My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship
By Jeff Guidry
An email that went viral brought the story of Guidry and Freedom into my life. Guidry volunteered at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Washington state and felt an instant connection to a new patient, an emaciated baby eagle with broken wings. With unconditional and unstinting love, he helped her fight for her life. Although she would never fly, she miraculously recovered.
Over the next two years, the relationship of man and eagle deepened. When Guidry was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2000, Freedom gave back the gift of love and life.
Not only was Guidry restored between grueling chemo session by spending time with the eagle, she visited him in his dreams and meditations to do battle with the cancer. In the book he often says he would die for Freedom. During his 8-month ordeal, he learned that it was more important to live for her.
The famous email inspired countless responses: from others who had had or still had cancer, from those who had their own animal miracles to share, and from animal lovers around the world.
Though Freedom is the star of this tender and touching story, other memorable animals are part of it: Sasha, a cougar, bears, raccoons, and Guidry’s special friend, Mr. Timms, the squirrel, who lived with him for 8 years.
It is far too easy for humans to get stuck in their heads and to see themselves as separate from the rest of life. An Eagle Named Freedom reminds us how much we lose in that separation.
Entering into relationships with other animals is not an act of kindness or charity. It restores us. It reminds us that our value isn’t based on what we have but on who we are and how we love.
Thank you, Jeff Guidry and Freedom, for a story that teaches new ways of living and loving.