Category Archives: Pets

Dealing With Death: The Pet Edition

The absurd fear of death is everywhere, I just managed to piss off a bunch of people after someone posted that John Hurt had died and I said “people tend to do that”.  I also wondered when they were going to start with the incessant whine that “2017 is the worst year ever”, like they seem to do every single year.  These are people who just can’t live with the reality that things die.

Well I can.  In fact, I’m probably going to be dealing with it very soon, at least with my cats.  I have three elderly cats, one is almost 19 and the other two are 15.  They’ve all had very long, happy lives, but they’re starting to get thin and my 18 year old has largely stopped eating well.  By the time this posts, I’m sure he’ll be gone.  And I’m okay with that.

Sure, I’m going to miss him, he’s been a good cat for a long time, but things die.  That’s just the reality. Unlike so many hyper-emotional people I see online that are crying and begging imaginary friends to save their pets and writing odes to some farcical rainbow bridge, I simply accept reality as it is.

And when he’s gone, we’re not replacing him.  We decided a long time ago that having 6 cats was just too many.  They tend to come in waves, right now we have an elderly wave and a relatively young wave, just a couple of years old.  We don’t need that, so we’ll cut down to 3 cats through attrition.  I’m fine with that too.

I honestly don’t get people who are terrified of anything dying, be it pets or celebrities or anything else.  How is it that these people are completely incapable of coming to grips with reality?  What is wrong with them?

I really wish I knew.

Addition:  Yes, as expected, he died in his sleep on August 4, just before this article posts.  He was just about 2 months short of turning 19.  He’ll be missed.

Making Better Products

I’m on advisory panels for two different companies, a pet food manufacturer and a paint manufacturer, and I notice the exact same things about both of them.  Both companies are trying to find ways to make their products sell better, but they are not really interested in making their products actually better.  And I understand why, in both markets, all of the premium pet foods and the premium paints are pretty much the same.  There’s nothing really better about one brand than another and the manufacturers know it.  They can’t make a superior product because their product is already as good as modern technology can make it, so they’re just trying to make people think that their product is better than their competition, even if it isn’t.

And I find that stupid.

Oh, I know why they do it, they’re just trying to make as much money as they can and attract all the brand loyalty possible, but when their entire pitch is “tell us which phrasing of the same words makes you more likely to buy our product” or “how can we get you to talk about our product on social media” or “what does our product make you feel like”, it makes me want to puke.

And I tell them that.

Frankly, I’m surprised I’m still on these panels most of the time.  Every survey about what color to make the bag or what order to put words in, or how their marketing strategies make me feel, I answer that none of that matters.  All I care about is how healthy their food is for my pet or how good their paint works.  So long as my pet likes their food and it’s at a price that I think is worthwhile, I’ll buy it.  So long as their paint does what I want it to do and it’s at a reasonable cost, I’ll buy it.  Nothing else matters.  And I’m also very honest with both of them that I don’t buy their particular products.  I am not a customer of either company, nor do I have any interest in becoming one.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what they make, I have no particular problem with their product line, I have tried their products in the past and I simply have other things that I like better.  I am willing to give them my honest opinion though and tell them what I think of their strategies and largely, I think that they are headed in the wrong direction.

And I think I’m rubbing off on others, much to the consternation of both companies.

Case in point, the company asked on the paint site what the company should do differently in 2017.  And someone said “stop telling people that you have a 1-coat paint because clearly, you don’t”.  I was rolling on the floor so hard I couldn’t even post and agree.  But others did.  This came up because they had been asking about new packaging for one of their paints and they kept highlighting “one coat coverage”.  Sorry, I’ve used your paint and it’s nowhere near one coat coverage.  Well, maybe if you perfectly prepped a wall and covered it with two coats of pre-colored primer, then maybe you can cover it with a single coat of same-color paint, but otherwise, not a chance in hell.  People are starting to recognize just how ridiculous the marketing bullshit these companies come up with are.  It’s not one-coat paint.  It’s not superior ingredients.  It’s just spin that they hope nobody realizes is really just empty rhetoric.  The more people who recognize it for what it is, the better.  I predict both companies will abandon their advisory programs if this continues because they don’t want to hear that consumers are wising up.  They want people to be stupid, gullible and easily controlled.

And that’s just sad.

Return of the Sucker Brigade

Sugar Cookie First DayYes, we went and did it again, although this time we have an excuse.  Last night, my youngest daughter went to Market Night, the local weekly farmer’s market with her friends and while there, she came across this young kitten.  When she was ready to be picked up, she told me about it and didn’t know what to do.  He’s between 4-5 weeks old and healthy.  He clearly was not a home-bred kitten that was brought by someone and dumped at Market Night, he was dirty and had a couple of fleas so it looks like a feral kitten, but we couldn’t see where his mother might have been and since some of my daughter’s friends had been carrying him around for a while before they foisted him off on her, she didn’t even know where to look.  She was going to give him to the local animal rescue people who are always trying to adopt out animals there, but honestly, for a kitten that young, I don’t know how well it would go, they always complain they have too many cats and they can’t even adopt him out until he was at least 8 weeks old.  My daughter’s friends started calling him Cookie, and we officially named him Sugar Cookie.

So home he came, he got cleaned up and luckily for us, he’s already weaned and eats like a pig.  So far, it doesn’t look like he’s litter box trained, but that’s usually pretty easy, especially since there are other cats in the house to help him.  He’s a little hard to take a good picture of, kittens aren’t well known for keeping still, but you get an idea of him sitting on my desk.  He spent his first day hissing at everyone and hiding, the second day has been better and he’s got the other cats in the house more freaked out than he is of them.

We didn’t plan on it, but hey… 6 cats.  Why not?

Bird Fanatics Fear Success

Obviously Photoshopped, cats and birds cannot get along.

Yes, this is yet another rant about the stupid, hyper-emotional bird fanatics and the fact that they cannot handle the real world.  It’s also once again the rush to vilify anyone who seems to do better than they do.  So this morning, I wake up and there’s a new thread asking how people’s cats and birds get along.  Immediately, there are tons of people who plainly are cat haters, who say that cats can never be trusted, every cat on the planet will kill your birds if you give them half a chance, etc.  It was really kind of stupid if you ask me.  So I responded and said my cats have no interest in my birds, they’ve been raised around birds from birth and don’t consider birds prey.  In fact, I said they’ve no interest in attacking anything, they’ve been around all matter of rodents, from mice to rats, hamsters to chinchillas, and they’ll cuddle with them if they can.  I have no fear of the cats killing anything in the house, they’re all fat and lazy.

