Mule Deer Buck standing in the woods

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I recently attended an urgent retreat called ReVersing Extinction, where we sought out-of-the-box ways to reverse the accelerating rate of species extinctions. During a break, I found myself in conversation with Stan Rushworth, a Native American teacher and writer of rare power. He told me about an encounter he had some years ago in the forest. He was walking among the trees, unarmed, when he saw a young stag. They looked at one another. As Stan resumed walking, the stag walked parallel to him a short distance away. They were simply enjoying each other’s company, warily, but in growing comfort. This went on for several minutes. Then, for a fleeting second,...

Sally the chicken

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Sally the chicken came marching towards me with something clearly on her mind. She had a request. Would I kindly see to it that she could get back into the coop---she needed to lay an egg. Unlike her sister, she does not do anything with timidity. She had a demand and expected it to be responded to. In fairness to her, imagine if you were chicken-sized and had an egg as large in proportion to your body as an egg is to a chicken. You might have a sense of urgency as well. I’m not sure how I knew that was her request, but somehow, I did. She doesn’t have her usual access through the dip under the fence, since the snow is melting and the dip is...

Maxwell the Magpie

— by Jessica Friedman — For several years, I worked as an animal caretaker at an outdoor education facility in New Mexico. Every day, I had the privilege of introducing children to the animals in my care: chickens, burros, sheep, goats, cows, and ponies. Some of these kids had never met an animal besides their dog or cat, and seeing their faces light up as they interacted with these creatures made every day special. Knowing that this connection with animals could lay a foundation of love and respect for the natural world made filled my days with purpose and passion. But as much as I cherished my work with those young souls, my favorite part of the job were the hours spent between...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took Shota, my sensitive, gentle German Shepherd pup to Sun Valley, Idaho, for an examination by a specialist. He has had a limp for a couple of months now. Our local vet, examining him, had referred us to the Sun Valley vet. She said she could feel something in his shoulder but it needed an expert diagnosis with an advanced CAT scan machine and probable surgery. Speaking on a video call with wildlife vet Linda Bender about a program we were planning, I mentioned that I would be leaving the next day for Shota’s possible surgery. We continued talking and suddenly she blurted out, “He doesn’t want surgery.” A little confused because we had been...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — An Attempt at Translation and Interpretation Between Species with Some Kernels of Truth To It Small animals are as important as big ones. Definitely in their own minds, and in actuality too. (In fact the most important life forms that support the earth are the tiniest – it is only we who are more impressed by the big). The small animals of Earthfire have asked me to set the record straight. They are very, very, very important and wonderful. We humans are just too preoccupied and out of it to know it.  Definitely our loss. They are not too thrilled with my own orientation that ALL life forms are important – they do think, as we do, that they are...

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