Jeff Guidry's little "Freedom" arrived at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, in Arlington, Washington, as a baby in 1998, with two broken wings and the inability to stand. Her left wing, which couldn't open all the way after surgery, had been broken in four places. Freedom became a resident eagle at the center and has been a valuable part of its education program.
Here's a brief account of Freedom and Jeff Guidry's shared encounter.
Emaciated and covered with lice, Freedom was cared for by Jeff Guidry who'd become her volunteer handler. He made the decision to give her a chance at life, taking her to the vet's office. From then on, he attended to her needs, tube-feeding her for weeks. She spent a lot of time in a huge dog carrier with its top removed; it was loaded with shredded newspaper to lay on. Jeff talked to her, urging her to fight, to live.
This went on for four to six weeks. Sadly, she still couldn't stand. It got to the point that the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in one more week. When Jeff arrived a week later, the clerk led Jeff to Freedom's cage. She was standing, on her own; what a big beautiful eagle! She definitely wanted to live.
Back at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, knowing that she could never fly, the director asked Jeff to glove-train Freedom. Together, the two conducted educational programs for schools in western Washington. One day at the center, Jeff took the big girl out for a walk (shown left) to the top of the hill.
Freedom is a very special bird. Although Jeff left Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a new handler is working exclusively with Freedom who continues to be a very valuable part of Sarvey's educational program. If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, send it safely through the center's secure Donate page.
The Sarvey rehabilitation facility is home to many permanent resident birds of prey. Freedom is one of those birds and she remains in its care today (as of July 2016). While any story of survival is heartwarming and encouraging, Freedom's story is not unique. Over the past three decades, tens of thousands of animals have found their way to the Sarvey Center; each of God's creations has its own story. The center's goal/mission is for a successful rehabilitation of every one of its creatures, allowing each a successful release to the wild.
Click the photos on each side of the video to enlarge them. The left image provides an encouraging "eagle bookmark" that's free to download and print for personal use.