Donald E. Farr
has a compelling story sent to him from a friend via email. The behind the scenes story is about the Sarvey Wildlife Center
that was established in 1981 in Everett, Washington. The organization owns five acres south of Arlington, Washington that provides a place for animals to rehabilitate. The property has two ponds and is secured to keep recovering deer and waterfowl safe. There is a clinic, educational building, eagle flight area, and a range of cages on the property. Originally called the Wildlife Care Center
, it was renamed in 1988 in memory of Bill Sarvey
, a Washington Department of Wildlife
Agent and friend of wild critters.
According to their About
page, their goals are:
– Provide wildlife rehabilitation and care.
– Educate and sensitize the public to the needs of wildlife.
– Expand and share the existing rehabilitation knowledge base.
Our first goal, to provide food, shelter and rehabilitation to orphaned and injured wildlife, …we are a part of a communication network through which we share successful rehabilitation strategies as well as learn from other wildlife centers nationwide.
It takes over 100 clinic workers to keep Sarvey’s doors open. … In 2005 Sarvey took in 3,339 animals, 14 Bald Eagles alone, 174 Raptors total, making Sarvey the largest bird of prey rehabilitation center in the northwest. …
The two most destructive forces we bring with us are our domestic pets and traffic. While the presence of dogs, cats, and cars is inevitable, there is much that can be done to minimize their disastrous effect.
The site information page continues with details about education and their cost of running the operation. Please visit and check it out.
Now for the story within the story
Freedom and Jeff
When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken, her left wing in four places. 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 that 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 dowl 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 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 eight rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I … went in Monday and I was told that all the cancer was gone.
So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and took 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 were 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 coarse through his body. I have so many stories like that. I never forget the honor I have of being so close to a magnificent spirit as Freedom’s.
As of 2008, according to sources, Jeff Guidry and Freedom have been together since 1998 (when she came in with broken wings and near death).
Jeff Guidry and Freedom’s story can be read in an article written by Jeff Guidry (the email is a short story Jeff sent via email). The name of his article is The Circle of Healing
. The article has an editor’s note and is undated.
The story and the pictures are compelling, and I appreciate Donald Farr passing this on to me. I have always admired Eagles above all other birds of prey, not just because the American Eagle is our national symbol and can be seen in many official seals of our government – but just because of their majestic and noble demeanor these great birds have. To see one in flight is something that cannot be explained, only experienced.