Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 21, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 21, 2018 




I so enjoy observing the wildlife that resides in and 
around Sierra Madre, and I adore hearing the musical 
sounds of birds echoing through the air. I especially 
love hearing the audacious calls that come from the 
enormous birds of prey living among us. In fact, when 
I hear the unique, low-tone hooting of an owl, I feel 
a sense of inner warmth that is hard to describe. Just 
knowing that owls nest in the trees close to where I 
live brings comfort to me. We are truly blessed with 
nature’s goodness in our hillside village!

 I once read an article entitled Homeless Owls 
Need Homes, Too, about a project that provides 
alternative habitation for owls rendered homeless due 
to development in the San Gabriel Valley. I contacted 
the author, Steve Scauzillo to ask him a few questions 
about our local owls, and he was quick to admit that 
he is not an owl expert. His column covers a variety 
of issues and concerns regarding the environment, 
and this particular article happened to be about owls. 
He suggested that I call Kimball Garrett at the LA 
Museum of Natural History, who really is an expert on 
owls, so I reached out to Kimball.

 Kimball Garrett was more than willing to share what 
he knows about the owls that inhabit our foothills. 
Apparently there are a few types that might be seen 
nesting in the local forest and in our village, but the 
ones we typically hear exuding resonant hooting back 
and forth to one another are Great Horned Owls 
(Bubo virginianus pacificus). He explained that this 
particular owl is more prominent in our parts because 
they are adaptable to changes in the environment, so 
they are able to find alternative nesting spots when 
preferred locations are no longer available.

 Great Horned Owls prefer nesting in very tall trees, 
but when the tall trees go missing - which seems to 
be more of a trend now than ever in our town - the 
Great Horned Owl is wise enough to take up residence 
in lower lying canopies. Some will even nest in man-
made boxes built on stilts where they are protected 
from predators, high winds and hard rains. Thus the 
importance of the alternative owl habitation project 
Steve Scauzillo wrote about.

 Like all living things, owls play a very important part 
in keeping nature in balance. With this in mind, the 
next time you are tempted to complain about having 
too many rats running around on your property, let it 
be a reminder of how important the elder trees are. Big, 
tall trees provide a place where owls and other birds 
of prey can stay and help keep that rat population in 
check. That’s why we should make it a priority to keep 
the trees on our property healthy and well-watered.

 I had a remarkable experience with a couple of owls 
on the morning my dad passed away. I slept in a 
little later than usual that Saturday morning, so I 
was still lying in bed around 8am when I heard 
two owls calling out in unison, one slightly higher 
pitched than the other. They were so loud that 
the huge picture window on the north wall of the 
room seemed to vibrate. My husband was there 
to witness the experience, so I can rely on his 
confirmation when I share this story.

 We both sat still, listening and amazed at how 
loud those owls were. They had to be very close, 
perhaps perched 
in the avocado tree in our yard. To me, having owls 
visit my property is a blessing, like nature’s reward for 
being a good steward on behalf of the earth. I’m not 
a saint, but I do try my best to treat our planet with 
kindness by recycling, re-using, cleaning up trash 
and abstaining from the use of toxic chemicals. I also 
allow fallen leaves to remain where they lie, so they 
can return to the soil and nourish the trees and fauna 
they fell from. And when I am out walking, I tell the 
trees how much I appreciate them because I believe 
that respect toward every living thing is my duty as a 
human being.

 When I heard those owls hooting so loudly near 
my window, I thought is sounded like some sort of 
heavenly choir singing a sacred hymn. About an hour 
passed and I was having coffee with my husband when 
we got the call from my family, telling us that my father 
had passed away earlier that morning. When I hung 
up, I sat for a while crying, trying to take it in. With 
such shocking news, the owls had left my thoughts 
until later that day when it dawned on me; my dad 
died at the same time I was lying in bed listening to the 
amazing sound of two owls hooting by my window, 
louder than I’d ever heard before.

 There are many mysterious myths associated 
with the owl, passed down through the traditions of 
ancient peoples. One says that the owl is an omen 
of death soon-to-come. Another regards the owl as 
the bearer of the deceased soul as it passes from this 
world into the next. I’d never subscribed to mythical 
theories about animals before, but I must say that the 
experience I had on the morning my dad passed away 
made me think twice about whether those ancient 
legends might hold some truth.

