week I had a new batch ready, and I expected my inventory to hold up for the summer, but I am down to just a couple dozen bars with still 6 weeks of the market to go. Whatever I soap I make now won't be ready until the end of September, just in time for the holiday season! With that thought inn mind, I am experimenting with a variety of essential and fragrance oils and trying some new recipes. Last year I made a pumpkin pie spice soap and a cranberry pomegranate soap, both of which were very popular at my holiday shows; this year I will be adding more winter and holiday themed soaps using peppermint oil, frankincense, myrrh, and one of my favorites, rosemary. I'll be making more of my most popular soaps too.
Every weekend I pick up fresh produce from farm stands or other markets and depending on what I find begin canning early Saturday morning to get ready for the next weekend. Right now with so many wonderful tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers available I have been making salsa like crazy.  I am also finding fresh tree ripened peaches. For next weekend I'll have a fresh garden salsa, a summer salsa with peaches and pears, and a peach salsa. It isn't finding the time to make everything when every day I am also caring for the 60 birds in my shelter, but I enjoy every minute of it. Recently local reporter Joe Cullen stopped by and did a story on my rescue. He did a great job capturing what a day is like at the shelter. You can view it by clicking on this link Parrot Rescue Services Video
We will be hosting a garage sale August 15th - 17th at the store! We have a lot of almost new general household items and clothing. All proceeds benefit Parrot Rescue Services.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Clinic Day is May 18th!

Once again we will have two skilled vet techs available to provide grooming for your bird. All proceeds help with the cost of running our parrot shelter. Appointments are required, and do fill up fast. The techs will be available from 1:00 to 6:00 on May 18th. Call 651-762-1151 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Events

     It seems that I have to keep getting up earlier and earlier to get my work done, so I look forward to daylight savings time and the setting back of the clocks in the fall. Even so it is difficult to find the time to handle all the work I face each day. I am not complaining; it is all work I thoroughly enjoy (well maybe not cleaning cages so much) but everything else is a labor of love. Right now I am frantically trying to get enough work done for two craft shows and finding little time for other tasks. November is a very full month anyway, with the beginning of our annual fund drive for the rescue. The amount of money we raise between now and the end of the year gives me some idea of how many birds I will be able to take in and care for. It costs around $75 per day to run the shelter. The shelter is staffed only with volunteers, so this is just what it costs to keep going. This year I am hoping to raise $10,000 before the end of the year for Parrot Rescue Services. It is a pretty lofty goal for my small rescue, but I think we can do it.
     Our annual fundraising drive kicks off on November 14th with Give to the Max Day. This year we have a matching grant of $2000.00. This means that once we raise $2,000, it becomes $4,000. By contributing on November 14th, you will not only help out with the matching grant, but help us become eligible for other grant money provided by GiveMN that is given away lottery style randomly every hour.
     I am also attending two craft fairs in November, where I’ll be selling my soap, gourmet food items, and small pieces of original art. The fairs are the weekend of November 23rd and 24th. On November 23rd I’ll be at the Shoreview Y at their first ever product fair. I have no idea what to expect with that one, but hopefully there will be a variety of products and crafts for the shoppers. On November 24th I’ll be at the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church right up the road from my store at their annual art, book and music sale. It only runs from 8 am to 12 noon so make sure you get there early. If you like handmade items there will be plenty to buy as well as offerings from local musicians and writers. Everything I sell at both events will be going to Parrot Rescue Services.
Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday. This is an annual event promoted by American Express which encourages people to support local small business. I am participating this year, and will have numerous gift baskets for sale donated by one of my very talented and generous friends. I will also have some food items and small pieces of art for sale. It is a great way to get some unique holiday shopping done and avoid the crowded malls, and of course all proceeds benefit the rescue.
I will also be selling items on eBay; I had wanted to start auctioning them off in October, but couldn’t quite find the time to get things posted….my apologies to those of you who went searching for things! I’ve had to reschedule it for November 27th and I promise the items will be posted by then.

     Baby, from Linder’s, has recently joined the birds at Parrot Rescue Services. I am proud that out of all the possible homes the family could have chosen, they chose my nonprofit rescue. With your support, I can keep helping birds in need of shelter.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Small Gestures, Big Results!

One of our regular volunteers for Parrot Rescue Services has started a can campaign to help raise money for the birds. Joe has pledged to raise $500 by November 12th by collecting aluminum cans and loose change. While  I was surprised to learn that a pound of aluminum cans is worth 89 cents, I do know that small efforts can add up to big results. For years I have thrown my own loose change into a jar which I then deposit in a savings account for my son. We both have fun watching the balance grow, which he has decided to use to buy a car when he is older. The funny part is listening to him feel genuinely conflicted over what color of Mustang convertible he should buy; yellow or red. I’ve decided to let him ponder that without telling him he will need a lot more loose change to make that dream come true! But I believe, just like Joe does, that small efforts can make a big difference.
A small donation will allow us to keep helping birds like Daisy
I have been on the receiving in of many acts of kindness over the years, and it is truly the little gestures sometimes that keep you going. Please bring your saved aluminum cans to the store.  Joe will pick them up every week on his shift and take them to the recycling center.  If you prefer, you can also make a small monetary donation online through our donate now button.