After a musician took an injured eagle under his wing, the bird returned the favor.
In 1996, professional guitarist and animal-lover Guidry began volunteering at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal rescue and rehab. For years, the author found immense satisfaction in the few hours each week spent cleaning, feeding and caring for injured “wild ones,” as he calls them—the animals ranged from a Patagonian cougar to flying squirrels, hawks, raccoons and black bears. In 1998, his engagement with Sarvey took a more serious turn when a young eagle was brought in. “The eagle looked up at me,” he writes, “and my old life was over, a new second life begun.” Covered with lice, the eagle had two broken wings and was so emaciated that she couldn't stand. Guidry and others tube-fed her for more than a month and were within days of having to euthanize her when Freedom, as the bird eventually came to be named, finally stood up. Because the extent of her wing injuries had rendered Freedom unable to fly and, consequently, be released into the wild, Guidry began the slow process of glove training her to help her adapt to a new life in captivity. When the author was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the bond between the two grew. Physically and psychologically ravaged by eight months of crippling chemotherapy, Guidry sought and found spiritual refuge in Freedom, with the bird figuratively comforting him in his dreams and literally embracing him with her wings on the day he learned he was in remission.
Though plainly told and often syrupy, this inspirational memoir of mutual courage and compassion is sure to have wide appeal.