— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Speaking with Jill Robinson of the Animals Asia Foundation makes me want to sell everything I own, give her all my money and live naked in a hut eating beans so she can continue with her work. She is a beacon of hope and inspiration to what humans can be, and can do. Her story begins in 1993 when she was visiting a basement bear bile farm in southern China with two friends in which the farmer kept moon-bears for their entire life in “crush cages,” so their bile could be extracted for use in traditional Chinese medicine. The practice still exists in China*. Surrounded by bears in horrible conditions, Jill suddenly felt a gentle touch on her shoulder....

There is an organic feel to the development of our conversations. Organic in the sense of a magical natural unfolding leading to you-know-not-where-but-somewhere-wonderful. In creative fields there is a common phrase, “trust the process,” meaning just let the work unfold naturally and see where it leads. Not always easy to do when we want to direct things, or are nervous about what we may discover. But that is where real change lies. By letting things unfold, we may find ourselves guided somehow, through threads and currents too subtle for us to see, into what will become a beautiful or profound tapestry of meaning. This is even more true in a group conversation such as this, the...

— by Wendy Francis — I spend a lot of time exploring and enjoying the natural world. So it’s not unusual for me to have an intimate encounter with a wild animal. Each of these is special and enjoyable, and reminds me that every creature and I share something very fundamental. We have in common the basic building blocks of life in our cells and also a common heritage in the process of evolution. We also share the mysterious element of consciousness or spirit that exists in all living things. While each observation of or interaction with a wild creature is thrilling, some are extra special. I remember the first time I saw a wolverine close up in the wild. I was so excited I was...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, the general policy was to rescue people but require them to leave their pets behind. This was unbearable for many.  There was a story on the radio about an 81-year-old-woman who refused to leave her dogs and cats. In the end, she perished.   Things have changed dramatically since then in our awareness of people’s bonds with their animal companions. A bond of love. A bond with one whom you consider a family member regardless of species is really unbreakable without severe damage to our souls. We have made a different policy during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma - one that is more in the service of Life. And...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — August 1, 2017 A sweet young volunteer, Gwen, came into the office walking softly, her hands cupped together in front of her ever so gently, holding something apparently very delicate and precious.  It was a baby bird. She had seen it tumble off our roof from under the gable onto the ground. She rushed to pick it up. It was still alive. It was far too young to survive out of the nest, having just sprouted a few tufts of feathers sticking out in ungainly fashion from its naked pink skin.  It was a baby sparrow. Left to Right: Baby sparrow just fallen off roof, baby sparrow in hand | Photo by Earthfire Here was a golden opportunity for Gwen,...

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