But no, immediately I get attacked because they assert cats just can’t be that way!  Cats are innately evil creatures that are out to murder your children.  Of course, from the description of the cats these windbags are describing, it’s no wonder they’re such mean cusses, they’re kept outside, they don’t get attention, why is anyone surprised that they maintain a predatory instinct when you treat them like predators!  It’s like saying children are evil and then only looking at the children that get abused and beaten and ignored by their parents.  Maybe it’s not the kids, or the cats that are evil… maybe it’s you.

Of course, I don’t say anything like that, I’m nice about it.  I just shrugged, as much as you can shrug online, and said “I don’t know, maybe I’m just doing something right”.  I figured it was an innocuous response that got my point across, but didn’t directly attack anyone else, unlike they did to me.  It just didn’t work out that way.  Now they’re calling me “high and mighty” because somehow my animals are better than everyone else’s.  My dogs don’t kill my cats.  My cats don’t kill my birds.  My birds, in general, don’t bite.  These are common complaints from a huge part of the bird-keeping population, especially the last one, because most of them take in hard-luck cases off the street because their emotions scream out to them to do so, birds that have severe emotional and behavioral problems and are unlikely to ever leave their abusive backgrounds behind.  I’m intelligent about it, I only own well-behaved, well-trained, well-raised birds, I have extremely well-cared-for animals across the board and they don’t feel the need to supplement their diets with their housemates.

Dogs aren’t evil.  Cats aren’t evil.  Birds aren’t evil.  Irresponsible, emotion-driven, irrational pet owners, they’re the ones that are evil, and unfortunately, we’re surrounded by them.

Do I Want Another Bird?

Blue Gold MacawRan across a question on the bird forum this morning that I thought was interesting.  There are always birds posted that either someone found on Craigslist or Kijiji or that someone has gotten in over their heads and has to get rid of and invariably, you get people posting “oh, I wish I could take it…” or “I just have too many right now, sorry…”  These are people who are constantly on the lookout for as many birds as they can find and begging anyone to take them in.

Today though, I saw someone who simply said “I don’t want any more birds”.  It’s simple and to the point and I respect that, certainly more than the endless parade of bird fanatics who, if they can find another few feet of space in their tiny apartments, will take in yet another bird into their already overflowing flock.  Yes, I am serious, there are people there who have been chased out of their bedrooms, who have taken to sleeping in a chair or on the floor so that there is more space to stick in bird cages.  There are a couple who have said they lie to the  government so they can get SSI because they just can’t tear themselves away from their birds long enough to get jobs.

I, however, have plenty of space for more birds, I don’t live in a tiny apartment, I live in a large house.  I can afford to pay for the care and feeding of any animals I choose to have, unlike a lot of others who are constantly whining about how they don’t know how they’ll make ends meet… and they just got another bird.  However, I’ve long recognized that I don’t really “want” another bird, in the sense that I’m not actively looking to go out and buy another one.  I’m happy with what I have.  There isn’t some hole that I’m looking to fill.  So why do I ever pay any attention to the “please take this bird” section of the forum?  Because while I don’t want another bird, my heart is always big enough to take one that needs my help.

That’s really the problem I have with so many of these “bird people”.  It’s all about them.  They want more.  They need a constant supply of new birds coming in their door.  I suppose in the dog and cat world you find the same thing.  The term “crazy cat lady” didn’t magically appear out of the blue.  However, none of them really seem to be concerned with having too many, in fact, lots of them say they’re already over their limit, but still want more.  There’s one in particular that’s been bugging me of late.  There’s clearly something mentally wrong with her, just reading what she writes.  She’s in her 30s and moved back in with her mother because she was unable to hold down a full-time job.  Now, she works part-time at the family store and says she can hardly handle working that much.  She struggles for money all the time, even though she lives rent-free, but boy, does she want birds.  She has two, she wants more.  People are constantly talking her down.  Her latest was a brown head Pionus she saw on Craigslist that she just had to have, but she couldn’t afford the $280 the person was asking.  What could she do?  She just had to have that bird!  This happens every couple of weeks, she sees some bird that she can’t live without, she only wants one more, really!  Now you might chalk it up to whatever her particular mental deficiencies are, but it’s not at all uncommon to see people doing the same thing, wanting bird after bird after bird.  They call it MBS (multiple bird syndrome), I call it a distinct lack of self-control and responsibility.  They want it, but for the entirely  wrong reason.

So no, I don’t want another bird.  I don’t want another dog.  I don’t want another cat.  I’m entirely satisfied with what I have and lack the slightest interest in going to find more.  If one pops up and desperately needs a home, they can find one with me, but that’s opportunity falling into my lap, not me going to look for opportunity.

And that’s the way it ought to be.

Diary of a Fanboy: Pet Edition

CrowFrameI was thinking, for some reason, about pet names, probably in regard to the puppy that I’m going to have coming home in a couple of weeks, and I realized that fannish people are typically not likely to name their pets the standard Spot or Fluffy that are overdone to death.  In fact, most of the people I know who are collectors or fans of science fiction, fantasy and related genres tend to come up with creative or unusual pet names, often based on the very movies, books or comics that they enjoy so much.  I realized that I’ve done that for years so I decided, maybe it might be an interesting idea to present a couple of my current pets with unusual names, that come from books or movies or TV shows.  So here goes.

To the left is my 2-year old yellow-sided green-cheek conure, one of several birds I have.  If you listen to the podcast, you might occasionally hear him making noise in the background, although I try my hardest to edit that out.  He’s a very smart bird, he speaks a few words and phrases here and there, but his real expertise lies in mimicking sounds.  He seriously thinks he’s a cockatiel, his best friends are two cockatiels belonging to my daughters and he calls for them, in their “language” all the time.  They carry on “conversations” and apparently, he knows what they’re saying and he knows the reverse.  He can also “meow” like a cat, do a perfect version of the doorbell, and, to my eternal regret, my kids have taught him to bob his head while saying “derp” over and over.  If you have no idea where his name came from, his full name is Crow T. Conure, which is a reference to the Mystery Science 3000 character Crow T. Robot.

CrookshanksFrameNext comes a cat, the only to currently have a fannish name, but it’s clear where it comes from.  We got him just after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came out in book form, back in 1999 and while the cat that portrayed him in the movies isn’t that similar looking (and it’s damn ugly IMO), Crookie is a big, fat, happy 13 year old cat that, for some weird reason, loves sticking his face in shoes.

