Kaela and Lola
I am honored to show ARC's support of International Women's Day by introducing you to one of our most valuable employees. Kaela Duran is a young woman in her early 20's with whom we have had the privilege of working for the last several years. Kaela is a graduate of El Capitan High School in Lakeside, CA, and was a member of the FFA and 4H. She had the experience of raising a pig with the school program and a goat with the 4H. Kaela has always been a lover of animals, from farm livestock to all sorts of companion pets. She initially came to us seeking information on how to best care for her two beloved cockatiels. After departing another parrot rescue and opening Avian Rehabilitation Center, I was able to offer Kaela a paid position within my orgnaization. Kaela is detailed in her work, and gentle and kind, using positive reinforcement training techniques in her bird-socialization/bird-handling duties with every parrot that calls ARC home.
This summer, ARC will be starting its first internships. One will involve developing a program that may be used in elementary and high school classes to help the younger generation understand the issue of extinction of parrot species in the wild vs. their over-population in captivity. The second internship position will be to develop programs to use in assisted-living institutions for the elderly and the mentally chanellenged. We will be incouraging women who have an interest in exotic avian species to apply to these exciting postions.
Below is Kaela's story in her own words:
"I never had any experience with birds and then we went to Hawaii for my High School graduation present. We took a taxi and the driver took his cute little Cockatiel to work with him every day and he ran up and down the dashboard of his car. I got to hold him and fell in love with him.
"Months later our Veterinarian called us and asked if we were interested in adopting two Cockatiels as their owner had passed away. They came as a pair, so we took them. They both whistled and they sang so sweet. We had them about 6 years when one of them passed away about a year ago due to liver failure. Of course we did everything we could to save him. The remaining Cockatiel was lonely.
"A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to learn more about birds so I looked on the Internet and found PEAC. I talked to their Director at the time, Eric Kern, who is now director of ARC, and he agreed to let me volunteer for him and the dozen or so Parrots he had. In exchange for cleaning the cages, feeding the birds etc. Eric taught me how to care for and how to socialize with the birds. My volunteering eventually turned into a part time job with Eric. I love working there. The birds are given great care and we ensure the cages are clean and fresh food 3 times a day. I love socializing with the birds and several of them say my name and I like to hold them and give them lots of love.
"I eventually agreed to Foster a Blue and Yellow Macaw named Lola who had been a Foster failure a few times. I knew she needed a lot of love and attention. The first couple of months were tough but I continued to hold her every day and she turned out to be the most loveable sweet Macaw. Lola requires a lot of time and attention and she is very spoiled. She loves to be held and give kisses. She will yell Mama if she wants to be held and she laughs and laughs when she is outside or on her perch with the window open. She is super spoiled with all of her toys and her expensive diet of sprouts, nuts, vegetables, and pellets. Our Cockatiel is no longer lonely as he and Lola are good buddies, always together."
Kaela's words speak for themselves. I would encourage our supporters to consider making a donation to ARC on this amazing day of recognition of women. Your donation will help ARC continue to support the advancement of young, talented worman like Kaela. Donating $10 is as simple as texting "Give 30226" (without the quotes) to 80100. All donations made to ARC on March 8 will go directly to assisting our efforts to recruit young woman like Kaela, who share with all of us a great love of our feathered friends. It's with your generous help that ARC is able to support our local community by developing pet therapy programs and offering public educational programs on exotic birds and their welfare, and to continue our work of rehabiltating birds that are in need of a tender touch and kind gestures to help them once again trust human caregivers.
Lola Blue and Gold Macaw-a former resident of ARC