EARTHFIRE STORIES

Human-Animal Connections
February 24, 2017

I am Bluebell

She was carrying a flat dress box. I opened it. Inside lay a very intriguing work of art. Inscribed on the first leaf of this handmade “book” was the statement: “I...

Jean-holding-Banty

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- Jean came to the door with a soft concern in his brown eyes, tenderly holding what looked like an unmoving mound of cream colored feathers. It was Banty, a tough little rooster brought to his knees by the – 20 degree cold. A long-term resident, Banty had been raised by Esmerelda, a motherly turkey hen who was never able to hatch any of her own chicks. She was a splendid, ever-patient mother to him, and for her whole life he was the apple of her eye who could do no wrong. She was partial towards him even when he was a grown chicken. He was her only son. Jean had found Banty huddled on the ground in his coop, weak and unable to stand. His neck was twisted 180...

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Among other animals we had an exquisite, playful, affectionate cougar girl here, Tahi, and a determined little three-legged deer, Runs-Like-the-Wind. We treasured them both. Spending time with a member of any species gives you great appreciation for how wondrous each one is and makes it hard to value one over another. On New Year’s Day Amy, who originally rescued our baby deer, came to take him for an expedition in the woods on our property. As she was walking with him he suddenly bolted. She looked up and there was a cougar not 20 feet away. Her husband, Brian, was up ahead and had been seen it running in her direction. By the time Amy saw it, the cougar had just apparently seen her,...

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-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- Willow the coyote was on her back screaming convincingly as Streak, a male, stood over her growling mightily, touching not a hair on her body. But she certainly was making him feel powerful! This was a regular occurrence in their coyote politics. The drama started very early in their relationship. Willow had been rescued from a den at a golf course and we were taking care of her in our cabin. After a couple of weeks young Streak arrived. In spite of the fact that the cabin was already her territory and he was smaller and younger, when he approached her for the first time, she looked at him, paused a moment, flipped on her back and submitted. In...

Hope looks her best

-- Susan Eirich, PhD -- We got the phone call on a Wednesday. There was this wolf-like animal hanging around the yard of the caller. Stephanie lived in a rural subdivision and was worried about his future. She suspected he would eventually be shot if he was left free. He was young, perhaps 5-6 months old, and apparently very lonely. When she was in the house looking out she could see him approach her two little dogs, trying to play with them. Over time he bonded with them. He slept in the bushes near the house. He would bring toys into the yard- a ball he had found, sticks, inviting them to play. She quite fell in love with him. Eventually she could sit on the porch and he would still...

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-- By Susan Eirich, PhD -- Sometimes, the veil between species is pierced and it is a very beautiful thing. Life’s strong, biologically driven sense of individual preservation, common to all species, gives way under extreme circumstances. As a last resort, we overcome our fear and ask for help when there is no other option left. One exquisitely touching example of this is in the accompanying video. Four wild young deer, exhausted by swimming across the icy waters of Stephens Passage off the coast of Alaska, see a boat, swim towards it and essentially ask for help from humans. Which is gladly given. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yhnEs_mzOo There are many such videos: The raven...

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