EARTHFIRE STORIES

He was found at a roadside zoo, just a few weeks old, and it was clear even then that he was a “differently-abled” bear. Now four years old he is enormous for his age, but it isn’t the size you notice first – it is a gentleness, an innocence. It is in the expression of his face, in his movements, the whole feeling he emanates. Most animals at Earthfire have names reflecting their magnificence – Northwind, the wolf; Windwalker the cougar. But as we watched him play, sweetly, gently, not too coordinated, not too quick on the draw, the name just came out – Humble Bumble. When we first brought him home he would lie on his back in our arms absolutely rigid, eyes staring...

A little black fox furiously running straight to the cougar cage ready to kill was the last thing we thought would happen, but it did. Though hardly small, we had recently moved the young cougar, Tahi, to an enclosure adjoining the Small Animal Garden. It was a good move. She is closer to people and is happy there until we get the funding to build the Cat Gardens. During a retreat last week we took everyone into the Small Animal Garden to meet Foxy Whitefoot, a tiny but very very lively fox who was rescued from a fur far a few years back. She is an emotional being, who loves people and expresses herself quite dramatically (or loudly) as one would observe. We brought her to the...

There comes a time, in the course of human events, when you have to give a bear a pill. Or in this case, eight of them twice a day because unfortunately they don’t come in bear size. You might think it would be easy. With a wolf, as long as there is breath in their body, put the pill in a piece of meat and they “wolf” it down, no questions asked. If there is any difficulty at all you keep a second piece of meat in your other hand and they focus so much on the second piece they might miss, that they wolf down the first while eyeing the delectable second (the grass is always greener . . . ). If there should be any possible problem even then, you offer a piece to another wolf, and they...

A tele-call with Rose De Dan of Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing; Susan Eirich of Earthfire Institute; and Mia Schiff, Pipe Carrier for the Lakota Sioux tradition. Earthfire Institute has been gifted a white buffalo calf by a Native American retreat participant. The White Buffalo Calf Woman came to the Lakota people at a time they were in conflict and she brought unity – teaching people the correct way of interacting with each other and with the land – how to walk on Mother Earth in a sacred manner. Earthfire’s vision is one of teaching people how to come back into circle through animals, enlarging our sense of community to include all living beings. Rose De Dan’s vision is one...

I would like to tell you about a grizzly bear. Not bears in general but a very specific bear. An individual. Teton Totem came to Jean as a child of divorce. Born in captivity, his owner had 30 bears and with the divorce could no longer keep him. When I first met Teton he was bear perfection – an artist drawing the most perfect adorable teddy bear couldn’t have come close to his cuteness. Jean even suggested making a poster with a whole row of stuffed teddy bears, putting Teton in among them – it would have been hard to pick him out. But even as a tiny cub there was no doubt about his strength and “bearness.” This was a serious, strong-willed animal. We had just bought the...

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