Friday, May 3, 2013

Just a Couple Tootsies at a Time

Thought for the day:  Never test the depth of the water with both feet.


Gee, do you think that's why flamingos frequently stand on one foot... they're so smart they know better than to test the water with both of 'em?

Hi, guys. It's great to be back. I hope you've all had a good month. I've had a reeeeally productive one. (It's amazing how much stuff you can get done when your posterior isn't planted in an office chair most of the day.)

Um, ya know how TV shows take breaks for a while, and then when they finally come back on the air, they show a darned re-run? Annoying as heck, isn't it?

NO, not at all. It gives us a chance to catch back up again before we jump into a new episode, right? They're um, kinda testing the water. With one foot.

Oh, what the heck, this is my way of saying I'm easing back into the swing of things by coming back with a ... rerun. But hey! It's a pretty good one. It originally ran in February of last year as Touched by an Eagle.

Since my last two posts were about birds, why not dip my toes back into the blogosphere with a post about another bird? I hope you enjoy it.

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Thought for the day:  Celebrate your success and stand strong when adversity hits, for when the storm clouds come in, the eagles soar while the small birds take cover.


© Jeff Moore, UK
Some people think animals are a conduit between the physical and spiritual worlds. Native Americans strongly believe in animal spirits and animal guides.

Regardless of whether you believe in this sort of spirituality or not, if you've ever loved an animal, you're familiar with the special connections we can form with them. Most of us experience these connections with dogs and cats, or other domestic creatures.

Can you imagine connecting with a wild animal?

In Arlington, Washington is the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center. There, on a five-acre spread, volunteers rescue and rehabilitate orphaned, injured, and sick wild animals, mostly from the Puget Sound area, with the goal of healing them and releasing them back into the wild.

I'd like to share with you a  remarkable story about one of the volunteers who works there, and the unlikely connection he's formed ... with an American bald eagle named Freedom.



Jeff Guidry is one of the volunteers at the Sarvey Center. In 1998, when a fledgling bald eagle fell from its nest,  Jeff brought it into the center for treatment. The eaglet's badly broken wings were fitted with rods, but the bird remained in critical condition, and hovered near death for weeks. Every day, Jeff cared for this bird he'd named Freedom. He murmured heartfelt words of encouragement to the eagle, and willed him to live.

Finally, on a day determined to be Freedom's last chance for survival, the day he was to be removed from the feeding tube if there were no signs of improvement, the bird finally lifted his head, and slowly stood.

Freedom will never fly, and will spend the rest of his life at the center, where he and Jeff are an inseparable team, an educational team. It isn't unusual to see the mighty bird nuzzling with Jeff, as shown in the picture above. And it also isn't unusual for Freedom to put one wing around Jeff's shoulder in what looks like a gesture of friendship.

But that isn't the whole story.

In 2000, Jeff was diagnosed with cancer, an advanced cancer requiring eight heavy rounds of chemo. In an amazing role reversal, during the entire debilitating ordeal, Jeff sensed Freedom's constant encouragement, and felt the bird willing him to fight, and to live. On the day Jeff found out the treatment had succeeded, he and Freedom went for a walk. It was then that this mighty eagle wrapped both wings around Jeff in what must have felt like the protective hug of an angel. While enfolding Jeff in his wings, Freedom rested his beak on Jeff's nose, and for a moment, time stood still. Can you imagine the majesty of this experience?

Why imagine? Here, why not listen to Jeff tell you about it himself?



An inspirational story, isn't it? It sure sounds like a spiritual connection to me.

You might even call it a love story.

                            We are eagles of one nest --- the nest is in our soul.  [Led Zeppelin]



Don't forget: During the month of May, each comment you leave here earns you another chance to win a FREE autographed copy of my book. (If you missed the reveal about it, you can catch up by looking at the previous post.) And if you mention my book on your blog, that'll earn you another two chances. (Nope, I'm not above a little bribery. Not at all.)

One change: I've decided that ALL of the comments made on the previous post will be eligible for the drawing. Doesn't seem quite fair to include the ones made after May 1 and leave out all the ones made a day earlier. After all, the early birds deserve a shot at the worm, too. (Not that my book's a worm... but you know what I mean.) One other thing: anyone interested in receiving an e-version ARC to read and (gulp) review? If so, let me know. Gotcha covered for Kindle or Nook.


                                   


Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

74 comments:

  1. Oh Susan. Tears here. What an amazing story. And yes, I would most definitely call it a love story. The very best kind.

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    1. Somehow, I had a feeling this story would resonate with you. I'm glad you liked it.

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  2. A beautiful creature and a great story of friendship. On a side note, Freedom must make awesome chick bait.

