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— by Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing — This October is the 7th consecutive year I have led A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild, at Earthfire Institute. It is a unique event that brings people and the animals together in shamanic ceremony to co-create a more balanced way of walking together in this world. Once we open sacred space over the land, the time is very rich with many stories of transformation, human and animal. I will share one. At Earthfire we see each animal as an ambassador for their species and treat them with the dignity appropriate to that status. Each year I greet Earthfire Animal Ambassadors who are old friends, and make new ones....

Cucumber was wilted. It was different this time. After her two near-death experiences during which she worked her way into becoming a House Wolf, she thrived on her special status. When her status became threatened because another sick animal required special care and occupied our tiny living room, she learned how to manipulate us through pretend near-death experiences. But now she is older –going on her 14th year, and the wilting felt different. As if she were defeated. The cause of the problem was two-fold. First Firefly, a tiny little black fox-rescue from a fur farm ousted her because she needed intensive care, but we could at least move her out each day so Cucumber could come...

We received an urgent call – could we take in a sweet fox who had been someone’s pet and now was abandoned? He had been living alone in a locked cabin with food being thrown in sporadically, and the situation was no longer tenable. The exterminator was scheduled for the next day so he needed a home immediately. Many considerations. . .  we had no room – but it was life or death. We could try to put him in with our foxes Feather and Lightfoot and hope they got along. We would have to get permits as he was in Wyoming and he would be coming across state lines. Could we get them quickly enough? The laws had recently changed in Idaho and everyone in all the relevant offices were still...

He was found at a roadside zoo, just a few weeks old, and it was clear even then that he was a “differently-abled” bear. Now four years old he is enormous for his age, but it isn’t the size you notice first – it is a gentleness, an innocence. It is in the expression of his face, in his movements, the whole feeling he emanates. Most animals at Earthfire have names reflecting their magnificence – Northwind, the wolf; Windwalker the cougar. But as we watched him play, sweetly, gently, not too coordinated, not too quick on the draw, the name just came out – Humble Bumble. When we first brought him home he would lie on his back in our arms absolutely rigid, eyes staring...

Cindar was a 7-year-old, beautiful black female wolf. She was very sensitive and smart. Jean and Susan called me because she was depressed and seemed ill. When I arrived she was weak and was breathing very rapidly. When I listened to her lungs with the stethoscope she had very little air moving through them. I was immediately concerned as to why such a seemingly healthy wolf was losing lung function so quickly. We decided that to get a better idea as to what was going on with her lungs, we needed to do a chest x-ray. The x-ray revealed fluid in the chest and very limited lung capacity. Some of the lung had no air in it at all. It was clear she had pneumonia but what would have caused it?...

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