He spent the first 5-6 years with us afraid of everything.  I have no idea what his life was like before we got him but he hated everything and everyone in the house.  I can’t imagine it had time to be too horrible, we got him at 3-4 months of age, but he hissed at all the other cats, ran from the dogs and hid from us, he’d only come out when nobody was watching and if you tried to pick him up, he’d scratch you.  Luckily, over time he’s mellowed to the point that he likes being pet, he purrs up a storm and he at least tolerates all the other animals in the house.  I don’t know that he’ll ever be a lap cat, you can put him in your lap and as long as  you pay complete attention to him, he might stick around for a few minutes, but unlike most of the other cats, he won’t seek you out and, except to go ears-deep in your shoes, won’t even lie down close to someone.  That’s alright, he’s a good cat anyhow

MistyFrameNext, we get two dogs whose names go together.  I found them wandering down our road about 4 years ago, it was clear that they were used to being together, although I have no idea if they got thrown out of the same home or if they found each other on the streets.  We never intended to keep them, I just wanted to nurse them back to health and find them good homes, but they were such good dogs, that very soon, they won our hearts.  They were terrified and clearly had been abused.  Misty, on the left, had his tail broken and it had healed badly and Scarlet, on the right, had his tongue split at some time in the past.  Both were loaded with fleas and ticks, both were covered in scabs, malnourished and terrified.  In fact, Misty still is, even after 4 years of nothing but love, if anyone raises their voice, he runs and hides, if you lift your hand around him, he cowers, hopefully over the years, this will eventually go away.  However, Misty is, by far, the most loving dog I have ever had.  He wants to be around you all the time.  He wants to live in your lap.  He wants your attention constantly.  He will jump up in your lap, roll over on his back and go to sleep like a baby.  If we let him sleep with us, he is the only animal in the house that will curl up under the covers and sleep the night through.  My wife calls him pathetic.  I think he’s a fantastic dog.  As near as we can figure, he’s a beagle/corgi mix, he’s got all the classic beagle traits, plus super-short legs and a tail that wags up and down instead of side to side.

ScarletFrameOn the right though is Scarlet.  He’s a full-blood American Cocker Spaniel and, aside from his split tongue and a couple of scars, he’s in very good shape.  I’d say that of the two, he was the worst off, he had an injury under his left eye when we got him that had almost swollen his eye shut and that, if you know where to look, you can still see a crease around his eye where it was forced closed.  That said though, he’s full of energy, too much energy sometimes, and always wants to be the center of attention.  Whatever happened to him before we got him, he’s long since forgotten all about it.  Cockers are supposed to be smart and he is, but he’s got the attention span of a lima bean.  That said, he’s fully trained, unlike Misty, he can sit, stay, come and beg on command, although if you tell him to stay, he’ll do it until you stop looking, then forget what he was supposed to be doing.

So, why are their names fannish?  When we got them, I wanted names that fit the dogs and that went together.  It wasn’t too hard to come up with the combination, especially when you look at Misty’s forehead.  Yes, these two are Captain Scarlet and Mysterion, from the 1960s Supermarionation series from England, although in reality, it was probably more based upon my recent viewing of the 2005 updated New Captain Scarlet.

TorgoFrameAnd finally, the patriarch of the house, the oldest dog we have.  He’s a chihuahua mix, although I have no idea what he’s mixed with.  Of all of the animals I’ve discussed, he’s the only one to be taken directly out of an animal shelter (the rest were off the street or from a breeder).  Back around 2006, I had a small cocker/doxie mix dog that died of old age and while thinking about a new dog to get, I decided that instead of some of the larger dogs I had owned, I wanted something small.  Ideally, I was thinking of a small chihuahua, although not one of the yippy teacup varieties, and started looking at local shelters.  Nobody had anything close to what I was looking for. We were even in a raffle at one shelter for a single, injured, chihuahua, where several dozen people were fighting over her.  We lost, but that’s fine because right after, I ran into this dog at my local shelter.  He was an older dog, they estimated around 8, but he was friendly and happy and loving so I took him.  He was a bit off breed standards, if you know what I mean.  Only one of his hears goes up.  His tail curls to the right.  However, he was a really, really sweet dog and we’ve had him for around 7 years now.  He’s gotten beaten up because of the typical chihuahua attitude and has the scars to prove it, but he’s still happy, healthy and feisty.  His name?  It came from an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, from the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate, where a bumbling villain with comically large knees aids his supernatural master in gaining victims for his cult.  It was actually a fluke that he came to be named that, we couldn’t agree what to name him, everyone was just throwing out names and I said, as a joke, “how about Torgo?”  It just stuck.  Unfortunately, full-blooded chihuahuas live 10-18 years and he’s right in the middle of that range.  He’s no longer as spry as he once was and I know that one of these days, his time will come, which is why…

Yes, we decided to adopt another chihuahua.  Normally we wouldn’t do it until he was gone, but this opportunity fell into our lap and we decided we’d be happy to take  care of another dog.  We have no idea what her name will be, yes, it is a girl, we won’t even get her until at least the last half of March and certainly won’t start thinking of names until we know her personality.  I’m sure that a bunch of fannish names will be suggested though, we’ll keep the tradition going, as we have for many dogs and cats that we’ve had throughout the years.  It makes life with pets a little more fun.

Being a Rational Skeptic: The Hobby Edition

Planet RationalI’ve spoken at length about being a skeptic, as opposed to just being skeptical about a few sundry subjects.  We even dedicated a segment to it on our podcast, The Bitchspot Report.  I made it very clear that you can differentiate between someone who is skeptical, that applies logic and reason to one or to several areas of their lives, and someone who is a skeptic, who applies those logical rules to every aspect of their life without exception.  I definitely fall into the latter.

However, I find that most people simply cannot manage it, they cannot maintain their skepticism full time.  Hell, for a lot of people, they cannot even maintain it a small percentage of the time.  Nowhere is this more plain to me than when it comes to hobbies.  I know I’ve talked about some of these things before, but not from this particular angle, so please bear with me.

Collecting: Stamps – It really doesn’t matter what you collect, it seems, there are always complaints about how it’s produced, how much it costs, how hard it is to find, etc.  Take U.S. postage stamps for example.  Everyone always complains how many stamps are released each and every year, the USPS releases even more stamps than the year before.  In 2013, for example, they’ve already either released or announced for release in the first quarter, more than 100 face-different stamps, making 2013 almost certainly the history-leader in number of different stamps to be issued.  Why?  Certainly it isn’t for the envelope-mailing public, it is aimed specifically at the collector market and designed to bring in more revenue for the nearly bankrupt USPS.  Collectors everywhere complain long and loud about how expensive it is to collect U.S. stamps and condemn the USPS for their tactics,  yet they refuse to consider the obvious solution to the problem:  stop collecting new U.S. postage stamps!  In fact, not only do they refuse to consider it, they refuse, by and large, to even talk about the possibility.  The moment the idea even comes up, conversation virtually stops.  The very idea of not mindlessly buying everything that comes out, no matter how ugly, overpriced or overproduced it is, it’s like suggesting sawing the head off their cat.  The same person will scream about how terrible what the USPS is doing and then, in the next breath, say they’ll be in line Friday to buy a whole pile of these stamps, in every conceivable format, to stick them in an album.  Seriously?!?!?!?

