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“Juno’s Circle of Life”

By Dee Confer, Juno’s Owner

ASA-Bulletin January/February 2011

“On July 11, 2009 when I was finding toys and treats for my Red-bellied Parrot, Java, I was permitted to see three African Grey chicks. When I approached the brooder, one little guy jumped right out, pulled the cap off a water bottle, and then proceeded to get into everything on the table. As I came close, he hopped right onto my arms while his two small brothers huddled sleepily together. It was like a storybook beginning, he seemed to choose us and my family said the time was right. When I offered to trade my plans for a dream cruise to Alaska in order to secure this little fellow’s future with our family, we decided to name him Juno. We laughed and said we could visit Juneau once or we could spend our lives with Juno every day. We waited patiently to allow his clutch to wean and he came home in November. He was an inquisitive, bright-eyed little bundle of energy. He would greet the day with the typical African Grey whoop and our family was totally smitten. He was the epitome of pure joy. His time with us was cut short just days before Christmas and the extensive test results confirmed he was afflicted by Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD). His breeders have been supportive and when I said I wanted to make a quilt that would speak to what Juno meant in my life, Ann suggested we could present the quilt in a raffle and donate the proceeds to research.

When I saw a design that reminded me of wings, the designer, Deb Karasik enthusiastically gave her permission to use her design. My vision for this quilt was to impart the light and love this little bird brought to our lives. The vibrant red and orange center reminds me of the energy of the beginning of life. While I sewed the pieces I realized I was humming “You Are The Sunshine of My Life.” I sang to him at night before he climbed into his sleep tent, he always made me smile. The outer ring in yellows are the rays of sunshine that come from the delight of seeing him awaken and greet the world. The next section of green symbolized to me the oil palm tree tops where his ancestors roost and make their home. The blue sky is peeking through, the dawning of a new day. The next section of the quilt is going to be a rainbow of vibrant colors. When Juno passed, his Florida vet sent me a card with the sentiments expressed by the rainbow bridge. As the quilt has been coming together on my kitchen table, I am filled with the joy of spending my life, however a short time, with an exquisitely delightful sentient being who brought a new dimension to our home. When I decided to call this quilt “Juno’s Circle of Life”, it is to focus on the brightness and light that only those who love deeply and freely can understand. Juno’s little brother, Kopi, has taken a place in our lives and is a treasure. He is an amazing little fellow in his own right and the circle of life continues for us all.

This quilt is not about sadness and loss, it is a celebration of the experience of pure joy that comes to the lives of those of us who love parrots of every size and color. And now, to take this story forward to the present, unfortunately, we lost Kopi on October 20, 2010. Juno coming from a breeder with 20+ years with no incidence of PDD, we initially thought that Juno must have been exposed during a routine exam at a vet’s office in Atlanta. Upon receipt of the necropsy (January 2010), we had a blood test and crop biopsy done on Kopi and they were both negative. There is one other possibility that Java, the other pet bird, could be a carrier. Or, could the PDD virus have lived in the house for 3 – 4 months? But, why Kopi and not Java, the older bird? Despite all the research that has been done, it still is not enough to help us! It is now our mission in life to do what we can to support and promote PDD research. We don’t want to see this scenario repeating itself. As long as this disease has been wreaking havoc with breeders and pet owners, it’s time we devote our efforts to the following:

1 Positive identification of virus to include mode of transportation, incubation and disease development.

2 Develop a reliable diagnostic test.

3 Develop a cure/treatment.

4 Develop a vaccine

Juno’s Circle of Life Quilt is destined to be raffled in 2011 with the proceeds to be donated to Texas A & M earmarked for PDD Research.

This quilt is being constructed with 100% cotton, quilt-shop quality fabric. It utilizes batiks, hand-dyes and printed fabric. All the fabric has been prewashed to minimize the possibility of color migration. It has been professionally quilted by Peggy Barkle using a long-arm quilter. The quilt is layered with Dream Cotton batting for a lifetime of softness and durability. This is a unique one-of-a-kind creation measuring approximately 80” by 80” for a queen size bed.

 

  Quilt Detail

Quilt Detail

 

Quilt Detail

 

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