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Stories and poems

The Voice of the Voiceless
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

I am the voice of the voiceless:
Through me, the dumb shall speak;
Till the deaf world’s ear be made to hear
The cry of the wordless weak.

Oh shame on the mothers of mortals
Who have not stopped to teach
Of the sorrow that lies in dear, dumb eyes,
The sorrow that has no speech.

The same Power formed the sparrow
That fashioned man - the King;
The God of the whole gave a living soul
To furred and to feathered thing.

And I am my brother’s keeper,
And I will fight his fight;
And speak the word for beast and bird
Till the world shall set things right.
 


 If I Didn't Have Dogs…

I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.

My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.

All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.

When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.

When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.

I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration

how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.

I would have money ….and no guilt to go on a real vacation.

I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put
their yet unborn grand kids through college.

The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down,
come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.

My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers.

My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere.

My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

I would no longer have to Spell the words B-A-L-L, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-
A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, B-I-K-E, G-O, OR R-I-D-E!

I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.

I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much.

I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading "mud" season.

I would not have to answer the question "Why do you have so many
animals?" from people who will never have the joy in their lives of
knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an
angel as they will ever get.

How EMPTY my life would be!

Author Unknown


Lonely Dog

Once I was a lonely dog, Just looking for a home.
I had no place to go, No one to call my own.
I wandered up and down the streets
In rain, in heat and snow,
I ate whatever I could find,
I was always on the go.
My skin would itch, my feet were sore,
My body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat
Or to gently say my name.
 
I never saw a loving glance, I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me was really lots of fun.
And then one day I heard a voice
So gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me,
And took me off my feet.
 
No one again will hurt you,
Was whispered in my ear.
You'll have a home to call your own,
Where you will know no fear.
You will be dry, you will be warm
You'll have enough to eat 
And rest assured that when you sleep,
Your dreams will all be sweet.
 
I was afraid I must admit
I've lived so long in fear.
I can't remember when I let a human come so near.
And as she tended to my wounds 
And bathed and brushed my fur
She told me 'bout the rescue group 
And what it meant to her.
 
She said, We are a circle,
A line that never ends.
And in the center there is you,
protected by new friends.
And all around you are the ones
That check the pounds,
And those that share their home
After you've been found.
And all the other folk,
Are searching near and far,
To find the perfect home for you, 
Where you can be a star.
She said, There is a family,
That's waiting patiently,
and pretty soon we'll find them
Just you wait and see.
 
And then they'll join our circle
They'll help to make it grow,
so there will be room for more like you,
Who have no place to go.

I waited very patiently,
The days they came and went.
Today's the day I thought,
My family will be sent.
Then just when I began to think
It wasn't meant to be, there were people standing there
Just gazing down at me.
I knew them in a heart beat,
I could tell they felt it too.
They said, "We have been waiting
For a special dog like you."
 
Now every night I say a prayer,
To all the Gods that be.
Thank you for the life I live
And all you've given me.
But most of all protect the dogs
In the pound and on the street.
And send them a rescue person,
To lift them off their feet.
 

RESCUED HEARTS

 

Taking care of rescue dogs
Is something I do best.
I know because I've done it,
And I've surely passed the test.

 

The dogs I've bathed, the food I've fed,
The vacuuming I've done,
And all to watch a frightened soul
Sit dreaming in the sun.

 

My own dogs I've neglected,
But I tell them everyday
That I love and cherish each of them
Though a new dog's come to stay.

 

I know they understand this,
For in their eyes I see
The love that I have given them
Come shining back at me.

 

Some people think I'm crazy,
Some others think I'm great.
But very few can understand
What really is at stake.

 

If I can love and help a dog
To find a better way,
My own life is much richer,
I look forward to each day.

 

So now you know my secret,
It's there for all to see,
The love I give, the life I save,
I do it all for me.

  ~ Author Kathleen Parsons ~


This next poem is dedicated to all the poor senior dogs and cats that have been dumped in kill shelters by their families because they grew old:

 
ONE BY ONE ...

One by One, they pass by my cage,
Too old, too worn, too broken, no way.
Way past his time, he can't run and play.
Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.

A little old man, arthritic and sore,
It seems I am not wanted anymore.
I once had a home, I once had a bed,
A place that was warm, and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is gray, and my eyes slowly fail.
Who wants a dog so old and so frail?

My family decided I didn't belong,
I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.
Whatever excuse they made in their head,
Can't justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit in this cage, where day after day,
The younger dogs get adopted away.

