The Magical Zoo

A tough topic. I remember a long time ago at Virginia Tech ethics class. Why should or why we shouldn’t have zoos. It was a rather big debate though I can’t remember the details. Both sides making great points. Is it a jail and death trap? Or is it a place of infinite food and medical care? Are they adored? But do they even know?

I hate to discuss it. A month ago, my family went to the St.Louis Zoo. We were in the city for a friend of my wife’s wedding. We thought it would be a good time to go outdoors and knowing how my son is an animal lover like myself. You love zoo’s and I love zoo’s as a child and growing up. Seeing the hundreds of different animals to gaze upon. You are keeping these animals from being free. Confined for life into a box which they can never get out. They won’t go beyond the box. Its a terrible thing.

But I look to the positives for now. Zoo’s appear to be here to stay. The research and study we can get from having these animals captive can one day the hope to save them. Its a bleak way of looking at it. But its a tough necessity. We wouldn’t be able to get such research and learn from them in the wild when its too late. A few will have to suffer for the benefit of the rest.

I look to my son now and other children who stare at these animals with wonder and amazement. There is such love in their eyes for these animals. The world’s plight for endangered species due to poaching and possible climate change might be solved by the spark lit in one of these children coming to the zoo. Pictures and video simply don’t match the aura and feeling from the animals you get seeing in person. Seeing the gorilla and how human like they are is eerie. Its us. These animals in nature are a part of us and we need to protect them.

For now, lets use it as a tool. Until the world becomes a better and more understanding place with our wildlife, we will get rid of the shackles of zoos then.

Fall for Fairfax And Animal Learning

I always find it funny this little conundrum and hypocrispy that is farm animals and children. Whether it be some festival, event, fair whatever you may call a large gathering of people for social activity. In this particular case Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest in well Fairfax, VA. Dont get me wrong. I think this fair is absolutely spectacular fun and relaxing family event. I have been the past two years and enjoy it thoroughly. It is a much more tame and calming event for myself than the Fairfax Fair for the young and energetic.

But there is the Petting Zoo with about 20 or so animals. It is stocked with chickens, ducks, baby lamb, some reptiles, lamas, goats. People are lined up around the bend for this Petting Zoo. Its probably the only real line except for some food. ITs pretty anticipated. Kids are giddy and can’t wait to pet the animals. I mean hell I love it still.

But it just goes to show the major oxymoron of our society. You come rush to learn to love and adore these furry creatures. But we do not teach or amend this same love and adoration to the animals we eat. A blind eye. A very blind one. I just stare and pause. I sit and think what is going on here and that is a moral fabric cloak that is covering us. And until we realize this systematic code in our brain is there and we dont break ourselves free from it. This cloak is always there. It should be used as a teaching moment for children for how they are, how they think and feel.

Makes me think of the Matrix really. How blind you are to see the truth? in front of your very eyes. On your plate every meal is death and suffering yet you are in this mind numbing state to continue to eat every bite and it tastes good to you. Yet you have the domain and superiority over these animals to go ahead and back hand there souls in the face but petting them. And we teach our children that as well. If only these children knew the truth, I wonder how many in their own will which sit and think. And think I love animals but wander how it is ok to eat them as well. Because no longer can we say it is for health or survival. That there is options out there readily and cheaply for us to become vegetarian and vegan. But yet you still eat them?! I hope that in years time I will be able to talk to my son and let him choose for himself. Whether you are 5 or 50 years old, I think you are able to make a choice based on love whatever it may be.

Animals are friends, not food. All Life Matters.

Busy Bees

Its spring time! Which means lots of warm weather, some showers, green thumbs, and life abound. Its a great feeling to have and excitement for the upcoming season. My wife and I have been taking care of our gardening and landscaping this past week and everything is turning out so well. My son is thoroughly enjoying himself and running around. I’m so happy to see him playing, getting dirty, throwing sticks and taking in the widllife. He loves birds and watching them fly. They chirp high in the trees and he can’t stop looking for them.

This spring time launch and awakening by all life has also led to some unfortunate situations but GREAT CONCLUSIONS! I was out inside the yard cleaning my car when I heard my wife call for me. I asked her what did she want? She told me they were bees in the house. (Heres the key, no exclamation point at the end of that sentence). There was a time not too long ago where my wife and I might freak out a little bit or a lot when some big bees were in the house. Yes crazy bees with huge stingers that pierce your skin and cause a lot of pain. Ouch! But that is not our reaction no more. My wife very calmly told me where the bees were and that they were honey bees. She said, “Don’t hurt them, get them out”.