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    1. HA! You're right about the chick bait. My hubby and I about freaked out when we saw a bald eagle fly over our house a couple weeks ago, (First time we've EVER seen one in our neighborhood!) but seeing a semi-domesticated one sitting on a man's shoulder and cuddling him? That would be an irresistible draw.

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  3. Susan, there's good reason to consider animals as guides. They know where the water is, and the shelter. No reason why that should not extend to the mythic structure of the spirit world. My friend, Willie, has a pet dog that knows when Willie's unwell. The connection is real, proven by demonstration. You've done a great job illustrating it.

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    1. Yes, the connection is very real. We've had a number of dogs with an uncanny ability to provide comfort when I needed it.

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  4. Animals (and birds) are incredibly intelligent and often possess human (and spiritual) qualities. My cat is astoundingly perceptive, and I used to have a parrot that was the same way.
    The story of Freedom is truly amazing and very touching. This old faux cowboy was more than misty-eyed.....

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    1. I kinda wonder if all animals aren't more intelligent and capable of forming bonds with us than we give them credit for. Maybe we're the ones who aren't always aware of and open to the possibilities

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  5. Does this count for two draw entries?! Your book looks like lots of fun :-) xx

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    1. Oh, aren't you the sneaky one! Okay, I'll give you an extra entry... but just this one time, purely based on the fact that you cracked me up.

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  6. Wow, the story of Freedom and Jeff is amazing!! And the photos are so precious. Beautiful.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. I can never get my fill of feel-good stories like this.

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  7. Oh dear. I've just posted a piece about killing Moles in my garden. Now you're making me feel guilty!

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    1. Sorry. Didn't mean to make you feel guilty. (Then again, moles are sooooo cute...) HA!

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  8. I remember this eagle story. Amazing.

    And wait -- when did you publish your book? How did I miss this? When did it happen? Where was I?

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    1. HA! You haven't missed anything yet. I did a cover reveal on Tuesday, but the book won't be released until later this month.

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  9. That story never fails to touch me and always brings tears.

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    1. Same here. Guess we're just a couple ol'... no! make that a couple young-at-heart... softies.

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  10. I am glad you reported this story. It is beautiful and inspirational and warms my heart.

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    1. Good! We can all use a little heart-warming to take the chill out of the air. (Is it REALLY May? Sure doesn't FEEL like it!)

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  11. Reading this story about Mr. Guidry and the bald eagle made me a bit emotional, in a good way. Wow...how inspiring.

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    1. That's because you're a softie, too. I'm glad you liked it.

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  12. Thanks for the inspiration, Susan. I needed it.

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  13. Yes, I remember the eagle story. Really cool.

    And congrats again on the new book! I'll try and give a shout out on the blog next week. :)

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  14. I once rescued a fox from a steel trap. His leg was badly damaged. He allowed me to remove his leg from the trap and to carry him home where we placed him in an old chicken coop. We gave him water and food. Applied antibiotic to his leg and wrapped it in a bandage. Throughout it all, he was completely docile. The next morning... he was gone.

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    1. That's a great story, and I'm glad it had a happy ending. When I was a kid, I once rescued a wasp from a rain puddle. As soon as it recovered, it stung me and flew away.

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  15. Great story, That is why I like re-runs.

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  16. Hi Susan .. what an amazing story with the Eagle - loved it .. and too I'm teary! I went to a recovery centre in Rhodesia - years ago .. decades more like!!

    Wonderful telling .. and I'm with you on your book - I have to start off using my Kindle - so let me know and I'll try and work out what I need to do now I can connect.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi. I'm glad you liked the story. You'll have to tell us about the recovery center... oops, sorry... centre... sometime.

      If you're saying you'd like an ARC of my story to read and review, all I'll need is the email address you want me to send it to.

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  17. Welcome back! I missed you so much. I'll check on the book.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. This is a really nice post! I liked reading this very much.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  19. This story made me cry, how wonderful. Nothing like an animal story to go right to my heart.

    I'm so excited for you about your book!! And excited for me because I can't wait to get my hands on it. :)

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    1. I'm glad this story touched your heart, too. Evidently, there are lots of us animal softies around.

      Thanks for sharing my excitement. I appreciate it.

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  20. Animals sure have a brain
    That holds more than many on the human train
    And a rerun you say
    Hate those on tv at my bay haha

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    1. Yep, animals are plenty smart,
      And sure know how to touch our heart.
      They can be our friends, to say the least,
      'Tis in the nature of the beast.

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  21. Oh my! I'm heading back a post! I missed the reveal. Love the eagle story. Love demonstrates itself in amazing ways.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the eagle story. You're right. Love comes in all forms.

