Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 12, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 12, 2019 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc



Our little Wanda is a petite 6-year-old girl who is 
not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside 
too! She loves when her human friends brush her 
silky chocolate fur and keep her pretty. She then 
gives them loving kitty head butts to show her 
appreciation. When she’s not working on her looks, 
Wanda is perfectly content lounging by her nearest 
human and soaking in the sun, staring out a window 
or just keeping others company. Wanda thinks the 
only thing that would make her little hobbies more 
enjoyable is if she had her own family and home 
to enjoy them with. Wanda is a sweet and relaxed 
girl who would love to be your new buddy on the 
couch, in your room, or wherever you like to call 
your lounge space. Come visit Wanda at the San 
Gabriel Valley Humane Society to see if she’s the 
perfect match for you! Her adoption fee is $99 and 
includes spay surgery, vaccinations, microchip and 
a free wellness exam at a participating veterinarian. 
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 which is 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 

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated 
with the behavior of birds. I was born in Florida, raised in 
Alabama, and at age 21 I moved to Southern California 
where I have been living ever since. Throughout the 
various stages of my life, I’ve enjoyed observing the birds 
that are common to the respective areas where I’ve lived. 
I’m sure my inherent appreciation for the avian species 
came from my mother, as she was somewhat of a bird 
nerd herself, and I mean that in the most endearing way.

 There is just something about the consistent, 
naturally-balanced behavior of a bird that instills within 
me a sense of serenity. I imagine that those small, 
seemingly delicate, yet remarkably resilient feathered 
little beings haven’t a clue as to the immensely positive 
impact they’ve had on my personal walk of life.

 One thing I really respect about birds is that they 
remain consistent to their ’calling’ on earth. They 
have been true to their God-given position in the 
system. Although they have had to be flexible enough 
to acclimate and adapt over the centuries, they have 
somehow managed to maintain the same patterns 
of behavior from one generation to the next without 
skipping a beat. The migratory and mating habits of the 
birds in existence today are, for the most part, the same 
as they were thousands of years ago. In spite of colossal 
changes in weather patterns and marked modifications 
to earth’s topography, it would appear to me that birds 
have stayed steadily on course. 

 Not all of earth’s creatures can boast such consistency 
throughout the ages. Take the human, for example. Over 
the centuries, we have managed to morph immensely 
and intently into a nearly unrecognizable being with 
regard to behavioral habits, daily activities and cultural 
norms. Indeed, the human’s incessant need for constant 
change and insatiable craving for personal gains often 
result in potentially irreparable alterations to the earth 
that sustains us, not to mention our relationships with 
other beings.

 Ah, but the birds. Those beautiful birds. They have 
a gracefully willing way of going with the flow, don’t 
they? Among the many amazing species that can be 
found in Southern California, one of my favorites is 
the Swallow. The Swallow is a relatively small, delicate 
looking, beautifully decorated bird known for it’s strong 
migratory and monogamous mating habits. Wait, did 
I say monogamous? Maybe I’m dating myself, but I do 
remember the days when monogamy was considered 
a cultural norm for us humans. Now that’s a lifestyle 
change we could have lived without!

 But, yes, it is true. The male Swallow uses his colorful 
feathers, mainly his brilliant tail feathers, to attract the 
female who will ultimately become the literal love of 
his life - or as I like to put it - his bird bride. Once these 
two love birds unite, they occupy a common nest that 
they build together and they stay committed to each 
other for the duration. They nest together, migrate 
together and raise their spawn together as a committed 

 Here’s another fun fact about the Swallows; they 
instinctually practice the basic principles of fairness and 
equality in their intimate relationships. Both male and 
female share the responsibilities associated with mating 
and nurturing their hatchlings. When the time comes 
for the female to lay her eggs, the male appoints himself 
as the official security guard, protecting the home.

 Parent Swallows are excellent caretakers of their 
young. They are known to take turns keeping a vigilant 
lookout about the perimeter of their nesting place and 
when the one who happens to be on watch duty senses 
there might be a threat, he or she flies out and attacks the 
potential predator, chasing it away from the nest.