I was thinking to myself how the heck can I get I get some bees safely, transport them, and have them outside without harming them or myself. Any indication of danger and I’m a nice target. I quickly though, why not just vacuum them up and put them outside? That should work! They might get a huge headache for a second, but they will be safe outside. I saw them buzzing on the window trying to get out. They don’t want to be in our house as much as we don’t want them too. No sense in smashing them like before if I have a safe method that protects us all.

A big lesson in this is how my wife has come to realize and see these things. How important life is and what a big contribution environmentally that bees and especially honey bees provide. They are just trying to live like everything else. That our environment heavily relies on these guys to survive and thrive. Its not a simple smash and kill them all. Its not a “THERES A BUG! KILL IT!” reasoning for it all. And that’s a little outlook on how we have grown as people. That we can stop to think and assess and appreciate things. Not to be so quick and kill for the sake of it when its not needed. Life is preciious, I’ll say it again and again. Bee’s didn’t come on this earth to harm me as their sole mission. They were just flying around, searching and searching for an exit. They didn’t know what to do and looked so confused. I felt so bad for them.

I gently placed them outside of my front yard where they could be free again. Keep going my busy bees, the world needs you.

 

A SIMPLE MESSAGE TO DRIVERS

Well, what a great way to continue bringing awareness to everybody on the roads I travel on. First it was my Pet Loyal Project bumper sticker and now its Vegan For The Animals. Something I truly believe in and hopefully can change peoples mind with a simple message. I think its important that one we show the public there are more and more vegans and vegetarians in this world. Making it a new norm. That we are not some crazy animal lovers or meat haters. Then two that I show why I believe in it. I think animals like cats, dogs, and bunnies that people in America adore are the same as pigs, cows and chickens. And set a tone for hopefully people to pause and think. I think thats what it takes. I think it takes someone to think. And the more they think and the less they can ignore it. The more people can realize what is “normal” is not right. Its almost pretty hard to argue when they face the facts. Plus when people are bored driving, it gives them something to read about anyway.

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FAIRFAX KIDS FAIR

My cousin and his wife asked us to go to The Fairfax Kids Fair a couple weekends ago. We just got back from Orlando and thought it be nice to see my family again. My brothers family decided to join as well. Ever year there is the “Fairfax Fair” which draws quite a large crowd over a few days and large concerts and numerous vendors. So this is a nice sunny mini version of that big fair.

It was actually quite a beautiufl day and I was very happy to walk around. There were hundreds if not couple thousand children running around. Going on rides, eating food, laughing and petting animals. Click Click. My brain is churning, lets see what food is offered and the presence of animals at this fair.

I was surprised to see multiple vendors offer multiple veggie related entrees or items. It was actually quite advertised in big banners for people to see. It was good to know that food vendors are taking notice and know there is money to be made from this growing niche of customers. My brother founda food stand selling empanada’s and low and behold there was a vegetarian one. And it was actually fantastic and flavorful! I don’t miss out at any of the satisfaction from not eating any meat. Another big pointer was my brother has changed his mind and open to look for veggie options for me as well. Oh how times changed, I’m not joke anymore. My vegetarianism is here to stay for the people aorund me. Another stand focusing on asian dishes had it all in veggie versions. Yeah its easy. Noodles, soy sauce, and just remove the meat, its the same thing. If you want just meat, you would get a steak or burger. Its the noodles and added ingredients you are there for.

Now after food, there is always the animals. Kids fairs and animals are nearly intertwined and go hand and hand. I don’t think children are going to stopping by real estate or dentist booths. On the main stage, was a lady showing reptiles. I loved the information she presented on they were all rescue animals. None are bought or sold. Just all are saved and natured. Its a great lesson for children. She explained how lovely these reptiles were and what they do and we need to work to care ans ave them. Seeing all the children and parents listen so attentively was heartwarming to me. And of course the 30 min line waiting for the petting zoo. I mean who doesn’t like a petting zoo? Cute and furry animals you can hold and pet and play with.

 

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FROM LAND OF BREAD TO LAND OF PIZZA

My wife, son, mother and I all traveled on a quite ambitious, long, amazing, tiring, stressful, confusing, exhilarating, memorable road trip from southeastern France across all over northern Italy.

