I have heard that the Eagle is the only bird that will fly into a
the faster I will pass through the stormy time.
On the other side of the storm I always find a beautiful rainbow.
which I had not known I possessed.
Sarvey Wildlife Center is in Arlington Washington, home for
this eagle. 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; her wing 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 four 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 vet's 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 four to six 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. 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
and 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 educational 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 and 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 helped me fight the
cancer. This happened time & 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. Yahoo!
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, 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. We
just stood there like that for I don't know how long. That was a
magical 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 Freedom's.
Hope you enjoy this.
Jeff Guidry and Freedom are at
Sarvey Wildlife Center