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  22. Animal stories get me every time.......every time!

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    1. I know. That's one of the reasons everyone likes you so much.

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  23. What an absolutely beautiful story, I shed a little tear reading this. And those pictures give me the warm and fuzzies. :)

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    1. Oh, goody. I'm so glad you liked it. (I'm onto you. You're not nearly as tough as you like to pretend.)

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  24. There is definitely something about animals that we humans don't understand yet. I remember reading about a dog in a nursing home who would sense when one of the residents was about to die. He'd stay close to them and comfort them in their last moments.

    The video with the bald eagle made me teary-eyed, too.

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    1. For sure. I've read about dogs sensing death, and comforting dying patients, too. And some dogs can even "smell" the presence of cancer cells.

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  25. What a powerful story! It gave me goose-bumps to hear his story.

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    1. Yes, it is powerful, isn't it? Just thinking about being "hugged" by a bald eagle gives me goose bumps, too.

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  26. SUSAN ~
    This was a fantastic story. Thanks for posting it.

    Yes, the spiritual connections between people and animals, and even between animals of different types, can be amazing.

    It's interesting how the older I get and the more true stories I run across of all kinds, stories that astound, seeming too bizarre to be true and yet ARE true, the more I come to think that after 53 years, I really don't know anything about anything. Just when you think you've got your mind fully wrapped around a subject, something comes along that forces you to go back to the drawing board.

    I am, however, certain of this: After I die and finally am able to see more fully the work of God in this world - how He has interacted with us and fashioned His plans and done His will - the complexity and beauty of God's sewing is going to be more mind-blowing than I could have possibly ever imagined.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      The older I get, the more at peace I am about the wonders of the world. I still chase knowledge like a donkey chasing after a dangling carrot, but I also accept that in the infinite complexities of the universe, (and beyond) my mind, no matter how good I think it may be, is finite. Some things I will never fully understand in this lifetime. But that's okay. I can wait...

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  27. Hi Susan,

    Today, I wont submit one of my long, rambling comments. Today I shall use brevity. I think you may well know that I firmly believe in the spiritual connection we share with our beloved creatures. It's right there for all to see and that profound video is conclusive evidence.

    In peace and kindness,

    Gary

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    1. Yes, I do know how you feel about the spiritual connection, and I'm sure you have it with Penny. (Golly, not a single pun today!)

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  28. This is such a moving story! Congrats again on your fabulous book!

    Julie

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    1. Isn't it though? No matter how many times I read about it, it gets to me every time.

      Thanks. I really appreciate it.

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  29. The animal stories are so moving. I do believe in those strong connections.

    And best of luck on your book! I wish you much success. :)

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  30. A beautiful story. Did you have the vid on before, too, because I know I heard this story. Often we think of things with feathers as having no spirit, but I know that is not the truth. I bet that eagle is more protective than a guard dog.

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    1. Yep, guilty as charged. This is a rerun, including the video. And I'll bet you're right about the eagle being protective. Freedom and Jeff obviously have a genuine connection.

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  31. Animals can bring out the best in us. I'm so silly about it, I carry stink bugs out of the house rather than flush them...But seriously, I'd love to know what goes on in the minds of the birds I feed in the winter, and of course, in the souls of our dogs.

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    1. Yes, they sure can. That's not silly at all. I do the same sort of thing. Do ya sing "Born Free" when you let them go? Now THAT'S a little silly. (ahem) Not that I know anything about that...

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  32. Brilliant feel-good tale, Susan. Thank you for posting that.

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  33. You are right. I loved the story about the eagle. I got goosebumps reading it.

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  34. Glad to see you back again. I had received that story of Jeff and the eagle in an email and I must admit I did share a tear or two and marvel at the connection between the two.
    There are sanctuaries in Australia where wonderful people work with endangered animals and folk can go and meet with these animals. It is always fantastic to make a connection with a domestic animal but with a wild one.....it is very special.

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    1. Thanks! It's good to be back.

      I think one of the things that's so special about the connections people share with animals is that animals seem to have the ability to see past all the external trappings, if you know what I mean. It's as though they can see into our souls, and judge and connect with people based on character. They don't care how we dress, or who we know, or how much money we have. They respond to kindness and love. We people could learn a lot from them.

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  35. Okay, you made me cry. What an inspirational story.

    To deny the spiritual connection between man and animal is to cut oneself off from one of life's greatest gifts. While I can't speak to all animals, I do know my dog's unconditional, unquestioning devotion makes me a better person.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. I agree. I think the unconditional, unquestioning devotion we get from our pets makes us better people, because we want to BE the kind of person they already think we are.

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