Here’s the Itinerary,

Wednesday 4/18/18 Fly
Thursday (Land 12:25pm) 4/19/18
Nice/Monaco/Cannes
Friday 4/20/18 Lake Como Drive
Saturday 4/21/18 Lake Como
Sunday 4/22/18 Lake Como
Monday 4/23/18 Lake Como/Verona
Tuesday 4/24/18 Verona
Wednesday 4/25/18 Verona/Venice
Thursday 4/26/18 Venice/Turin
Friday 4/27/18 Turin/Provence
Saturday 4/28/18 Provance
Sunday 4/29/18 Provance
Monday 4/30/18 Provance
Tuesday 5/1/18 Provance
Wednesday (Fly 3:25pm) 5/2/18 Provance, London

I kept an open mind and by that I mean no mind at all when going on this trip about what I would encounter when it came to principles and values of this blog. The type of people I would encounter, the way they treat the environment, how animals seem to fair, or food I would eat. I have come to realize I was pleasantly surprised on a variety of occasions. The vegan/vegetarian wave has seem to make its grasp into every grocery store and even in mainstream media. Plant based options are increasing and advertised. You often hear the word “vegan” on day time kids shows. Once on episode of some teenage show that one student called out another student for not being aware that a fellow classmate was vegan. How far we have come.

So on our epic road trip across two long time world cultures with a history that is unmatched by most. It seems that veganism and vegetarianism has also put down its foot in these two countries. In one small grocery store, there was one small section dedicated to vegan frozen goods. In the main supermarket in Verona, there were a variety of frozen and fresh vegan items for sale. And thought they haven’t made the super stride of veganism at restaurants. There are ample and abundant choices of delicious foods for vegetarians. Unfortunately, cheese is a main staple in these Italy and France and not something so easily changed. But even to go away from meats and flesh. It opens your eyes and back to my thought that the battle for compassionate living will be fought in the kitchen. If it tastes good, people will eat it. So you can visit and eat 100 varieties of pasta dishes in Italy with no meat in it at all. And yet you find city populations that rely on this non meat based food.

The fresh markets were abundant all over France. Which points access to fresh and high quality foods for people. There is no need for the factory farming evil that is established in America. People get good quality food quite easily. Which can lead to a further transition in what people know about their food and how they get it. People might not be so ignorant to the cause for compassionate living.

My wife was in heaven with all the different varieties of fresh baked goods. I most definitely engorged myself in the bread and croissants as if it were my last. People have a different air and vibe where we visited. Pleasure took a forefront and was not something that extra time was used for. Food, family and happiness all go hand in hand. People take their time to enjoy life and the environment around them. They walk a ton and don’t eat in the monstrous amounts we do. These lifestyles spare the lives of thousand of animals simply because they do not eat the same amounts as us. I can’t imagine when one day a breakthrough is made to mimic the cheeses. I can see all cows and chickens be let free to roam after that!

There was one time I was caught off guard randomly in Verona. I saw an Adopt, Don’t Shop sticker in the adjacent neighborhood to downtown. So the knowledge and fight for our pet friends is global. The problem doesn’t exist just in the US. But their are fighters everywhere. It was quite invigorating and inspiring to know they are here. I wish I could hand them a Pet Loyal tag to wear around. I tell you people love their pets.

These subtle experiences were very rewarding to me personally how I live my life and what my wife and I would want for our family. Espeically with our son, Henry will be growing up into a new world. How we guide and teach him to be a part of this new world is determined by us. I hope to share with him these values into becoming a compassionate and loving person who respects all life. And whatever decision he decides to make, it can lead to a better world for everyone.

 

 

 

 

FIGHT THE POWER. NEVERMIND. JUST SKIP IT.

e the people elect the President. We the people elect our Senator. We the elect our Congressperson. We the people make the laws that shape our country. Yeah we and me. With our vote we weld the Almighty power. Thats what I grew up thinking, thats what we grow up being taught. Remember 8th grade civics class? Yep. That was me in 8th grade at Poe Middle School in Annandale. Learning about how government works and how things get done. We even had Tom Davis, our Congressman, come to class and answer questions. Whoopie!

