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eagle with head on chest

Freedom and Jeff


Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer. 
She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.
Her left wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery,
it was broken in 4 places.
She's my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand 
and both wings were broken. She was 
emaciated and covered in lice. We made the 
decision to give her a chance at life, so I took 
her to the vet's office.  From then 
on, I was always around her. We had her in a 
huge dog carrier with the top off,  and it 
was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to 
lay in.  I used to sit and talk to her, 
urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay 
there looking at me with those big brown eyes. 
We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still 
couldn't stand. It got to the point where the 
decision was made to euthanize her 
if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't 
want to cross that line between torture and 
rehab, and it looked like death was 
winning.  She was going to be put 
down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in 
on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go 
to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't 
bear the thought of her being euthanized;  
but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone 
was grinning from ear to ear. I went 
immediately back to her cage; and there she was, 
standing on her own, a big beautiful 
eagle.  She was ready to live.  I was 
just about in tears by then.  That 
was a very good day. 

We knew she could never fly,  so the director 
asked me to glove train her.
I got her used to the glove,
and then to jesses, and we started
doing education programs for schools
in western  Washington .  
We wound up in the newspapers, 
radio (believe it or not) and some 
TV.   Miracle Pets even did a show 
about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with 
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had stage 3, 
which is not good (one major organ plus 
everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of 
chemo.  Lost the hair - the whole 
bit.  I missed a lot of work. When I 
felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey 
and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would 
also come to me in my dreams and help me fight 
the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000

the day after Thanksgiving,
I went in for my last checkup. 
I was told that if the cancer was not 
all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last 
option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they 
did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for 
the results.  I went in Monday, and I was 
told that all the cancer was gone.

eagle standing

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and 
take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty
and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her 
up, and we went out front to the top of the 
hill.  I hadn't said a word to 
Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me 
and wrapped both
her wings around me to where I 
could feel them pressing in on my back  
(I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she 
touched my nose with her beak and stared into my 
eyes, and we just stood there like that 
for I don't know how long .  That was a 
magic moment.  We have been soul mates ever 
since she came in.  This is a very special bird.

On a side note:  I have had people who 
were sick come up to us when we are out, and 
Freedom has some kind of hold on 
them.  I once had a guy who was 
terminal come up to us and
I let him hold her.
His knees just about buckled and he 
swore he could feel her power course through his 
body. I have so many stories like that..

I never forget the honor I have of being so close 
to such a magnificent spirit as 
Freedom.

 

 

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