When I had almost come to the end of my rope,
You saw my face, and I finally had hope.
You saw thru the gray, and the legs bent with age,
And felt I still had life beyond this cage.
You took me home, gave me food and a bed,
And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.

We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly, you want me to know.
I may have lived most of my life with another,
But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.
And I promise to return all the love I can give,
To you, my dear person, as long as I live.

I may be with you for a week, or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears.
And when the time comes that God deems I must leave,
I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.
And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,
My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.
And I will brag to all who will hear,
Of the person who made my last days so dear.

The following poem is dedicated to all foster families in this country who, without a second thought, take in the unwanted, the abused, the sick, the neglected, the lost, the fearful and the afraid and offer them a new life and teach them what it is like to be loved and cherished.  

 

TO MY FOSTER FAMILY

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love.
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.
I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend.
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.
And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go.
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know."
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss.
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay.
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on.
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I'll never forget what I learned that first day.
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time.
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.
- Author Unknown


A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem

Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,
every shelter is full - we are lost, but not found,
Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,
we hope every minute that someone will care,
They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,
"Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!
But now we sit here and think of the days...
we were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways,
Once we were little, then we grew and we grew
now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.
So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,
they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?
We "jump on the children", "don't come when they call",
we "bark when they leave us", "climb over the wall".
We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,
now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.
If only they'd trained us, if only we knew...
we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.
We were left in the backyard, or worse -let to roam-
now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.
They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye...
"Maybe someone else will give you a try."
So now here we are, all confused and alone...
in a shelter with others who long for a home.
The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,
with so many to care for, they can't stay to chat,
They move to the next kennel, giving each of us cheer...
we know that they wonder how long we'll be here.
We lay down to sleep and sweet dreams fill our heads...
of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.
Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears -
our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.
If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn -
could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?
We count on your kindness each day of the year -
can you give more than hope to everyone here?
Please make a donation to pay for the heat...
and help get us something special to eat.
The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,
and more of us will, if more people will give.

--Author Unknown

I STOLE YOUR DOG TODAY
Copyright Jim Willis 2002
 
I stole your dog today. No, I didn't set a foot on your property, but from the condition of your dog, I can imagine what it looks like...the word "junkyard" comes to mind.
 
I found her along a road, with a heavy chain wrapped around her neck, still attached to rotten boards from her doghouse, with rusty six-penny nails protruding. Not only did I know that most of the town had already ignored her, judging by where I found her, but I knew that if she had gotten into the woods the "cross" that she dragged behind her would have wrapped around a tree until starvation or thirst killed her. The local populace is usually deaf to the sound or blind to the sight of an animal in need, unless they decide to shoot one for trespassing.

That her ribs showed, that her ears were filthy, that her overall condition was poor and that her coat and eyes were dull, were good indications that you didn't deserve her. But just to make sure, I checked with the local authorities for a report of a missing (unlicensed) dog matching her description and to see if you'd placed a "lost dog" advertisement in the local newspaper. You hadn't, which I can only surmise means that you do not miss her. That's rather convenient, because the fact that she is not spayed, probably unvaccinated, and possibly heartworm positive means that restoring her health could cost me around a thousand dollars.

Perhaps it may be some small comfort to know that she doesn't miss you.  In fact, her very act of escape made it clear that she'd had enough of your brand of pet guardianship. It took her about a day to realize that I'm not you, that I won't hurt her, that despite our brief acquaintanceship, I love her. It took two days for her to realize that the other animals who live here accept her and that one of the joys she has been missing has been the companionship of other dogs. It took three days for her to appreciate the ecstasy of a home cooked meal and that a couch is meant to be reclined on, and that she no longer has to sleep outside - in fact, when the thunder starts, she'll get a hug and her ears rubbed, and I'll make a fool of myself with baby talk. 

She has a beautiful name now. Already in the first week she has come to look more like she should. Her eyes sparkle and she has learned to wag her tail in greeting. She has stopped flinching when I make a sudden movement, because she knows now that I won't beat her, in fact, she rarely leaves my side. She's even become brave enough to bark at a cat and today I watched from the window as she initiated play with the other dogs. No, it's clear she does not miss you or her former life of neglect on a chain. 

Of all the things that have become apparent from my brief relationship with her - such as the forgiving nature of the dog, their wonderful ability to heal and to trust, the fact that love can work miracles - one of the most apparent is what a fool you are. She was possibly the most trusting, loyal and loving being in your life, and you consigned her to a life of filth and loneliness until she made the best choice she's ever made when she broke free. Perhaps her guardian angel helped her escape. Lest anyone should mistake me for an angel, I will admit that one day I hope to be as good as she; I believe she forgave you within the first twenty-four hours of her new life for the about four years of her previous "life," while I still wrestle with the part of me that hopes that one day you will burn in Hell.

