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Interspecies Connections
November 8, 2018

Teton Totem Goes to Bed

It’s pretty easy to see when A Bear Wants to Go to Bed. He looks just like a very sleepy child, so pitiful and vulnerable in his need that you want to carry him up to his bed and tuck him in.

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — The child in me keeps crying out, “Where is she? Where is my Woodle? Why isn’t she there on her bed? Is she OK?” When my father passed away, no longer able to visit my mother in her separate room in the nursing home, she didn’t understand. She would ask for him, wonder why he no longer came. She would write him postcards and ask the nurse to deliver them, saying how much she missed him. There was never any answer. It is at that level I am calling for her. I know she is gone. But somewhere I don’t understand. We are so helpless in the vulnerability of loss. Woodle with Hope the Wolf Dog | Earthfire Yesterday, I received an urgent...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — There are many tales of Swatworth, self-named the Magnificent, a bobcat of extremely high self-esteem. In fact he is the subject of our first children’s book Swatworth, Josie and the Buffalo Girls based on a true story in which he (nearly) met his match but managed by the skin of his whiskers to save face. In the following Swatworth actually gave something back, though unintentionally. Several splendid old willow trees used to grace downtown Main Street in Driggs. A developer bought the land and despite diligent efforts to save them, they were cut down. In the endless battle between individual property rights and community values, the focus on property...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Jean walked into the office. “Tanaka isn’t feeling good….” Jean never says that for anything mild. Last time he said that, the wolf died. Tanaka is a gorgeous, sweet, loving, three year-old wolf. In a panic we put him in the back of the Subaru. I petted and reassured him as Jean drove us all to Maura, our vet. Meanwhile she obligingly cleared her day’s appointments. On the ride over he hung his head over the front seat to be closer to us for reassurance. Tanaka the wolf on the way to vet, not feeling very well at all What could be wrong with a healthy three year-old suddenly taken desperately ill? He was coughing, hunched over in...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — In many places the robin is the harbinger of spring. Here it is when we first see a bright-eyed fuzzy little thing poking its head up above the snow, looking around, apparently in disgust because it shortly disappears. But then a few hours later we see it racing across the snow to disappear in the wood pile. It is a Richardson’s ground squirrel. Soon they are a major fact of our existence, soft gray-brown furry little bodies racing around, popping up from holes in all kinds of unexpected places. LIFE has returned with a capital L. They are wherever you look, darting about in a short excited burst of life before they disappear again underground for seven...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I don’t want to write this because if I do it means she’s gone. I didn’t want to bury her for the same reason. Sometimes, with some animals, you just can’t bear it and Faerytale is one of them. How can you love a coyote so much? Be touched so deeply by her spirit. Her courageous delicate sensitive feminine terrified spirit? Sometimes you have an animal being that is so beautiful, vulnerable, brave that she just breaks your heart. Faerytale was like that. I ached with love for her. She touched everyone who met her, from large tough football players* to troubled teenagers, to everyone. For myself, she would never let me touch her but she did feel...

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