Collecting: Action Figures – It’s not like  action figure collectors are any better.  The whole of the collector fanbase has been abuzz with the severe reduction in articulation in both Hasbro and Mattel figures.  Many lines are now coming with 5-points of articulation, which is utterly absurd considering at one point, some figures were coming with 30-35 points of articulation.  Lots of modern action figures are essentially lumps of poorly painted plastic that hardly do anything, they’re more like inaction figures.  The prices suck too.  The figure quality becomes cheaper, the prices become more expensive, the selection of figures becomes more limited as well as companies are taking fewer risks and over-producing the most popular characters again and again.  Add the fact that so many stores, after getting burned by the poor case packing schemes, are just not ordering much, if any, new product and the shelves are bare.  So what do action figure collectors do?  Do they rationally consider their purchases?  Of course not!  They whip out the credit card and buy everything, no matter how badly made or how expensive it happens to be.  In fact, some of them are convinced that if they only support the manufacturers who, according to them, are doing everything wrong, that maybe things will improve, so they’re buying even more things that they scream about!  How is this rational?

Pets –  Yes, I know pets really aren’t a hobby, but I see the same kind of fanatical nonsense here as well.  So many people act like their pets are really their children and treat them better than they treat themselves.  Of course, don’t dare suggest that people with a dozen parrots, who can hardly afford macaroni and cheese for themselves shouldn’t have that many birds, or that they should stop desperately looking around for more birds to adopt, or that they should stop treating their birds lavishly, they’ll scream at you and call you names.  In fact, if you don’t adopt their methods, they’ll call you names anyhow.  That’s not how rational people work, it’s how fanatics function.  If you remember, not too long ago I wrote about a bruhaha that happened on a forum where the bird crazies were criticizing the ASPCA for giving what they viewed as a bad impression of the costs of pet ownership.  While I agree there may be some bad numbers in there, they screamed because they viewed their absurd spoiling of their birds to be the norm that everyone ought to be doing.  I think it said that for a small bird, $25 a year in toys would suffice.  Oh hell no!  These people spend over $100 a month on toys!  they order raw materials online and spend all their time building toys!  They spend half their days arranging and re-arranging the toys in the cage!  They have tubs of toys that have never even been used and they’re still getting more!  They feed their birds the most expensive premium food money can buy and that’s not even good enough, they have to cook their own organic food, designed just for the birds, as a supplement.  In fact, I know of at least one person who planted a variety of fruit trees in their back yard because they didn’t trust any other source for fresh fruit without pesticides, etc.  Then, these people take their birds to the vet several times a year, just to have a battery of tests done, on the off chance that something might be wrong.  They spend thousands of dollars a year in preventative care and all they accomplish is keeping their vet in BMWs, while they drive around in beat up 20-year old cars.  And then, because that’s what they do, they expect that everyone else out there ought to do the same or they’re a bad pet owner.  It’s just ludicrous.

Gaming –  Yup, it happens here too and for a lot of the same reasons I noted above under collecting.  If you’ve ever hung out in a gaming forum, you’ll see all manner of bitching and whining about how horrible MMOs are today, how there isn’t a single game out there worth playing, that the  games are all stupid and dumbed down and the people are horrible, but these same people who complain about every aspect of gaming will advance purchase every damn new MMO that comes on the market!  Every single solitary one!  And then, they’ll sit there and complain how awful they are, while plunking down a monthly fee every month!  But don’t suggest that if they hate these games so much, they should go find something else to do.  Oh no!  They think they deserve to have the perfect game to play, even if it would be a massive financial failure in the real world.  Many of them are convinced that because they’ve been playing these games that they now hate for so many years, they are uniquely qualified and somehow deserving of being able to define what they games are and how they’re made and damn it, everyone ought to listen!

It’s not just the religious people who are fucking stupid, it’s EVERYBODY!  Is it any wonder I spend so much time looking at humanity and being frustrated?

I Should Learn to Keep my Mouth Shut

birdRescueI know I’ve talked at some length about the irrational people, primarily women, who inhabit a lot of animal forums.  Every time I get involved in such a forum, I end up frustrated at the amount of stupidity that I come across and yet, I keep going back, like a fool, because I happen to like talking about animals.

This time is no exception.  I used to hang out on a bird forum and have heavily criticized the forum from time to time for being so absurdly hyper-emotional.  As such, I’ve largely stopped visiting in the past several months, but I was bored about a week ago and thought I’d take a run over there to see what was happening.

Big mistake.

There were two separate but related threads going on, both about bird rescues.  Essentially, they asked if it was fair that bird rescues had such a high standard when it comes to who they give birds to.  There were two extremist warring camps, one side that essentially said nobody but the most perfect should even own a bird and the other that said that anyone who wants a bird should be able to get a bird from a breeder, even if they can’t afford to care for it.  My jaw just dropped watching these people whine at each other.  Now certainly, a rescue can do anything they want to, the birds are their legal property, they can pick and choose who qualifies to whatever standards they want until the cows come home.  That said though, the reality of animal rescues is that they always have more animals coming in the back door, they have to place animals or they’ll be overwhelmed.  I have friends who work for or own dog and cat rescues locally and you can see this on every rescue webpage, they constantly complain about how many animals are being dropped off, how full they are, how they have to be able to place more animals, yet they avoid the only real solution to their problem, loosening their absurdly restrictive adoption practices.

How restrictive?  Seriously, you probably do less paperwork and supply less personal information getting a car loan than you do applying for a bird.  If you look at a lot of the applications online, you find they want to know everything about your life, who is in your family, if anyone smokes, personal references, vet references, personal affidavits from friends and family, in-home visits, etc.  In fact, let me address that last one in more depth.  The contract you sign with a lot of rescues state that you are granting them permanent and unscheduled access to your home at any time they want, they can show up at your door to check on the animal and you have to let them in. If they don’t like what they see, they can confiscate the animal and take it away.  Oh, and they don’t have to refund the money you’ve spent.  That means if, for example, you drop $1000 on a parrot at a rescue and they show up a month later and decide they don’t like how the bird is being kept, for whatever subjective reason they like, they can take back the bird, keep your $1000 and tell you to have a nice fucking day.  Now I’m sure that hardly ever happens, the rescues have very little time to deal with the birds they currently have, certainly they have less time to spend visiting the birds they’ve already placed, but the fact is, it’s something you have to contractually agree to, in writing, before you get a bird.

So I suggested that, if these rescues want to be a viable source of pet birds, they need to treat people like responsible adults, not like immature little children who are trying to screw you over and abscond with your birds.  Yeah, there might be some small percentage of people who do that, but that’s certainly not the norm.  The fact is, pets are property.  It doesn’t matter if they like that fact, it doesn’t stop it from being reality.