 It's not clear yet whether she'll remain here or whether I'll find her a loving home where she can count on more individual attention than I can give her, but one thing is certain, this is one bit of stolen "property" who is never returning to you. So sue me, prosecute me, plead with the courts that she is rightfully yours...I'm convinced this is the best "crime" I've ever committed. Hardly anything has pleased me more than the day I stole your dog. I need only look into her beautiful brown eyes to know that she'd defend my decision with her life. If we have one prayer, it is that you will not replace her, and if we have one special day to commemorate together, it is the day I stole your dog and the day she stole my heart.
Too bad we can't pass this along to the hate group people who accuse rescuers of *stealing* dogs just like this one...
 

AN ANGEL IN THE POST OFFICE


Date: 2007-11-23, 10:55PM MST


This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service. Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God, Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me.
 "Can't you do anything right?"
Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man
in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my
throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

  "I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice
was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in
front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark,
heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant
thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being
outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of
nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed
often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to
his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy
log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone,
straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about
his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a
younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An
ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to
keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an
operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately
refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were
turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned,
then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm.
We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.
Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed
nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became
frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We
began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and
explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling
appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to
soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent.
Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each
of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my
problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just
when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just
read something that might help you! Let me go get the article." I listened
as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing
home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet
their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given
responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a
questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of
disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each
contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black
dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one
but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small,
too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far
corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.
It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a
caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades
of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his
eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me
unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked,
then shook his head in puzzlement.

"He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate.
We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That
was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He
gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the
house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when
Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I
would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than
that bag of bones. Keep it  I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully
and turned back toward the house.

 Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded
into my temples.

 "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored me. "Did
you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his
hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

 We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer
pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front
of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

 Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion
replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was
on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the
pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They
spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments
on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even
started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and
Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's
bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one
night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our
bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke
Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed,
his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the
night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne
lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he
had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I
silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's
peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks
like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews
reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and
Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was
a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers."
"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not
seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article...

Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm
acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of
their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my
prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard,
love truly and forgive quickly
Live While You Are Alive.
Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.


"The Circle of Healing"
by Jeff Guidry




 

Every day at Sarvey Wildlife Center we witness first hand the incredible battle for life that our animal brothers and sisters go through. This is a story of one Bald Eagle's magnificent spirit and sheer will to live.

It was mid-summer when a call came in reporting a fledgling Bald Eagle had fallen out of a nest on a Seattle golf course. Our very own Crazy Bob went to the rescue and transported her to the Center. She arrived with two broken wings. When asked to take her to the vet, I jump at the chance.

When I load this hurt and terrified baby into the car, she neither whimpers nor fights; she can't even stand. This is not a good sign; she is obviously in very bad shape. As I drive to Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital, I constantly look back to check on my very special passenger. She stares at me with big beautiful brown eyes, her mouth slightly agape. I drive a little faster—this Bald Eagle must live!

She is operated on and has both wings pinned; they are now immobile. Back at Sarvey we lay her in the bottom half of a huge carrier filled with shredded newspaper for support.

The fight for her life begins.

Twice a day a tube is pushed down her throat so that food and medicine can be pumped into her. A week goes by with no change; she still cannot stand up. At three weeks, there's a slight change, but it's for the worse. I'm getting scared for this young Bald Eagle.

Working at the Center, you begin to recognize a look, a look that indicates death is winning. This bruised and broken Bald Eagle was losing the battle but not her dignity. The struggle for her life was not over.

Every chance I get I talk softly to her, telling her to hold on, to fight, to live. Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know.

Four weeks go by and she is still on her belly. There is nothing so heartbreaking as seeing the life force of this majestic bird slowly slip away.

At five weeks we are approaching the end.

Sarvey Wildlife Center believes in giving every soul that comes in a chance to live; but when it is painfully clear that death is the only way out, the decision is made to let that particular spirit continue on its journey. We were at this juncture; this beautiful baby eagle was given one week to see if she could, or would, stand up. This was a crushing blow. Every day that next week I checked to see if she was up. The answer was always the same... "No."

On the following Thursday I could barely face going to the Center. As I walked in not a word was spoken but everyone wore a huge grin. I raced back to the young Bald Eagle's cage, and there she stood in all her glory!

She was standing! She had won. This girl had cheated death by a mere 24 hours. She was going to make it. She was going to get her second chance.

