For as long as I can remember, my two passions in life have been animals and art.
For many years I sold my art in fairs and galleries throughout the Midwest and it was at one of these fairs that I first met someone that enlightened me to the problem of unwanted companion birds. I ended up taking home an Umbrella Cockatoo that had been abandoned when he was just over a year old. My only previous experience with birds had been volunteering at the humane society where I ended up adopting three wonderful little budgies, so living with Gilligan proved to be quite challenging.
In 2003 the opportunity arose to operate a small parrot supply store, Avalon Parrots, and I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to combine my intersecting interests, that of helping companion birds and selling my own products.
In 2009 the space I was renting became unavailable when the building suffered structural damage and I was forced to move. It was a blessing in disguise. I found a much better space with lots of windows and more room. My rescue continued to grow and after 7 years of funding the rescue myself I decided it was time to open up a separate non profit business. I applied for and received non profit status and Parrot Rescue Services was created.
My retail storefront is also the current home for the birds in my partner nonprofit, Parrot Rescue Services. Today the rescue takes up the majority of my retail space, but I do sell food and supplies as well as offer boarding services. As a licensed cottage food producer, I also sell homemade jam, salsa, soup mixes, and other food items to support the rescue. I started a line of bath products, including handmade soap, and also run an annual holiday boutique on Small Business Saturday, which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. All my products are available on a seasonal basis if I am not attending farmer’s markets.
These days I find the rescue takes up the majority of my time, but when I can I still work in my studio, mostly creating small pieces of art just for the fun of it. In the past year I have also taken up quilting and have found that I really love working with fabric, so now I have to add quilting to the long list of crafts I enjoy. There is never enough time in the day to get everything done, with the care of the birds being the first priority outside of my family.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” – Anatole France