They’ll tell you that they just want to protect the animals from bad owners, but the fact is, if someone wants a pet bad enough, there are plenty of non-rescue avenues that they can take to get one.  They can go to a breeder, they can go to a pet store, they can go to a private  seller, they can go to an animal shelter, etc.  All of these are faster, cheaper and easier than going through a rescue and the rescue isn’t stopping anyone from getting their hands on an animal, period.  Let’s be honest, rescues spend a lot of time  shooting themselves in the foot, especially considering that far too many animals in a rescue are damaged, either physically or psychologically and due to the cost of running a rescue at all, the adoption fees are often not much less than going to a breeder and buying an untarnished bird.  Why are costs so high?  Certainly there are a lot of legitimate expenses a rescue has to pay, but a lot of them also have bird sanctuaries, animals that are so screwed up that they could never be adopted, so there’s an additional cost on the back of the rescue to care for and feed piles of animals so screwed up nobody would want them.  I’ve already made my opinion clear on that.

Of course, a lot of these rescue people are of the mindset that nobody ought to ever own a bird anyhow, they fall for the ridiculous PeTA crap that animal ownership is evil, so I’m not sure why they are running a rescue to begin with.  Then again, I don’t know why PeTA runs an animal shelter when they kill 95% of all the animals that are turned in there and then claim to love animals.  Deranged people do crazy things.

They also seem to think that we ought to bow down to the rescues and thank them for the work they do.  Okay, they do some good work, I’ll agree with that, but bow down?  Sorry, at the end of the day, they are a business, non-profit or no, and I am a customer.  They owe me.  I’ve seen lots of people complain that people who adopt pets should not be thanked for doing so, it’s somehow our job and responsibility to take animals from others.  I call bullshit.  I am doing you the favor.  You have an animal that you are unable or unwilling to care for, for whatever reason.  I am willing to take that animal off your hands and provide the care that you are morally obligated to give, yet are unable to provide.  Where am I the bad guy?  It makes no sense.

A final note, I finally gave up when people started suggesting that being honest and speaking one’s mind is a bad thing if it makes anyone feel bad for any reason, even if they’re completely wrong about everything.  Making someone feel good is apparently more important than being right.  As much as I hate to say it, it reminds me of a certain  group and their desire to have a “safe zone” from all the people on the planet who think they’re loons.

I fucking hate people.

While We’re Talking About Fanatics

Plucked Parrot
It looks like a plucked chicken, this bird will probably never recover, physically or psychologically.

Let’s talk about bird people.  Okay, let’s  be honest, bird women.  A huge percentage of bird owners seem to be women, although I don’t have any particular data to back that up, the overwhelming majority of people on bird forums where gender is self-identified do tend to be female.  That’s not a good or a bad thing, it just is what it is.  Let’s not get into a whole “bird owners are misandrists!” kerfluffle, I’ll leave that to the feminists.  Over the years though, I’ve been involved in a huge number of animal forums and they do tend to be mostly women involved.

But that’s neither here nor there, although I think it figures in later.  Now let’s look at rescued birds, “rehomed” birds, etc.  I’m a big advocate of getting most of your pets from shelters and not from breeders, there are way too many animals that need homes already to be producing more.  Come on back when we’ve cleared out the shelters, then I’ll buy your breeder pet.  However, while I want to rescue animals that have been abandoned, I also think that I have the right to expect that these animals are not horribly damaged in some way.

However, if you look at a lot of online bird rescues, and I think this applies to a lot of animals, but birds in particular, a huge number are damaged animals.  Birds are very intelligent and this unfortunately leads to them being rather easily psychologically damaged.  This leads, in many cases, to self-mutilation and feather plucking because they literally have a break down and go crazy.  It is possible, with extensive care and attention, to bring a small number of these birds back, but there are a huge number that will never be normal again.

I tend to look at the bird and say, this bird is damaged, it probably can never be fixed, it can never live a natural, normal, happy life, it is screwed up in the head and the most compassionate thing we can probably do is put it down.  That’s not how these bird women operate though, the more damaged the bird is, the more the mothering instinct kicks in and they demand that people ought focus almost exclusively on saving the birds that, IMO, shouldn’t be saved.  There are so many other birds out there who deserve attention because they are in much better condition, but these birds tend to go unnoticed.  The more mutilated a bird is, the less feathers, the more body parts missing, the worse life the bird has had, the more their hearts go out to the bird and their minds go straight out the window.

Yes, it’s sad that so many birds get abused, but they certainly are not abused in numbers approaching dogs or cats or even hamsters.  If I go to the animal shelter looking for a dog, I am not going to adopt the mangy blind dog with two legs, no matter how sad it might make me feel.  I’m a realist.  That dog cannot have a decent quality of life anymore and, like it or not, nothing deserves to live regardless.  I’ll adopt an animal that I can have a good reciprocal relationship with, they can make me happy and I can make them happy.  The same goes for birds.  If I was going to adopt a bird, it would be a bird without known psychological or physical problems.  I’m not at all adverse to adopting birds in need either, in fact, I’ve offered to do so in the past, to foster birds for people going through difficulty, but my stance on only accepting well-adjusted, healthy animals makes me somewhat of a pariah among these bird forum women.  How dare I not just pour endless time, energy and money into birds that will never get better!

You want to know what else pisses me off?  That a huge number of people who are trying desperately to re-home their birds want retail prices or better for them.  If I can go down to the corner pet store or bird breeder and buy a bird for $100, say, why would I take your “second-hand” damaged, psychologically messed up bird for $200?  Why do you think I ought to pay extra for the damage you caused?  Some people just get too emotionally attached to their animals and think that because they had it and can no longer care for it, it ought to be worth more to someone.  News flash for you though, it doesn’t.  In fact, as much as people hate to hear it, a used bird is not fundamentally different than a used couch.  It’s all about condition and value.  It will virtually never go for more than the cost of new.  In fact, these people ought to be pretty damn thankful that their animal is going to a loving, caring home at all.  If you are unable to afford to care for a pet, and I understand it’s a hard decision to make, then the welfare of the pet ought to be your primary concern.  Your wallet shouldn’t come into it.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t be able to sell your pet for a reasonable amount if you want, but it seems for lots of people, even those who are not doing it  for financial hardship reasons, that making a buck is the only thing they care about.  I think that’s disgusting.