After another week the pins in her wings were removed. Her right wing was perfect, but her left was not. She couldn't fully extend it. We tried physical therapy and hoped a little time was all she needed, but there was no significant progress. Her wing was too badly damaged. She would never fly, never soar the skies with her people. At least her life was saved, but for what? Was she doomed to live her life in a cage? Not exactly, for this was a special soul.

Bald Eagles normally want nothing to do with humans and will go to great lengths to get away from them. This girl liked people; she wanted to see what you were doing, to follow where you were going, and to see whom you were going with. She was very curious.

About this time our director suggested that I try to glove train her. She had the right temperament; maybe she could do educational programs. Wouldn't that be something? Very few eagles are able or willing to be handled, much less remain calm in front of large crowds. The work began.

I started getting her used to the glove, a little at a time. At first she was thinking, "OK, I'll step on your hand but only with one foot." Then, "OK, I'll use both feet but only for a second." Later, "Yeah you can take me part way out of my cage, then I'll jump right back in." And finally, "OK, I'll let you walk around with me on your arm. Hey, this is fun!"

At this point, every day a volunteer would take this Bald Eagle out for a cruise around the clinic. It was time for her final test—jesses, the leather straps that attach to the ankles of birds-of-prey to give control to the handler and to protect the bird from injury or escape. I put the jesses on her—a piece of cake. It was as if she were born with them on. This was certainly a very mellow Bald Eagle.

Now it was almost time for her first program, but she needed a name. None that we could come up with seemed right, and then Paula, a volunteer, said, "Hey, what about Freedom?" That was it; that was her spirit and her spirit was why grandfather sent her to us. She was ready.

Freedom is now four years old and one of Sarvey Wildlife Center's premier ambassadors. She clearly enjoys our programs and really knows how to turn on the charm. She is a star. Freedom has been on national television, on the front page of major newspapers, and is known across the country.

She is also one of the great loves of my life. She will touch her beak to the tip of my nose and stare into my eyes. At that moment our spirits are one.

I am the luckiest person on Earth.Thank you, Freedom.

(editor's note)...Jeff said, "Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know."

Now we all know why:

Freedom is alive because Jeff fought for her life, and there is no doubt that Freedom sensed his love and commitment. Jeff gave Freedom the support she needed to want to live.

When Jeff was later diagnosed with a serious illness requiring chemotherapy, he found himself turning to Freedom for support. Two or three times a week, whenever he felt well enough, he would drive from Bothell to Arlington to walk with Freedom around the grounds. Now it was Freedom's turn to give Jeff a reason to fight for his life.

Only a short time ago Jeff was informed there was no trace of the disease left in his body. He immediately left for the Center.

When he took Freedom out of her flight, she did something she had never done before: She extended her wings and wrapped them around him.

The circle of healing was now complete.


MARY DID YOU KNOW?
This is dedicated to one of the many stray dogs and catsdumped outdoors, forced to survive on their own, fighting the elements, and the  humans who do them harm. Mary was pregnant when her dear rescuer spotted her living alone outside;  Mary's pups were all stillborn :(
The poem was written by her rescuer at Operation Kindness:
 
Please say a prayer for all the other “Marys”—dogs and cats—out there who are alone and struggling to survive.
 
 

Mary, did you know

that you’re safe at last from

hunger, cold and strangers?

Mary, did you know

that your baby pups

will not be born in danger?

Did you know

that the ones who came

are friends who care for you?

They want your babies safe and sound,

and want the same for you.

Mary, did you know

that your days alone

are now just in the past?

Mary, did you know

that your baby pups

will have good homes at last?

Did you know

that tenderness

has finally come to you,

A life with shelter, food and love

that’s long past overdue.

Your babes are safe,

Your worries gone.

Your life is one that’s new.

So fear no more

And trust the ones

Who want the best for you.

Mary, did you know

that you can rest your head

and not be filled with fear?

Mary, did you know

that you’re safe from harm,

and those who care are near?

Did you know

that your baby pups will never have to roam?

They’ll have good homes to love them

since you are not alone.


A Dumped Dog's Prayer



Don't close the door! Don't push me away.

Why are you leaving? Don't make me stay.

Slow down the car, I can't keep up.

This pavement is hot and my pads are cut.

I've got to quit running or my heart will pop.

Every muscle is aching.
Why don't you stop?
I'm so hungry and thirsty. Darkness is near.

But I shouldn't leave, he will come for me here.

Several weeks have passed, I am dead on my feet.

They call me a nuisance because I eat off the streets.

Every car that passes, I chase it to see
If it's my master coming for me.

Though I approach those that come near
With trust in my eyes and no sign of fear.

