— 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,...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — In April I received an anguished email…..:  Hi Susan, We have a situation I could use advice on….Gigi the Grouse. For about a month Gigi has been hanging around the house. She walks right up to us and Jasper the dog.  A few times she has jumped on Jasper. She waits at the back door for us, follows us on walks with Jasper and hangs around the garage if we leave the door open. Now I have to check to make sure she isn’t by or behind the car. She will talk grouse talk at us as though we understand and she would eat out of my hand if I fed her which I don’t. I’m concerned for her safety and wonder if she has a mental or emotional problem. Any...

-- by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. -- A call came – can we take a baby beaver? Yes. When it arrived it was tiny – close to a newborn. It was crying piteously. There was no one in the state available to care for it except us and we did our very best. Jean used his special energy to try to infuse life force into it, spending hours trying to get her to take a bottle. I had a special pouch made so that I could carry her with me close to my beating heart for the sense of companionship so crucial to beavers. We put fresh and crushed willow with her for a familiar smell in case that would give her ease. Despite our best efforts, research, vet care, the baby beaver didn’t make it. The last two...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — During a test run for our first online Conservation Conversation next week, one of the participants, “Robert,” shared a story that was vivid in his mind. He lives in an apartment in a large city. By his apartment complex of 1000 people lies a neglected vacant lot grown up with weeds. Lying in his bed in the very early morning a few days ago, he heard the passionate singing of a songbird who had moved into the lot. He lay there enjoying it morning after morning. He wondered if it was just singing out of territorial impulses? Or singing simply for joy? A thoughtful man not given to jumping to emotional conclusions, he nevertheless felt, in the end, that it...

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