“I always felt a deep affinity for nature and animals but it was seven wolf puppies that drove me, through love, into action.” Susan Eirich, Ph.D.
It was all the fault of seven wolf puppies. I was invited to help care for them—bottle feeding them, nursing them when they fell desperately ill. I fell in love. That changed everything. It was the kind of passionate committed love that a parent feels for a newborn child.
I was helpless before it. I had to do right by them. Then, because they opened me to the wonder of wolves, I had to do right by their kind. As I was invited to care for bears, cougars, lynx, bison, deer and more, I found myself falling in love each time anew! My feelings responded of their own volition. Bemused, I would watch them rising from within, surprised at their intensity. From where did they come? I was falling in love with so many different creatures, so different from my own species. What was the common ground that my body recognized?
As my awareness expanded I realized I had to do right by all Life. Falling in love deeply opens channels through which all kinds of information can flow and I saw each living being—plant, tree, animal—as a source of wonder if only I was able to connect with each on its own terms.
Once I was touched by it, saw it, felt it, then I had to fight for the beloved, protect it, take action. If I didn’t it felt like I would have betrayed my very soul. In 2000 I founded Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary, a multi-species endeavor. It has been a profoundly difficult and joyous journey since then. Each day, week, and year is a delight, a trouble and an amazement. An ever-increasing awakening. A microcosm, I believe, of our human journey.
But really the story of Earthfire is simply a story of love.