C’mon! Give a click!

I do the Animal Rescue Site thing fairly regularly where you click to give and your click feeds hungry animals 1/6th of a bowl of food. And of course I did a little research and found out that it was indeed legit, but it wasn’t a non-profit organization. Not that this bothers me really. If Barbara Heidenreich, Steve Martin, and most of the other people in the business were all non-profit, they’d have to get regular jobs. Even the people running non-profits get paid. They’re the lucky ones who have managed to survive quite nicely in a business where, unless you are actually manufacturing something concrete, like cages, or toys or you have a store, there isn’t a whole lot of free money lying around under all of those birds.

There was one campaign I liked and I have to agree that it was kind of cool, where they encouraged everyone to go a day without shoes to “raise awareness” (as you know, this is a phrase I dislike immensely) about all of the people in the world who are shoeless. Of course, if I went to work without shoes I wouldn’t even be allowed onto the bus to the terminal let alone on to an airplane. But I’d be welcomed through security with open arms, because if there’s one place you’re forced to take off your shoes, it’s there. TSA frowns on shoes. Take ‘em off, people!

But there are people out there who seem to resent the “business people” in the business. You know, the ones who actually make a profit at working in the field of birds and I don’t understand that. I’ve heard statements like these occasionally:

“That seminar is so expensive! They should just make it free.”

And: “Why does it cost so much money to go to that seminar? That’s a rip-off! They’re trying to make money!”

Well, yeah!  Aren’t we all?

Training a Goat- Photo courtesy NEI Inc.

It’s not so much about the money as it is about making money doing something you love. Money is a necessity to accomplish things you need to do in life. Like eat. Pay your bills. Have enough money to support all of those non-profits we’re all so crazy about. If I could reduce my day job down to the minimum, throw that all into my 401K, and make up the difference through writing full time, I would.  I’m just not quite there yet. So, like a myriad of other people, I go to work every day. Then I come home and do my other job which is writing. So right now, what I am doing is like having two full-time jobs. And it isn’t easy.

Presenting at the Midwest Bird Expo 2011. Photo courtesy of Su Gould

Is it fun? Sometimes the writing is. Easy? Not at all. Neither of my jobs is a walk in the park. Double up two jobs that are both demanding and you have a real sweat-fest going on. And I know I’m not the only one attempting to make a transition like this. My friend Katie is a full-time Flight Attendant and she is now in the home stretch of getting her RN license. Hurray Katie! She’ll never quit flying, but she’ll be cutting back for a while, I assure you. I’m glad she’ll be done soon; it was a little tough flying with Katie when she was learning gastroenterology.

Hey Katie, isn’t that the lower tract you’re talking about? Ya mind waiting until after I’m done with my breakfast before you get into that? Kee-rist!

Why is it that when it’s something like education and information, people get their knickers in a twist about having to pay for it?  I’ve paid a lot of money for my “Psittacine” education and I don’t resent a dime of it. It’s enriched my understanding of avian husbandry, behavior, training and basic comprehension of aviculture immensely and given me some street credibility. There is an online class you can take that’s very inexpensive and it’s tough, but you’ll love it. It’s Dr. Susan Friedman’s course, LLP or Living and Learning With Parrots. You can find it and some other classes at Behaviorworks.org. And the 50.00 fee is a donation to a parrot rescue. Susan doesn’t make a dime on the class.

Susan Friedman’s Laptop. Photo courtesy of me.

Susan does it because she simply loves teaching behavior. And she feels it’s important to get the information out there. It’s simply her way of giving back to the community and introducing the world to positive reinforcement training.

But please realize it’s not as if there is an oligarchy controlling the business from on high who are charging people through the roof for information. It just isn’t that way.

Some of these people have spent years learning their skills or their specialty. They’ve spent time and money getting their experience and education. It costs them money to do what they do. Expecting them to just hand it out on a silver platter, because, “It’s all about the birds!” is nonsense.