Skip to comments.Freedom the Eagle
Posted on 02/01/2012 7:33:26 AM PST by sunny48
Not many people get a picture of this proud bird snuggled up next to them!
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
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.
Hope you enjoyed this!
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 Cancer is a strange cell. You can go along for years in remission and then one day it pops its head up again. If you ever have it you will never be free of it. Pray for the day there will be a permanent cure.
Hope ya’ll enjoy this, and I have to run.
Thanks for posting.
It is a remarkable accomplishment to get such a wild creature to not just tolerate you but to show affection. Thank you for the post.
Thanks for sharing this.
Very moving story ... Beautiful.
eagles live long lives,...
... is there more to the story?
2008 was not that long ago and 1998 makes the eagle be about 14 years old ...
I apologize that I couln’t get back sooner, but that’s my life.
Freedom the eagle is 13 years old now and lives in an undisclosed location. He/she has it’s own facebook page and it isn’t set on private so you can check him out.
Jeff has written a book about his experience with Freedom, and while poking around looking for this I saw another touching story that was written in guidepost. I’ll to find that for you.
Here you go:
On July 25, 2005, the Sarvey ambulance picked up a young eagle that had fallen from its nest in Olympia. The bird was huge, big even for a female. She had multiple fractures of the humerus bone in her right wing. The fan had compressed the fractures so the wing couldn’t be pinned. We had to wrap it and keep it immobilized. The wing healed well enough so that she could fly; but not well enough to be released.
While she was inside healing upbefore she could go into a flightshe began to engage in an unusual behavior. She liked to play with anythinga towel, a bowl, even her food, whatever was lying around. One day a volunteer brought in a squeaky ball and rolled it to her. The eagle pounced on it. It squeaked. Her eyes lit up and she cocked her head. “What’s this?” her face said.
She grabbed it with her talon. One squeak was all it took. She started jumping up and down, making the ball squeak, squeak, squeak as she hopped all over the back room. She’d even spread her wings getting lift for the jumps.Those of us watching were doubled over laughing. There was that giant bird jumping up and down with a ball in its talon making squeaking sounds. She’d let it go. One of us would grab it and roll it away from her. She’d set off racing after the ball. Pounce. Squeak. Over and over.
Shortly after that, we named her Wanbli Askataeagle that plays. We moved her into the flight next to Freedom’s. Wanbli Ashta never vocalized until she started living next to Freedom. After she learned how to talk, she wouldn’t shut up for the longest time: Freedom had a hard time getting a chak in edgewise. Freedom still came to me in dreams. One morning, I woke and said to Lynda, “I had a dream that Freedom was standing on my head.” She laughed. “You and that bird!” Later that morning, I got a call at my job: “Freedom has hurt her wing and lost a lot of blood. She’s scared and needs you here.”
I raced out of work, shouting back over my shoulder, “I gotta gothe kid needs me.” Everyone at work knows who my “kid” is. Talk about your heart in your throat. I jumped in the truck and laid rubber. Kaye had received the same call and she was just as far away in the other direction. There we were, both hauling ass, doing well over eighty miles per hour to reach Freedom.
I got to Sarvey first in a cloud of dust and screeching tires. I climbed out and ran into the hospital. Freedom was in a large green cage with her hurt wing bandaged. The instant she saw me, her posture relaxed. I opened the door and held out my gloved arm. She stepped gingerly onto my arm. We stood there, beak to beak. “How are you?” I asked softly. She let me know she was fine. I stayed with her as we walked around the clinic for a while. I could feel both of us settle down. Sue, the clinic director, told me what had happened. A tiny bump on Freedom’s perch had worn down to a point, and Freedom had hit it just right with her crippled wing. The sharp piece of wood had hit a major vessel. A volunteer had spotted all the blood and called for help. They’d treated her right away.
couple of days after the accident, I was at Sarvey when Sue checked up on Freedom’s hurt wing. Freedom was healing well. Then it was my time to “rescue” her. I always “rescued” Freedom from the big bad people who were doing mean things to her at the end of an exam or coping (trimming talons or beak, which grow like fingernails without the natural wear of living wild). I would get her on the glove and ask her, “What have these people done to you?” and she would proceed to tell me all about it in great detail.
As I finished my part of our routine and before I could put her jesses on, Freedom stepped up to my shoulder, then to the top of my head. I couldn’t believe itthe dream had come true. I was in shock. The rest of the staff was thunderstruck; it was such unusual behaviorand they didn’t even know about the dream. Like the time she embraced me, it seemed to be a unique event. I reached up with my tight arm, Freedom stepped onto it, and I brought her back down. Then she gave me a look that I knew meant “I know what you dreamed because it was me.” It was an ordinary miracle, not like saving my life, but no miracle is really ordinary. It reminded me that Freedom’s extraordinary gifts are more than I can really understandthough they always have my awe and love.
Thank You, for this story.
Face Book posting is a mystery to me. I’m totally out of my understanding of how it works. I appreciate the site and the response.
Thank you, very much! I’ll remember FREEDOM!
God bless you and keep you.