With hate in their voices and a cold, heartless stare,
They threaten to kill me - they don't even care.

Batter my body with rocks that they throw,
I will not leave, he will come, don't you know?
Overtaken with weakness, my body is numb.

I'm sick and so lonely.
Oh please, let him come!
I will go back where he first threw me out.

I'll wait for him there, he will come, no doubt.

My thoughts are fading. My chest feels like lead.

I'm sleepy, so sleepy - I can't lift my head.

It's so quiet, so peaceful -- all remains still.

There is my master at my home on the hill.

Yes, I can see him, he's calling my name.

His voice is so gentle, his hands are the same.

He decided he wants me. Things will be fine.

I really do love him, that master of mine.

My tail wags with pleasure. I can't catch my breath.

He came in my dreams, but so did my DEATH!!

My foster dog stinks to high heaven.

I don't know for sure what breed he is. His eyes are blank and hard. He won't let me pet him and growls when I reach for him. He has ragged scars and crusty sores on his skin. His nails are long and his teeth which he showed me are stained. I sigh. I drove two hours for this. I carefully maneuver him so I can stuff him in the crate. Then I heft the crate and put it in the car. I am going home with my new foster dog.

At home I leave him in the crate till all the other dogs are in the yard. I get him out of the crate and ask him if he wants "outside." As I lead him to the door he hikes his leg on the wall and shows me his stained teeth again. When we come in he goes to the crate because that's the only safe place he sees. I offer him food but he won't eat it if I look at him, so I turn my back. When I come back the food is gone. I ask again about outside. When we come back I pat him before I let him in the crate, he jerks away and runs into the crate to show me his teeth.

The next day I decide I can't stand the stink any longer. I lead him into the bath with cheese in my hand. His fear of me is not quite overcome by his wish for the cheese. And well he should fear me, for I will give him a bath. After an attempt or two to bail out he is defeated and stands there. I have bathed four-legged bath-squirters for more dog years than he has been alive. His only defense was a show of his stained teeth that did not hold up to a face full of water. As I wash him it is almost as if I wash not only the stink and dirt away but also some of his hardness. His eyes look full of sadness now. And he looks completely pitiful as only a soap-covered dog can. I tell him that he will feel better clean. After the soap, the towels are not too bad so he lets me rub him dry. I take him outside. He runs for joy. The joy of not being in the tub and the joy of being clean. I, the bath giver, am allowed to share the joy. He comes to me and lets me pet him.

One week later I have a vet bill. His skin is healing. He likes for me to pet him. I think I know what color he will be when his hair grows in. I have found out he is terrified of other dogs. So I carefully introduce him to my mildest four-legged brat. It doesn't go well.

Two weeks later a new vet bill for an infection that was missed on the first visit. He plays with the other dogs.

Three weeks later he asks to be petted. He chewed up part of the rug.

Eight weeks later his coat shines, he has gained weight. He shows his clean teeth when his tongue lolls out after he plays chase in the yard with the gang. His eyes are soft and filled with life. He loves hugs and likes to show off his tricks, if you have the cheese.

Someone called today and asked about him, they saw the picture I took the first week. They asked about his personality, his history, his breed. They asked if he was pretty. I asked them lots of questions. I checked up on them. I prayed. I said yes. When they saw him the first time they said he was the most beautiful dog they had ever seen.

Six months later I got a call from his new family. He is wonderful, smart, well-behaved and very loving. How could someone not want him?

I told them I didn't know. He is beautiful.
They all are.
by Martha O'Connor

 


 I am an Animal Rescuer

My job is to assist God's creatures.
I was born with the need to fulfill their needs.
I take in new family members without plan, thought or selection.
I have bought dog food with my last dime.
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand.
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid.
I have fallen in love a thousand times
and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body.
I have Animal Friends and friends who have animal friends.
I don't often use the word "pet."
I notice those lost at the road side
and my heart aches.
I will hand raise a field mouse
and make friends with a vulture.
I know of no creature unworthy of my time.
I want to live forever if there aren't animals in Heaven,
but I believe there are.
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind?
We may be master of the animals,
but the animals have mastered themselves--
something people still haven't learned.
War and Abuse makes me hurt for the world,
but a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind
We are a quiet but determined army,
and making a difference every day
There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan,
nothing more rewarding than saving a life;
No higher recognition than watching them thrive.
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who only days ago, was too weak to eat.
I am an Animal Rescuer
My work is never done,
My home is never quiet.
My wallet is always empty,
but my heart is always full
In the game of life, we have already won
~ Written from the heart by: Annette King-Tucker
Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue
Claremore, Ok