Well thats where I got my idea to write letters to my current Congressman Gerald Connolly and see if change can be made. He did write me one very nice letter. I wrote and mailed a few more to follow no response. So be it. I emailed my local delegate as well to see what input she has and could provide insight for. Lets see. I emailed her April 14th, 2017. I received an email from here last week. What makes that March 16th, 2018. So thats only about 11 months right? A short 11 months…..

Now I don’t make this post to criticize Kaye Kory or poke fun. My email could have been lost or sidetracked. But lets face it, with our current political climate and near a war with North Korea. I don’t think pet issues or little wee me is really important on the whole scope of things. From Gerald and Kaye’s emails, you can tell the like to frame what they are already doing and its an A+ job. I get it, maybe I didn’t do my research, and you want to say you’re one of the good guys. You have done work. But I think my emails are a little more in depth and should get a little more in depth response. I’m talking the death of thousands of pets here. I want to stop the selling of puppy mill dogs not just in Annandale, not just in Fairfax County, not just in Northern Virginia, but the whole STATE! But yeah lets start with Annandale or maybe Fairfax County.

Whats my point? I have to say it just get me nowhere to deal with the system. People are already on it. I can’t wait to depend on people or convince them a dog dying is more important to address than poverty, crime, taxes, infrastructure issues, etc that any person in her position have to deal with. I concluded there was no point to put my civics knowledge to a real world test. Why bother. Reconfirms my notion we need to hit the people it affects the most. Groundwork and lots of it. Thats how you make change, at the source. One by one, once a day or once a week. Thats one more people knowledgeable about pet awareness issues, thats one more person who can help spread the word.

PETCO ADOPTION POSTER UPDATE JANUARY 2018

I’ll make this quick. I’m disappointed. Sad. Frustrated. You work to make change. You hope you can reach their hearts and minds. You hope to make a difference. I’ve been working over over 8-9 months to get Petco to put BACK up the “Think Adoption First” posters. I work with two Petco regional managers. One came up short on words. The next seemed promising and uplifting. Posters were taken down. I wanted back up. They were willing to make a change. There was progress and hope. You can see from my previous posts the work we have done.

Then I past by the Petco after shopping at Trader Joes. And I see posters are up. WHAT! NO WAY!. Its back up. Nope. New posters about shopping at Petco for low prices. I can only feel so extremely disappointed and saddened that all this work and talk has lead to nothing. To get awareness for pet adoption takes time and organization. To get posters up for profit is quick and simple. I guess I need to keep fighting for the animals. Progress and change is never won so quickly. But have my words and work to reach their souls to make a change. To help save to poor animal friends for which this company is made to serve. I will keep trying but with reluctant heart. I hope someone from Petco is reading this. Please make a change. Please don’t let my words to care for animals go unheard and away for nothing.

 

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A WORD THAT SAYS IT ALL

A long long time ago, back in my early 20s. I decided there was a time I need to make my time useful. I shouldn’t be getting drunk 4-5 times a week. I should be using that time to read a learn. Head to the library. Get some books and gain some knowledge. My parents have been hammering that since I was a child. Education is key. Don’t be a stupid drunk. Well I did go to the library. I did grab some books. And yeah, I still drank. So now I’m an educated drunk!

I sorted through numerous books and picked out whatever might be of interest. I stuck with non fiction. There was an interesting book that stood out as I read its preview. It was a biography about the man who created the word Genocide. I thought to myself this book is for me. Its about my life and my families and what they been through. What could be a more interesting read than this.

There is much more to be told than what I can say here. The man was Raphael Lemkin, he was of Jewish heritage with many family and friends still back in Europe. He was extraordinarily selfless and determined in his efforts to remember those lost during the Holocaust. Up until his time, what was happening to people was really unknown. The murders on such drastic levels in comprehensible. He needed to put a word, a feeling, an understanding to what was happening. He then formed the word Genocide. For geno – species and cide – killing, these words best dictated and summed up the killings of a specific group of people on a large scale.

He worked tirelessly for hours and for so many years. He lobbied and networked to put this term on a worldwide scale. He put to light not only the Holocaust but many other genocides and my families own Cambodian genocide would share this label. And the saddest thing of all, in this relentless effort to work and cherish others. He only had a few people attend his own funeral.