 Mom and dad Swallows also share the 
responsibility of feeding their hatchlings, each taking 
a turn to hunt for prey while the other stays behind to 
protect the chicks and the nest they dwell in. They are 
willing to do whatever it takes to nurture and protect 
their family. It is amazing how strong and enduring 
the bonds are between two Swallow parents and their 

 Those of us who are fortunate enough to have a 
deeply-rooted appreciation for nature and it’s many 
living creatures are truly the blessed ones. I love having 
an occupation that takes me outdoors where I can enjoy 
the beautiful trees and other remarkable living things 
that surround me. I learn something new every day 
from the animals and from nature, and sometimes a 
simple reminder of the basic principles that make life 
great, such as the monogamous mating and nurturing 
nesting habits of the Swallow, are what teach me the 
most profound lessons in life.



 Are you looking for a sweet male, who will be a 
cuddler, loyal, mellow, yet fun? Look no further 
than adoptable kitty boy, LITTLE RED! This 
orange and white cutie loves to snuggle, and his 
favorite pastimes are playing and sleeping! He was 
born 2016. Little Red gets along with other nice 
cats, so if you have a sweet resident kitty, give Little 
Red a try. He would be fine in almost any type of 
home--either with children or just with an adult. 
Contact his foster mom at 626-826-6373. See more 
of him on our website at If 
you’ve got the love, he’s got the cuddles!

Good news: Dog Sasha has been adopted!



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




[Nyerges is the author of 
“Til Death Do Us Part?” a 
book about death and the 
many ways to deal with 
the death of a pet or loved 
one. The book is available 
as a Kindle download, or 
from the Store at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.

 When a loved one dies, the close survivors 
often express regret that they didn’t spend more 
time with the departed, or tell them that they 
loved them. Time flies, of course, and life always 
presents us with so many things to do. It’s easy to 
put off what’s important in life.

 I also deeply love and value my pets, and have 
always considered them very much a part of the 
family. As a child, I remember when our family 
dog Pariah was old and sick. I could no longer 
walk him, but I would go into the back yard to 
pet him and feed him. Then one day when I 
came home from school, my father told me that 
he “took care of” Pariah. “What? Where is he?” I 
exclaimed. My father calmly told me that the local 
pet hospital “euthanized” Pariah. “What does that 
mean?” my teenage-self replied. “Does that mean 
he’ll be home soon?”

 “No,” my mother chimed in with a somber tone. 
“The doctor put him to sleep. He was dying.” My 
mother tried to hide her tears. I was shocked, and 
ran to my room.

 I was stunned! How could they do that.

 Later, after my father was asleep, my mother – 
who grew up on a farm – explained that she used 
to see animals die all the time. “We just tried to 
make them comfortable,” she told me. “Animals 
know they are dying. They usually want to be 
around their people to feel safe, and not in a cold 
hospital where they don’t know anyone.” 

 That was her way of telling me that she didn’t 
agree with my father’s decision. I was sad for a 
long time, and vowed that I would never again 
do that to any pet of mine – and I’ve kept that 
vow life-long, despite the inconveniences that 
come with assisting a person or pet in death. I’ve 
watched pets – cats, dogs, one pig – get old, stiff, 
and slow, and then they find a spot to go and die. 
I’ve learned to accept this as part of The Way.

 I was saddened by what a friend recently told 
me. His father, who lives alone, has had a cat for 
over 10 years. The cat became sick and old and 
was on its deathbed. The father – in his 80s – now 
seemed indifferent to this animal that once was 
a close friend. He wanted the cat to be taken to a 
vet and “put to sleep.” Fortunately, the cat died in 
peace on its bed in its home. But I was saddened 
that a person could be such a fair-weather friend 
because the dear pet was now dying.

 All of life is precious, and we need not push the 
death process. It comes quick enough. Nor should 
we fear death.

 I’m reminded of the time – precisely 10 years 
ago – when I was taking care of my wife of 22 
years on her deathbed, 24/7. She died with me by 
her side, at home. I think the reason that so many 
people fear death, and want dying people out of 
sight-out of mind, is because they cannot get into 
the shoes of the dying person. The dying person 
usually wants to be around the people who they 
were close to in life and not in a sterile hospital. 
(Yes, I know all situations are different, and 
sometimes the family simply cannot deal with the 
demands and pressures of the dying person).

 The fact that we have grown so far from this 
very basic tenet shows how far we have strayed 
from out most fundamental roots. 