Pets are special, they bring comfort and meaning to our lives, but, like everything else, we have to be rational about them.  We have to realize that keeping an animal is a responsibility, but it’s also something that most of us will do many, many, many times in our lives and we cannot focus blindly on one particular pet to the exclusion of all else, especially not our own health, happiness or wellbeing.  It’s sad if we get into a situation where we can no longer keep an animal, but it happens.  We must take the steps necessary to put that animal into the best possible home, to give them the best possible future, without regard for our own profit.  We must also recognize when an animal, for whatever reason, simply is not having the quality of life that it should and understand that there are times when an animal is so damaged, either physically or psychologically, that the best course of action, perhaps the only humane course of action, is to simply put it to sleep.  This goes not only for birds but for all animals.  We cannot allow our emotions to get in the way of reality. Pets are our responsibility but we have to understand when enough is enough.

That’s what being rational is all about.

Birds at the End of the Line

My favorite bird farm is quickly going out of business.  Oh, they say they’re “downsizing”, that they’re “re-consolidating” their assets and “re-evaluating” their business plan but it’s really clear what’s going on.  It’s a shame because they’ve been around almost 40 years.  Beyond just having birds, feed, toys, cages and supplies, they had a huge open aviary with koi ponds and tons of free-flying birds living in a wild setting, they had a ton of interesting animals in a petting zoo, ranging from ostriches and camels to goats and sheep to turkeys and Brahma bulls.  I say had because these things are largely gone.  They’ve disposed of just about all of their mammals, sent to a farm somewhere.  I was there last week and they had four turkeys, a donkey and a camel left.  They also had a huge walk-in area in the back of the store for community birds, finches, canaries and the like, which was always stocked full of hundreds of birds.  Now, most cages are empty and the ones with birds in them have just a few, mostly with discounted prices.  To be honest, I walk into the store and wonder what the hell happened, it used to be an amazing place.  The cages used to be full of a large variety of birds.  They had a big cage of parakeets by the front door that had learned what the bell sounded like so every time someone came in, you’d get a cage full of ‘keets going “ding dong!”  There were always many types of conures, from Green-cheek to Sun to Jenday, they always had something new and interesting on their front counter, now that spot is taken up by their latest “please get this bird out of here” deal.  Last time we were there, it was a pair of Sun conures they were trying to push out the door.   It’s not just the time of year, it’s the attitude of the store these days.

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They say that sales are way down, which I can understand.  The problem, though, really isn’t the economy, although certainly that contributes.  I’ve watched the bird farm slide slowly from a really great place that offered lots of extras to, I’m sorry to say, a hole in the wall that really doesn’t offer half of what your big corporate pet store offers.

Now if you look at their website, which for the longest time was an unprofessional piece of crap, they look like they’re an amazing place to go and certainly, they used to be.  You get the impression that they breed 8 different families of birds, but in reality, they really breed very little anymore.  Beyond breeding cockatiels, parakeets and Congo African Grey parrots, they really have very little.  Oh sure, from time to time they’ll have something else, typically some form of conure or Rose-breasted Cockatoo, but honestly, I can go to the local Petco and get a better selection of birds.  Yes, stuck in cages in the back of the outdoor aviary, they may, from time to time, have a pair of macaws or cockatoos, once I saw a pair of toucans, but they’re either not-for-sale or not tame with high price tags, nobody is going to spend a ton of money for mean birds that cannot be handled.  I’ve bought a conure from them and my daughters each have a cockatiel that we bought from them, we buy the majority of our food and toys and cages from them so you can’t say we’re not doing everything we can to support them, it just seems like they’re not trying.

One reason, to be honest, is the staff.  As much as I like the people who work there, I don’t think they have an employee under age 50.  They’re not excited to see anyone, there’s no enthusiasm, it’s “oh… someone came in, guess I’ll go take their money”.  Yes, I know it’s a family-owned business, yes, I know these people have been there for decades, but it seems that just a few short years ago, there was some energy amongst the staff.  Now, when you walk in, there’s rarely anyone at the counter and I can see two different things in their eyes, either “please hurry up and go away” or “please buy something so I have a job”.

It’s really a shame because this used to be the premiere bird farm in Southern California.  Virtually every bird found in every commercial pet store used to come from Bracken.  They were the go-to people and everyone loved their animals.  Today, I doubt they have a single commercial contract.

Don’t get me wrong, if they’re trying to retire, I can respect that, they live on the property so I can see where they’re not going to want to sell the store to another party, but to go out like this, not at the top of their game but drifting off into oblivion, closing up shop, not with a roar but with a whimper… it’s just sad.

PETA Can’t Be That Dumb!

PETA-mon. Gotta be delusional!

Every time I think an extremist group can’t get any stupider, I run into something like this.  PETA, closely linked with animal terrorist organizations, apparently thinks that Pokemon are real.  Yes, you heard me right, PETA has released a web-based parody of the popular Pokemon video game series that tells people to “free ’em all”.

The PETA website describes the game as “For generations, Pokémon have suffered at the hands of their cruel trainers. Help PETA free Pikachu and his Pokémon friends as they struggle for Pokémon liberation!”

Um guys… Pokemon don’t really exist.  You do know that, right?

Well, you never can be sure with this crowd, they’re not all that bright after all.  Yes, I know it says on their website that Pokemon is an analogy for animal cruelty, specifically circus animal cruelty, but come on.  PETA is doing nothing but cruising for popularity on the back of Nintendo’s newly released Pokemon: Black & White 2.  I guess they haven’t been in the headlines enough recently so they had to come up with a publicity stunt.

Evil tanuki-murdering Mario!

This is nothing too new for PETA though, back in 2011, they released a “Mario Kills Tanooki” campaign, asserting that “in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.”  No guys, in real life, tanuki are Japanese mythological animals and Mario puts on a tanuki suit in Super Mario Bros. 3.

The sad fact is, PETA is an extremist animal-rights organization that really doesn’t care about animals.  They have a giant shelter at their headquarters in Norfolk, VA, but of the animals turned in there, more than 70% are killed.  Animal lovers my ass.  If you want the real story on PETA, they don’t live animals, they actually hate people.  While they don’t make it that obvious to their potential contributors, the fact is, they want to end all use of all animals, under all circumstances, by humans, with the ultimate goal being the extinction of humanity entirely.

Maybe these people should hang out with the crazy anti-natalists.  Seems like they’d be a good match.


Another Mouth to Feed

Well, as I said before, we lost a cat last week, but we were planning on getting a replacement on Saturday, which is exactly what we did.  I’m really not a cat person.  I don’t hate them particularly or I wouldn’t have had so many over the years, but I much prefer dogs.  However, I’m a sucker for making my kids happy and promising a new kitten was the only way to cheer up my youngest daughter so…

On Saturday, we ran down to the local animal shelter.  Luckily, it’s about 2 minutes away from the house.  We’ve adopted a lot of animals there, every single dog or cat we’ve had in the last 20 years have come out of a shelter or off the street.  Out of that particular shelter has come our siamese cat Archie and our chihuahua Torgo.  Now, may I introduce Luna.