 One thing I know for sure is that I love the amazing 
birds of prey. I love them because of their beauty 
and elegance, their tenacity and their symbiotic 
relationship with nature. And I love the fact that they 
provide an excellent example to us humans through 
their loyal, familial way of living. They work very hard 
to overcome life’s hurdles, just to survive in today‘s 
world where fast-paced development is so quickly 
stealing away the places where they used to stay. I 
thank God every day for this beautiful earth and all 
the creatures he placed on it, particularly the mythical, 
mystical, magical owl. 


One of the most 
impactful yogic 
practices by far 
is pranayama. 
Yogi Master, 
TKV Desikachar 
remarked “if you 
can breathe, you 
can do yoga”. The 
breath not only sustains life, but it shapes energy and 
is responsible for the mind-body connection. There 
is no asana (yoga poses) needed to consciously 

 The very first pranayama to learn is called sama 
vritti, or equal wave breath. This means making 
inhale and exhale even, smooth and equal length. 
While this sounds simple enough, this can be 
challenging because people establish patterns in 
their breathing, favoring one over the other. The 
highly motivated, driven person typically has a 
stronger inhale. Healers, teachers and meditators 
find exhale to be easier. In this pure breathing (sama 
vritti) technique, it allows the scales to balance and 
both sides of the breath are addressed. The inhale 
brings power and vitality, while exhale facilitates a 
calming, restful, releasing response.

 Further tuning into the subtleties, refining the 
rate of respiration and eliminating unconscious 
pauses is key. The breath is deepened, lengthened 
and smoothed out. This application is what 
changes vital life force energy (Prana). Present 
moment awareness is established and the mind is 
calmed and nourished. The impact of the breath 
is not just physiological, it is psychological. We 
are changing underlying patterns and creating a 
new, positive response to stress. I caution though, 
it is advised, to begin a breath practice under the 
guidance of a qualified teacher. As you progress, 
help and guidance are necessary to maintain 

 How often do you find yourself holding your 
breath in a moment of fear or stress? Think of this 
occurring during the course of a day. How would life 
change with conscious, smooth and even breath? 
Asana poses will help you breathe better and gain 
access, but the power of pranayama is where it’s at.

 Contact me to learn more about yogic breath 
techniques, the practice will change your life!

Namaste, and Love,

Keely Totten, 

Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Consciously Breathing 
One Day at a Time


Munchies is a darling 12- year-old 
American Staffordshire mix with lively 
brown eyes and a black and white coat 
resembling a delicious mocha cream 
treat! Although considered a senior dog, 
Munchies has plenty of pep to her step and 
lots of puppy energy to chase tennis balls 
and go for jogs around the park. Though not 
big in height, this lovely girl is a strapping 
ball of 54 pounds of love, wet kisses, and 
doggie hugs. She just loves to love her 
people! Munchies enjoys hanging out 
with her human friends and playing with 
squeaky toys. She especially likes toys with 
stuffing in them because she is an expert 
toy-destuffer! She is a great example of a 
dog’s ability to learn new tricks at any age 
as she has learned her sit command and how to catch treats 
while sitting. This lovely girl came to the 
shelter when she was surrendered by her 
previous owners because they moved to 
a place where dogs are not allowed. Her 
adoption fee is $145 and includes spay 
surgery, vaccinations, microchip and 
a free wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Munchies also qualifies for the 
“Senior for Senior” discount program. Feel 
free to call us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information. She currently resides at the 
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society located 
at 851 E. Grand Avenue in San Gabriel. We 
are located off San Gabriel Blvd, north of 
Mission and south of Las Tunas Drive. To 
arrange a ‘Meet and Greet’, please stop by 
any time from 10:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday 
through Sunday. Website:


ARF, ARF! Meet 
Baxter is a 15 
pound neutered 
male, Miniature 
Pinscher mix, 
age about 7. He’s 
a little shy a first, 
but is a very 
loving, happy 
dog who loves to 
give kisses and 
cuddles. He loves to go for walks and is learning 
to use his inside voice when seeing other dogs and 
people. He’s a quick learner and has improved 
greatly since he’s lived with his foster mom. Baxter 
would love a home with a fur sister or brother, but 
because he can be a bit shy, he would do better in 
a home with older children. To learn more contact 
(818) 398-6951 or 
See his post and video at http://www.lifelineforpets.

Good news: Kitten Thomas is adopted! 

Walter Cailleteau, DVM Free Exam!
927 N. Michillinda Ave. For New Clients 
Pasadena, CA 91107 Bring this coupon to save! 
(626) 351-8863
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: