About Me

My photo

Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

A good story for a change

I don't know about you guys, but I hit the wall when it comes to all the political name-calling bullshit last week. It's to the point I don't want to turn on the TV and when it comes to watching the news, I only make it to the the first commercial break and I'm done. My mailbox is full off negative election propaganda daily. This sucks. I wonder what would happen if someone ran a campaign only defending the accusations their opponent is making and only talked about addressing the issues threatening to send this country into a tailspin?

Anyhow, it's no secret I have a real love for eagles. If I can't find a good storm, the challenge of getting a good eagle shot is something I really enjoy. Growing up in northwestern Minnesota, it was a rare treat to get to see a wild bald eagle as the secrets behind what DDT was doing were just being discovered. What a miraculous recovery these birds have made.

A couple of my long time pals at work, Amy and Jenny Kuboy (sisters), have a family cabin on Leech Lake in far north central Minnesota. I've had the pleasure of being their guest a few times and I absolutely love that area in the early spring and late fall. During those times it doesn't feel like a tourist trap and take on the appearance of the rugged Minnesota north woods again. They have several good eagle viewing spots up there including a nesting pair very close to the cabin. Periodically they find news story regarding eagles and send them my way to enjoy. This one is too good not to share:

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 and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the v ets 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 Thurs day, 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 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 Freedom.

Hope you enjoy this.

Jeff Guidry

What a powerful story. It definitely hit a soft place and makes me appreciate these awesome birds even more. You can learn more about Jeff and the Sarvey Wildlife Center HERE.

Off to the Minnesota River Valley in western Minnesota today to see what I can find.

1 comment:

Eric said...

That is one heck of a cool story.

It's like with Meeks - when I was laid up with my ankle, she stayed next to me and hung out with me all of the time, following me everywhere.

Post a Comment