Okay, yes, she is cute.  And female!  For some reason, just about every animal we’ve had for over a decade has been male.  It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened.  The only exception is our dalmatian Sparky.  Otherwise, all male cats, almost all male dogs, all male birds, a male snake, it’s a sausage fest.

In fact, I looked back through the photo albums and the last female cat we had was more than 15 years ago, before my kids were even born!

Oh wait, I’m posting this 4 days after we adopted her, why is that?  They don’t allow you to take your cat or dog home without having them altered and, unfortunately, the shelter is closed Sunday and Monday and the vet is closed weekends so the first day they could have it done was today.  Therefore, she got fixed and now she’s home so I could get a picture of her. Trust me, it’s not easy to get a picture of an 8-week old kitten that is exploring.  The above is the best shot I could get out of at least 100 shots I tried.  Most were just a blur.  Hey, it’s a kitten.

Welcome Luna.  Welcome to the nuthouse.

Update:  Here’s a better picture of her sleeping on my lap.

Death is a Part of Life

We lost a cat today.  He was old and it was natural causes, but we’ve seen it coming for months.  He slowly started to lose weight, even though he was still eating, but his energy levels went down to the point that he could hardly move on his own.  My youngest daughter took on the job of feeding him three times a day and giving him his medicine and that alone probably extended his life for a couple weeks, but this afternoon, he finally succumbed to mortality and died.

Smokey was a cool cat, the only polydactyl we ever had, but he was never as social as all the other cats in the house.  For years, he wouldn’t come near anyone but my daughters, then he realized one day that affection was actually a pretty cool thing and he became a much more loving cat, seeking some loving at random, but never wanting to sit in your lap or sleep at your feet.  Still, he was a great cat, I’ll miss him.

Over on Atheist Camel, he had a post a couple of days ago about how atheists deal with death.  My answer then is the same as it is now.  It’s accepting reality as it is.  Death, whether you like it or not, is a natural and normal part of reality.  It’s coming no matter what you do.  Whining and crying and bitching and moaning about it won’t change a thing, so what’s the point of it?

Let’s be pragmatic about the whole thing, shall we?  Life is what life is.  Reality couldn’t care less what you think about it, it happens as it happens and there’s no point whatsoever about complaining about it.  Fearing death doesn’t stop death.  It just ruins your life and waste your time while you’re shivering in a corner.  Why not just accept that death is coming and enjoy the life you have to the best of your ability.  Death comes when it comes.  Life ends when death comes.  If you wait until death looms to enjoy life, you’ve wasted the majority of that precious resource.

So while I am absolutely going to miss my cat and he’s going to leave a hole in my heart for a while, he was fantastic while he was here and now, effective this Saturday, we can go to the shelter and adopt a new little ball of fluff and love it and care for it for another 14 years.

And the circle of life continues.

Stupid Cat People

I think Animal Planet runs some of the most idiotic shows around, which considering the rest of the cable lineup, is saying a lot.  Some of the worst shows, though, are the ones that show “animal lovers” who can’t handle their animals.  This is where we get all the trainers and the experts that come in and tell people they’re fucking idiots.

Perhaps the worst show is My Cat From Hell, about cats that are simply unmanageable.  You have people who are afraid to go on vacation, afraid to have friends over, afraid to have kids, because their cats are so completely out of control.  Now yes, I know that most of these animals have extenuating circumstances and can be corrected, but if I found myself with an animal that I could not handle, I could not fix and was stopping me from living my life, you know what I’d do?

I’d shoot it.

Seriously, you cannot allow animals to run your life and most of the people in these shows are just too damn stupid to live.  They’ve been living like this for years and they either don’t care or they’re too moronic to figure it out on their own.  What, none of these people have heard of the Internet?  Books?  Anything?  I mean, take your cat to the vet to see if anything is wrong and then address the problems.  If you can’t do that, you don’t deserve to own an animal in the first place.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating filling Kitty full of lead because it’s easier than handling the problems, but there are some animals which cannot be fixed, which are just violent, destructive, etc.  Usually those are strays who have been rescued, etc.  Trust me, I know, I have 5 cats and 4 dogs, every single one of them has been rescued from a shelter or taken off the streets.  Yeah, I know it’s not their fault, by and large, but  the fact remains that some animals are just so damaged that they cannot be repaired no matter how hard you try.  I love animals, but I’m realistic about them as well.  There are animals that you can’t fix.  There are pet owners who have no business owning pets.  It just pisses me off when people get on TV and say “we’ve had this problem for 12 years and we don’t know what to do!”

Shoot yourself in the head, get your crappy genes out of the gene pool.

I Beat PZ Myers To The Punch

Best R/C helicopter ever!  If it wasn’t made from apparent road-kill, I’d make one!  My oldest daughter, upon seeing it, declared it a UFO – “Unidentifed Feline Object”, which I think is a fantastic term for it.

And it’s perfect fodder for the ongoing PZ Myers/Jerry Coyne cat war too.  They’ve been going back and forth for a long time, Jerry is the ultimate cat lover, PZ tends to enjoy things of a more cephalopod-ish nature.  Therefore, whenever Jerry posts something pro-cat, PZ invariably posts something anti-cat.  I think I’ve beat PZ to the punch on this one though, which I find amazing because he’s usually a pretty quick guy.

Yes, it is in some Scandinavian language without subtitles, I apologize, but the important parts transcend language.

The Idiots of Craigslist

Sorry, I just have to vent for a minute, simply because there’s no real way to do it effectively on Craigslist.  Yes, Craigslist uses absurdly outdated technology that doesn’t allow people to do anything to respond to ads, nor really to carry on an effective discussion in their forums.  Maybe I’m just spoiled, but threaded forums like that went out years ago.

That said though, I really do hate the utterly idiotic people who post on Craigslist.  I’m not talking about the people who can’t spell, the people who don’t even know what they have, the people who ramble on and on in their ads, I specifically mean the people who think they’re above the rules and get to do as they wish and bitch about it when their ads are flagged. Continue reading The Idiots of Craigslist

“Pet” Peeves

Over on the bird forum, someone started a thread about pet peeves, especially those related to birds.  Lots of people popped up saying they hated people taking unwanted liberties with their birds, asking stupid questions about their birds, etc.

My pet peeve would never survive there.  My pet peeve, and this relates to more than just birds, are people who try to live vicariously through their animals or children.  Since so many of those kinds of people populate the forums, my post would vanish and so too would my membership.  Therefore, I’m taking the opportunity to point it out here, away from moderator eyes. Continue reading “Pet” Peeves

Ding Dong! The Dog is Dead!

