J'aime La Vie: Amber Rosintoski Doty
When I first conceived the idea for this project, I knew it had to be her. She had to be the leading lady. She is a magic maker and a dream weaver.
I first met Amber Rosintoski Doty as her coach at CrossFit Jane. She has a smile that lights up the room and eyes that sparkle with kind determination. One of my earliest memories with Amber was on Mother’s Day— a day we both disliked at the time. My husband and I were fresh out of moms, and Amber was worried she would never experience motherhood. Several years later, I have now watched her work out through two pregnancies, and she is a proud mother of four children! Recently, when she sounded concerned about something, I reminded her of our first miracle. We both smiled. She loves Mother’s Day now.
Aside from being a bright light in my life, Amber’s magical skill set is a gift. Natalie Goldberg instructs writers to be specific. “Give things the dignity of their names.” Amber does that for the birds in my life. She is my personal crazy bird lady. I can send her a picture or an audio clip, and she immediately identifies the bird and sends me random facts about it. A lifelong beauty hunter, her enthusiasm is infectious. She helps me pay attention.
Through our years of friendship, I have collected bits and pieces of Amber’s life story. You will get to know some of those details here. I am excited for you to meet her and be inspired by the way she lives out her passion. I am pretty sure that Mary Oliver would totally approve of the way Amber is spending her “one wild and precious life.”
J’aime la Vie: The Interview
What is your passion? Tell us what sets your soul on fire.
Birds. I love everything about them. I just think they’re magical. I love them in every size from a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet to a Hyacinth Macaw. When you see a hideous vulture, I think of when they pull up their hood and how gorgeous they are with their blue-black iridescent feathers and I could sit and watch them for hours. They have these incredible mating rituals that have evolutionarily selected for songs, dances, and feather patterns that could be works of art.
How did you discover your passion?
I have always loved animals from the moment I took my first breath. When I was in college, I took a part-time job at the South Carolina Aquarium where I educated the public on environmental conservation. I found that I used their macaws, barred owl and red-tailed hawk in more programs than any other animal so I started looking more into birds.
That led me to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC where I drove down a winding dirt path in the middle of nowhere and when I parked I could hear African Fish Eagles yelling in the background. When I make it to heaven, it will look and feel like that moment in time and there was no going back from there.
How does this passion manifest itself in your life today?
I currently own Parrot University in Pineville where we sell merchandise and offer boarding for parrots. It allows me to be the largest sponsor of the non-profit, Companion Parrots Re-Homed, who is then able to use part of the space to function as the humane society for parrots.
What are some obstacles or fears you face when pursuing your passion?
I wanted a life that included a family, but that wasn’t possible in my position as a Bird Curator who was married and intended to stay in Charlotte. I have been obsessed with Africa since I was a small child. I even minored in African Studies in college. So when I finally went to Kenya in 2013, I was standing in the Masai Mara, the most beautiful place in the world and I had never felt more alone in my entire life. That was when I realized my life had to change. I left my job in 2014 and my marriage quickly after that.
I am very fortunate to have stumbled upon Parrot University at the perfect moment because pursuing a passion for birds is about as niche as one person can be. Thanks to my clients, staff and volunteers, I’m able to have the best of both worlds, including my 3 year old daughter who I named Mara after the place where I began my journey towards her creation.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In the full circle process of a homeless parrot’s life. Most parrots can have 8 or 9 homes in their lifetime because they can have lifespans of 60+ years. I always make the analogy that I’m the train station. They go out, but they can always come back and I’ll be there to greet them and help them on their way to their next journey.
Tell us something that you are proud of about yourself.
I’m proud that I run a business that has been successful and has reserve funds in the bank account.
I used to be very frivolous about money and could’ve easily run us into the ground but I love these birds too much to put them at risk. So I did my homework and made a lot of good financial choices that are currently benefiting them while our income has been lessened the last few weeks.
What advice do you have for women hoping to pursue a passion of their own?
Be ready to hustle for what you love. I always tell people I’m the best used car salesman on the block and I can find you the perfect bird you didn’t know you needed. And I’ll do anything to keep the dream alive, including taking a job at Publix to keep from having to let my employees go during a pandemic.
How are you taking care of yourself the last couple of weeks? What does self-care look like for you?
Watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix. When I feel paralyzed with fear, somehow it allows me to take a moment to forget the rapidly changing environment around me.
Short and Sweet. Share your loves.
A book you love: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
A song you love: "My Weakness" by Moby
Singing or dancing? Singing
Earth, water, air, or fire? Fire
List three #amberthings.
Snuggling a cat
Chai Tea Lattes
Meeting my parents for breakfast
Learn more about Companion Parrots Re-Homed
Facebook: Companion Parrots Re-Homed