Woman feeds an orphaned vole with a syringe

A Vole, A Bear, and a Berry Pie

The Vole It’s true that we serve bears, wolves, and other large, dramatic animals that capture our imagination. But from an ethical perspective, Life is owed a deep...

Heather Holcomb

Heather wears many hats at Earthfire, helping in both office administration and managing the day-to-day care of Earthfire’s 31 resident sanctuary animals, from wolves to bison to a porcupine named Teddy. How did you come to rehab work? Do you have a history of working with animals? My background is in food and beverage management and I’ve spent 20 years in the hospitality industry here in Idaho and Wyoming. My husband and I moved to New Mexico to help my father-in-law run his video production company, where I had a chance to work with Wild Spirit, a wolf sanctuary outside Albuquerque, producing six episodes for a show on Fido TV. Spending so much time out there, I fell in love with...

Young buddhist monk in orange robes petting an elephant

Many of us have a deep longing for something more in life, a yearning, a sense of loneliness. What if we are longing for something we innately have: a deep, visceral connection to the wild---to animals, nature, and the community of Life? Wild animals are lonely for us. We are lonely for them. We have become disconnected from each other. Imagine what would happen if we expanded our sense of community to include all living beings in our consideration and planning? If we fell in love with the nonhuman life around us? What would the state of our environment be then? Falling in love begins first with intimate contact. When we truly know and love an individual, we are moved to protect and...

Hummingbird perched on a person's finger

I heard two incredible bird rescue stories recently. The essence of the stories is the same, although the people were very different temperaments and came from very different walks of life. It made me think… The first came from Mariabruna Sirabella, who leads spiritual and nature retreats. She focuses on helping people experience our interconnection with all of creation and tuning to our collective wisdom. In that context, the following story is not so surprising. “I was holding a retreat on a farm in central California. We were down in the field doing work, and one of the participants had to go to the bathroom, which was up in the main room of the farm. All of a sudden, I heard...

Gray wolf looks into a woman's eyes

Cucumber was a small, aloof wolf. For years she went about her business working to become the alpha female in her pack. She wanted little to do with humans. One December she became critically ill. She had a raging infection and her organs were close to shutting down. The vet said the only hope was exploratory surgery to find the cause but that she was too weak to survive it. We tried anyway. She essentially died and was revived during the four-hour operation. A section of her small intestine had rotted and decayed and had to be removed. Cucumber recovering after surgery | Earthfire Institute Somehow, miraculously, she survived. Hovering on the edge of life and death we brought her...

Close up of a bison's eye

Close your eyes and think back. Can you remember a moment when your life was touched or transformed by a species other than your own? Maybe it was when you were a child, and you developed an unbreakable bond with a dog or cat—one that can only be described as love. Maybe it was when you were walking in the woods and suddenly came face to face with a beautiful doe and your eyes met and held for just a few heartbeats before she jumped gracefully away. Many of us have had these moments. And while they might have been brief, they alter us in powerful ways, reminding us that we are not alone. We are nested in an ever-widening web of connections—not just with our families, friends, and...

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