A Remarkable Story of Hope

Freedom and Jeff
Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places. She’s my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken, her left wing in 4 places. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vets office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week. You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her dowl cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don’t know how long. That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power coarse through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedoms.

Hope you enjoy this.


Jeff Guidry and Freedom are at Sarvey Wildlife Center: http://www.sarveywildlife.org/

(Note of clarification – this article is Jeff Guidry’s writing, not mine)

Fall Colors 2011

The fall color change peaked about 7-10 days ago, so I thought I would post these photos before winter sets in here in the Ozarks.  The colors were not as vivid as they have occassionally been in the past, but they were still beautiful.

As an aside from the colors, do you notice the loveseat at the end of the pasture, just at the base of the cedar trees?  I discussed this loveseat project in a post here, and provided plans in a post here.

While I was hiking around the property taking fall pictures, I ran across this small group of deer.  They are quite prolific on our land, and sightings are common.

Yellow, rust, orange and pink seem to predominate this year, while the bright scarlet reds were pretty much limited to the sumacs growing on the fringes of our fields.

To continue my aside, notice the park bench under the trees?  Would you believe it -  I wrote about this convertible park bench/picnic table in a post entitled A Benchtable, and posted plans for the Convertible Bench/Table here.  And can you spot the bluebird house as well?  This is one of the 100 that I built to create a bluebird trail on our farm.  Guess what – posts about the Bluebird Trail can be found here and here.

This is a view that encompasses a couple of our pastures.  The colors here have been more brilliant in the past, but they were acceptable this year.

Looking out across some of our wooded areas reveals the multitude of colors that engulf the countryside.

Another hillside surrounding one of the pastures, where you see red cedars (the green trees) in the foreground, and mixed hardwoods on the hill.

Finally, one more view of a hillside surrounding another of our pastures.  All-in-all, it was a pretty colorful fall.  While the weather conditions didn’t provide the most spectacular colors we have witnessed here at La Esperanza, they were delightful nevertheless.  I hope you get a chance to come enjoy the fall colors along with Retta and me someday.