— 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. — Apparently coyotes don’t like collars. Not that we ever put one on them. No. It seems they object to collars in principle. It started with putting Shota, my fine German Shepherd pup and animal assistant, in with Wild Boy the coyote for companionship. I had just bought a splendid peacock collar for Shota, all iridescent green and purple and blue to set off his lovely white coat. When I went back to get him – no collar. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was confused. What could have happened? It was new. I had put the clasp in firmly. The dawning suspicion was that it must somehow have been removed. There was only one possible culprit. I got really...

— 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. -- I was driving to town the other day to run errands. I was almost there when I suddenly felt a strange movement and weight on the top of my right thigh. I looked down and thought, “That is a large mouse.” Then I realized it wasn’t a mouse at all. It was an ermine.* We have had a family on the property for years. They have never caused any trouble with our chickens or eggs, and we peaceably coexisted, though once one ill-advisedly attached itself to the back of the foot of one of our ducks. We take great delight in seeing their lithe forms darting across the property. We don’t keep domestic cats because of their preying on birds and other small animals...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Jose, our animal caretaker, approached me with something cupped gently in his large gloved hands – a tiny baby sparrow. He had found it near the coyotes and was afraid it was about to be eaten. It was fully feathered but still had that large pathetic yellow-rimmed baby mouth that young birds have. He could flutter along the ground but wasn’t quite yet able to fly. I held him for a bit while Jean went to get a bird cage. Its tiny feet clung tightly to my fingers as I cupped him to help him feel warm and secure in the dark. Still, I could feel his heart beating wildly. Mom and baby sparrow We put him in a small cage while I thought what to do. I...