This goes back to my work. I need to help share the news and understanding of all these pets of ours dying left and right. There are so many intricacies and complex systems that go into the tragedy of pets. On one hand, you have the puppy and kitten mill system providing an influx of animals. And then the carelessness of so many pet owners giving up their pets for nonsense reasons of their own fault. So many scenarios, so many deaths, so many reasons, what could I do. How can I explain to it people. I thought of Raphael Lemkin, I had to make a word that summed it all.

I thought of many phrases, roots and meanings that could go into my word. Obviously pet would have to be in it. And the word -cide would have to be used. I thought of doing peticide, sound too much like pesticide. I thought using the word -us in use, to stand for the word abuse. But then petus has an another ill fitted meaning. I needed to really include the word abuse/neglect somewhere in there. I settled with Petucide.

Now onto the meaning. The word that always came up to me with unnecessary. It was completely unnecessary all the pets being euthanized and dying. It tore my heart. I thought about the word killing but that somewhat implies deliberate. All these animals were being euthanized, but the meaning for that is assisted. These animals were not being assisted in what they wanted to do. They don’t want to die. What conclusion I came too, it was a massacre. A thoughtless and relentlessness massacre of animals. No rhyme or reason to it all, just random and immense despair. The word massacre fits it all. And thats how I came to the conclusion that it was simply unnecessary, it is through the careless actions of people and that on its scale its a massacre.

I released a sigh of breathe to myself after all this. I put the word together “Petucide” in images and on print. It just felt right. We have meaning, we have understanding of it all. There is a petucide going on which nobody is doing anything about. Lets all use and share this word that we can define the suffering of our poor pets. They need our help. We want to end Petucide.

BIRD FEEDING DURING WINTER – A HUNT FOR SURVIVAL

ts 1991, Herndon, VA, I’m 6 years old and its in the dead of winter. Endless birds are coming to eat at our bird feeder. They are hungry. They want to eat and its a hard time for food. They want to survive. 

CHILD MEMORIES

My dad has always put out bird feeders year round. It was truly something my brother and I enjoyed watching. Cute birds from all sorts of sizes and colors coming to eat in front of our eyes. Watching them come and go was always fun and relaxing. Flocking from all parts of the forest to our house to eat. What a treat! Its like your own mini zoo.

We have always done this our whole life. From Annandale to Herndon, back to Annandale, there will be food for the birds. We always ran and called each other when we saw a Cardinal or Blue Jay. The big two (oh safari terms) in northern Virginia. They stand out like a sore thumb. you always wonder how nature could put such vibrant colors on some birds. But the unicorns of nature were the yellow finches and hummingbirds. What to see some people get giddy or scream like a little girl. Then those would do it. Take some special seeds or special sugary drink mixture get these ones out.

It was fun then and its fun now. I carry on the tradition to feed the animals that give us so much joy. I put some food out just yesterday for the birds to eat. I’ve been bad and not doing it for Fall. But I’m just in time for the cold sets in for winter.

TURNING A BLIND EYE TO KNOWLEDGE

I’m an environmentalist. I’ve studied hard, I’ve learned. Take it to your everyday life, take it to the world around you. You always learn as a child when traveling through nature. “DONT FEED THE ANIMALS”. This is cemented in your brain. And after many years of schooling learning about ecology and biology. You start to get deeper into why and how it can affect it all. In many situations, its about safety for bigger animals. Other cases its about safety for the animal to not be interfered with. Protocols are necessary.

But then begs the argument on a deeper level. You don’t want to interrupt there social and feeding habits. The food we can provide might not be as healthy for them. We humans don’t want to them to lose there skills in hunting and foraging for food. They won’t learn to survive.

But then the necessary discussions need to take place. We are not suppose to mess with nature but yet we are destroying nature every single day. We can not feed the animals but yet we take away their food sources. They will lose their ability to survive but yet will not survive since we are destroying them. How can that be? We cut the forest and destroy the land. We exploit it for our benefit. Yet we can not give back? We can’t give a little nudge in the right direction. I for one believe “FEED THE DAMN ANIMALS!!!”

As long as you are safe and let the animals be safe. Help them as you please. They need it. We keep taking and never give back. The logic in most residential situations is false to not feed. They wont’ forget how to hunt. Because once we stop feeding them, they will go back to starving all the time and will relearn. Sometimes any creature just needs a little assistance. You can even take it through humans helping each other. We take so much from certain groups of people, it does not hurt to give a little back to help them get on track. I want my birds to keep flying and keep being beautiful.