Have you ever had a week 
where everything went exactly 
as planned? Neither have I. 
Every week I start out believing this week is going 
to be different from all the other weeks of my life. 
If this has ever occurred, I cannot recall it.

Take last week, please! I start every week about the 
same. I meticulously prepare my weekly to-do-
list. This is not to be confused with the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage’s honey-do-list. Her list, 
and I learned this by experience, takes precedence 
over every other list in the world.

 My weekly to-do-list is a very important part 
of my week. I chronicle everything needing 
accomplished during the week along with 
appointments with people that I need to see. With 
the religious ferocity of the Pharisee, I follow 
this list throughout the week and dutifully check 
off each item as it is completed. Then, Saturday 
evening I can look back with a great deal of 
satisfaction and see what I have accomplished.

 Unfortunately, I can also look back on my list 
and see what I have not accomplished this week. 
With a deep sigh, I carry these items over to next 
week’s to-do-list. Just between you and me, some 
items I have carried over for 36 consecutive weeks. 
By this time, I usually drop the whole notion and 
get on with my life.

My philosophy is, if you aim at nothing; you will 
hit it every time. I’m not exactly sure what that 
means, but what I take away from it is simply that 
if I do not aim to do something I probably never 
will do it.

 I live day by day by this weekly to-do-list. If it 
were not for this marvelous tool, I would never 
get anything done during the week. It is my great 
joy late Saturday night to work out the following 
week’s to-do-list.

 Sometimes my wife will look at me, sigh 
and say, “You’re not working on your to-do-
list, are you?” Then she says something that 
actually irritates me. Not everything she says 
irritates me, but this one does. “You know, if 
you would spend as much time actually doing 
those things as you spend planning to do them 
you might actually get something done during 
the week.”

 I developed this to-do-list so I would not have 
to keep trying to remember what I was supposed 
to do during the week. They keep me free to think 
more creatively about things that need that kind 
of attention. All I had to do was consult my to-do-
list and find out what needed to be done. After all, 
I don’t want to tax my brain too much. Who do 
you think I am? The government?

 Then last week it happened. Something I had 
feared for many a year.

 Tuesday morning I looked around for my to-
do-list and the more I looked, the more elusive 
it was. I took a deep breath, trying to keep panic 
at bay because I knew that would not help me. 
Verging on frantic, I began searching the house.

 What are you looking for?” my wife asked. 
“Maybe I can help you find it.”

 Now, I faced a very deep quandary. Do I confess 
to my wife that I lost my to-do-list? Or, do I forge 
ahead on my own hoping I will find it myself. Life 
is full of these deep, dark quandaries.

 Finally, I confessed I had lost my to-do-list. 
Then she said, “Where did you have it last?”

 If I knew that, I thought to myself, it would not 
be lost. I mumbled something along the line that I 
could not remember. At my age, not being able to 
remember comes with the territory.

 “You didn’t have it in your shirt pocket, by any 

 Of course, I always have it in my shirt pocket. 
I never go out of the house without my to-do-list 
in my shirt pocket where it is readily accessible to 

 “You didn’t have it in the shirt pocket of the 
shirt you put in the laundry yesterday, did you?”

 With that, she went to the washing machine, 
which had just finished its cycle and pulled 
out some of my shirts. She found a shirt with 
something in the pocket.

“Oh, here it is, in your shirt I just washed.” She 
pulled it out and began unfolding it and with a 
tone a little more sarcastic than I appreciate, she 
said, “My, your to-do-list is nice and clean.” Then 
she handed it to me.

With my to-do-list expunged, I had no idea what 
I needed to do for the rest of the week. It was then 
that I came up with a solution. If I do not know 
what I need to do this week, I will do the one 
thing I have been putting off a little too long.

 I went to the Publix bakery and ordered myself, 
not one, but two Apple fritters. One for myself 
and one for my guilty conscience. That should 
teach someone a lesson.

 Just when you think everything is going your 
way, something happens to prove otherwise. A 
verse in the Bible says this, “Wherefore let him 
that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 
Corinthians 10:12).

Thankfully, I always have a backup plan. Nothing 
takes my mind off the contingencies of life like a 
warm, freshly baked Apple fritter.

 Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 
He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

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