Wolf dog sniffs a man's hand

Hope is an extravagantly handsome dog who has wolf ancestry, although we aren’t sure what percentage of wolf. He lives with us at Earthfire---which is a good thing, because otherwise, he would have been euthanized by a bullet. Several years ago, Jean and Susan got a call from a woman in a subdivision with a story. What appeared to be a wolf was hanging around her subdivision and had made friends with her two dogs. She liked him. She saw that he was lonely. But other residents were naturally alarmed to see this large creature trotting through yards and calling out to their dogs. The sheriff tried to trap him several times, but was unsuccessful . The next solution was to shoot...

Woman and two small children next to a creek

— By Ann Loyola — The trail to the pebbly beach was a short distance, maybe 400 yards at most. It was a skinny dirt path weaving flatly through pines and aspens, perceived by serious hikers as an uneventful start to greater adventures that awaited miles and miles into the mountains. Cole was four and Hanna was almost three, and it wasn’t unusual for the three of us---mom and kids---to spend time in the woods. But it was the first time we each donned backpacks and planned a destination hike for a creekside picnic. Twenty feet into the start, we had already stopped several times. Cole: “Mom, what’s that?” “Water skeeters.” Cole: “How do they stay on top of the...

Woman holding a black and white fox

— By Dawn Harrison — In a recent team meeting, we talked about the connections that each of us have with the animals. It struck me just how similar humans and animals are when it comes to making friends and connections, and that those connections don’t need to be textbook definitions. As each of us talked about the different animals who seemed to most enjoy our company, I had to think of how the personalities of humans and animals came out. In some ways, it took me back to high school. Loki the fox is like the kid who everyone knows, everyone likes, and who is kind to everyone. Always willing to stop and chat. Truly enjoying every interaction, whether it be with underclassmen,...

Porcupine sleeping on a branch

— By Ann Loyola — Teddy is a porcupine. He’s about five years old and came to Earthfire Institute as a private rescue four years ago. About a month after I began working here, Susan suggested I choose some animals for mutual mentoring and my first choice was Teddy. Now, three months later, I spend a part of every workday with him, usually in the morning. Sometimes we just chat about the weather and other times the topics are more complex. Before my regular visits, Teddy had become withdrawn and his appetite was off; sometimes he stayed in the back of his den and refused to eat. He was very quiet. I didn’t know that porcupines could make any kind of sounds other than the gnawing...

The view looking up through tall cottonwood trees

— by Ann Loyola — The Seven Sisters have become a closely-held secret for at least two reasons. Mostly, I was loathe to share them; and secondly, I feared I would be rightfully labelled as a weirdo. Still, their presence is so obvious and commanding that surely I can’t be the only person wandering in the woods to come across them. The Sisters stand in a snug circle: cottonwood giantesses seemingly sharing one underground bole. When I spotted their distinctive canopy, I had to wade off the trail and through the grasses for closer inspection. Of course I slipped between their trunks to stand in the center, approximately three feet in diameter. Of course I looked up to the sky, down to...

Spider web covered in dew droplets

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — What I am trying to do with Earthfire is impossible, but maybe trying will get us humans closer to living in tune with the Earth. It is essential to start with spirit, that mysterious force larger than us that infuses all things: to spirits of the land, soils, plants, and animals to human input from shamans, intuitives, artists, and scientists. For a new way of living on our Earth, we need all voices, all perspectives, all types of wisdom and knowledge, from all beings. As I said, impossible---but at the very least, we can have the honorable intention to try. During the process of designing new animal habitats, it occurred to me that it was important to ask...

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