This is going to come off as somewhat cruel, so for the more sensitive animal lovers among you, turn back now.  Really.  You’re not going to like what I have to say.  If you click on the <MORE> button, you’ll probably regret it.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Continue reading Ding Dong! The Dog is Dead!

It’s a Bird Show! A Bird Show!

Got out yesterday afternoon and attended a local bird show.  I don’t know what I was expecting, to be perfectly honest, some of the shows I’ve attended lately have been terrible disappointments, some have pleasantly surprised me.  This was a mixture of both.

We went, mostly to see what was there, but secretly I really was hoping to come home with something new and feathery.  I’ve been looking at a couple of different species that seem to be made to order for my lifestyle, not too big, mostly not too small, not too needy, not too distant.  In other words, pretty mellow birds that enjoy human contact, but are not constantly grafted to your shoulder.

Some of the birds I’ve been looking at are Hahn’s or Illiger’s mini-macaws, bronze-wing pionus, Senegal parrots or Meyers parrots.  All are mid-sized birds, very well suited to the kind of home we have.  My wife has looked at the tiny parrotlets, they were available in abundance, but we chose not to go that route at the moment.

The problem, I suppose, is that when I went looking for those birds at the show, most simply were nowhere to be found.  There was a single bronze-wing pionus, I looked at it as I walked into the show, but when I came back later on, it was gone.  There were two Senegals, sold as a mated pair, but both had totally bald heads, either from molding or feather-picking.  I was really surprised to find an almost total absence of large birds altogether!  Of the large macaws, there were a grand total of two blue and golds in the whole show.  No scarlets.  No militarys.  No green-wings.  None.  Even among cockatoos, there was a single Goffins in a cage on one side and a couple of rose-breasted in a cage on the other.  No umbrellas.  No mollucans.  No sulphur-cresteds.  There were a couple of young african greys scattered here and there, mostly breeding pairs, but not a timneh gray in sight.  The show seemed to be almost totally large bird free.  Granted, I wasn’t looking for large birds, but those are some of the most popular birds around.

In the end, I didn’t get a bird.  I did get a couple of toys for Crow, they had someone selling some really nice shreddable toys at great prices, but I personally came home featherless.  My oldest daughter, on the other hand, did not.  After we had walked around for a while, we were going to leave and she started getting depressed.  She had decided she wanted a bird of her own.  She wasn’t sure what she wanted, she just knew she wanted something.  So we went looking.  Did she want something small like a parakeet?  Something a bit larger like lovebirds?  A cockatiel?  She settled on a cockatiel, which was fine because we had an empty cockatiel cage sitting at home anyhow.  She picked out a beautiful lutino male, just weaned, and brought it home.  He’s super mellow, he’s got a new cage full of toys, he’s mostly got “stepping up” mastered and we’re going to keep him on a couple feedings of formula a day, just to make sure he doesn’t lose any weight moving over to pellets.  She named him Tom Servo, to go with Crow T. Conure, which I think is cute.

Granted, I almost came home with a new kitten, one of the breeders had a cage of really cute 8-week kittens that her neighbor dumped on her and there was one that I kept waffling over.  I have enough cats, more than enough, but I’m a sucker for a cute face.  I passed it up the first time and by the time I came around again, someone else had already adopted it.  It’s really all that matters, having a good home, I’m glad that it got one.

Well, the next big local show is in November, maybe things will have changed by then.  Who knows, I might already have more birds by the time the show rolls around.  You never can tell.

Hopeless Waste of Time

Sometimes, posts on other blogs will spark something I want to touch on, but it’s even rarer when it’s not blog posts, but responses to blog posts, that specifically make me want to comment.

In response to this article, a commenter here said this:

I also think your questions were excellent and pertinent. This whole blog is very well written and I’m glad someone has touched on the “guilt” some of us have for living with parrots at all. It’s kind of a catch 22 because we certainly cannot release them but we can choose to adopt rather than purchase a baby if we decide to expand our flocks – or begin one. Reduced demand is the only thing that will slow down breeding and reducing breeder output is the only thing that will will reduce the number of “un-homed” parrots. “Do as I say, not as I do” is always a tricky sentiment but that’s pretty much what those of us with parrots are expressing when we try to enlighten the uninitiated and share our qualms about parrots in captivity. Our parrots are very well cared for and they have known no other life but I can’t help feel it’s still not quite right and the number of parrots in sanctuaries would seem to bear this out.

Continue reading Hopeless Waste of Time

Best of Bad Options

I got criticized over on the avian forums for suggesting that there are some birds that just shouldn’t be rescued.  Someone took exception to this, as if I’m being overly harsh with regard to pet birds, she said I wouldn’t say the same thing about dogs or cats or kids.

She’s wrong. Continue reading Best of Bad Options

Liberal Guilt & Birds

I know I’ve been posting a lot about birds lately, but this is a bit different.  Over on an avian forum, there’s been a thread going about aviculture and guilt.  It asks if people feel guilty owning birds, or directly or indirectly over what other people do with birds.

I think the whole concept is idiotic.  Why should I feel guilty over things that someone else is doing?  If I’m doing nothing wrong, what part do I have in feeling bad? Continue reading Liberal Guilt & Birds

My Policy on Rescues

I see this all the time and it bothers me, that someone wants to place their messed up pet with someone else because they cannot afford it or cannot handle it.  Now while this might be heartbreaking to see an animal suffering, shouldn’t we be considering our role in perpetuating that suffering?

The unfortunate reality is that all animals cannot be saved.  There are far more unwanted animals than there will ever be adoptive homes.  For every animal that you take into your home, there are a dozen more than will never have homes to call their own.  While emotionally I may hate the idea, intellectually I have to accept that it is, and will always be true. Continue reading My Policy on Rescues

Getting to Hate Craigslist

I wrote not that long about about the absurd practice on Craigslist of “re-homing” birds, entirely ignoring the rules that only a small re-homing fee can be charged.  People are demanding hundreds and even thousands of dollars for animals they’re not allowed to be selling and Craigslist relies on the users to report them all and get their ads removed.  Then they whine about how unfair it is that people are reporting their rule-violating ads, like they’re too damn stupid to figure it out on their own.

The rule outlaws the sales of, specifically:

Household pets of any kind including but not limited to dogs, cats, primates, cage birds, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish. Re-homing with small adoption fee OK

Continue reading Getting to Hate Craigslist

The Fallacy of “Re-homing”

There’s been this discussion going on lately on an avian board about “re-homing” birds, especially with regard to Craigslist.  Craigslist has a policy that you cannot use their system to sell animals, a policy that I very much support.  However, that’s just led to people using a different word and continuing to sell animals in disguise.  That word is “re-homing fee”.  In short, it means you’re paying someone some amount of money in exchange for their animal.  Want to know what that really is?  Selling! Continue reading The Fallacy of “Re-homing”