Bramble the Bear splashing in the water

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Bramble the grizzly bear could be a bit of a brat---except in this incident, it was also so cute. We hold many types of retreats here, from conservation to artistic to spiritual, in keeping with the belief that Life is not simple and we need all perspectives to help us make sense of it. Thus we were holding a four-day shamanic retreat, and it was the end of the last day. The leader, Rose De Dan, wanted to take the participants on a shamanic journey in the company of the animals, so we all went into the main compound and lay down on the grass. Rose began the journey, leading us along with words and using her rattle to pulse out a rhythmic beat to help us...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — We have a tiny cactus here in the office that I have had for years. It was being originally sold as a souvenir from Arizona. It was potted in a blue pot glued to a magnet and destined to become a refrigerator decoration. I couldn’t stand life being treated that way, so I rescued it. Over the years, it has had quite an adventurous life. When it first came, a round little ball the size of a quarter, it covered itself with dozens of tiny blooms year after year. How did it produce such amazing beauty and profusion from a bit of dry soil? Then one summer, when I put it out to enjoy the Idaho sun, apparently some mice came and threw it on the ground. They...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took Shota, my sensitive, gentle German Shepherd pup to Sun Valley, Idaho, for an examination by a specialist. He has had a limp for a couple of months now. Our local vet, examining him, had referred us to the Sun Valley vet. She said she could feel something in his shoulder but it needed an expert diagnosis with an advanced CAT scan machine and probable surgery. Speaking on a video call with wildlife vet Linda Bender about a program we were planning, I mentioned that I would be leaving the next day for Shota’s possible surgery. We continued talking and suddenly she blurted out, “He doesn’t want surgery.” A little confused because we had been...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Foffy the Mustang, Garrett the Farrier, and Bluebell the Displeased Bison Bluebell was not pleased. It is not good when Bluebell is not pleased. She is a massive, powerful, assertive matriarch with very large horns and a bit of an attitude. The horse-shoer pulled his truck up to the paddock where Foffy, our gorgeous blonde mustang girl was held in preparation for trimming her hooves. But the horse-shoer and his truck were interlopers--especially when the truck made noises as he prepared his tools. We led Foffy out and tied her to the fence as Bluebell came galloping over and put on a full displeased-bison display, grunting, tossing her massive head, pawing...

Humble Bumble the Grizzly Bear

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I offered Teton a slice of fresh pineapple. He looked at it with disdain. Didn’t bother to even sniff it, just walked away. Stately. He is a mango and pear sort of bear. Humble Bumble, on the other hand, got that special look in his eye as he saw his favorite treat and gently laid his bulk down to thoroughly enjoy it. Juice dripped out of his jaws as he bit into the tender yellow flesh. Usually, everything he does is somewhat chaotic and messy. Humble Bumble's destroyed pie plate (and Major Bear's intact one) vs. Humble Bumble's pineapple plate | Earthfire But pineapple? Somehow he managed to control his ADHD tendencies and trim it right down to the...

Bramble the Bear

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Ravenous bears… 21 September. The bears declared that they’re starving today. It is a few hours before the fall solstice and they are complaining loudly. Food! They will have to be fed first before anyone else now---and three times a day---or we will hear about it. Have you ever heard a bear roar in protest? It is not a pretty sound. Poor sweet things. They sound ferocious, and because of their size we take it very seriously. But really, they are feeling like desperate infants crying their need out to the world. The physiological pressures and urges are huge. If they don't get enough food, they won't make it through their winter hibernation. Here, they...

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