We celebrate April 11 as National Pet Day! In the Book of Genesis, God gave Adam and Eve the companionship of creatures big and small in the garden of Eden. Carmel means "an enclosed garden" or "garden of God". So, it is no surprise then that we in turn have our favorite pets, big and small, in this earthly garden of ours. As we enter the holiest of week in the liturgical calendar, and look forward to Easter when our God makes everything new, we celebrate God's creation and creatures on this special day!
SAINT TERESA'S MOTHERHOUSE, GERMANTOWN, NY
by Sister Francis Patrick, O.Carm.
Oatie is a Quaker Parrot, and it seemed only natural to name him after “Quaker Oats”. I got him when he was 10 weeks old in November 2006, so we’ve been together for – a long time! He has a cage (that I call his house) filled with his favorite toys. The door is left open when I’m present so he can come and go as he wants, but he really likes his house because it is a secure safe place. He comes out to sit on my shoulder when he gets bored, and asks me repeatedly “what are you doing?” He does talk in context, and will say “I want to come out” when I come into the office. We are still working on the word ‘please…’ He says “God Bless you” when he hears a sneeze. If I’m not paying enough attention to him, he says “what’s the matter?” I’ve been amazed by his personality, his mood swings, his intelligence, and how he craves at times to be held - and it is amazing to hold this creature of God. To see the intricate structure of the feathers. How delicate the wings that allow it to fly. Oatie is a very interactive pet and a wonderful companion. I would encourage people to consider getting a parrot, but at the same time caution them to do research beforehand. Many parrots like Oatie can live for 25+ years - and that could be a lifelong commitment. They can be a bit messy and noisy, which should be expected. If they are ‘screaming’ it’s usually because some need is not being fulfilled. They are very sociable and consider you part of their adopted ‘flock’. They can command your full attention, and if you are on the phone not talking directly to THEM – that is a justifiable reason in their mind to have something to say about it! But like any well-loved pet, they can be God’s instrument to bring calm, comfort and companionship. I thank God every day for my little green angel!