Before you read, please have a look at these three photo links. They are photos of Freedom and Jeff:
The Story of Freedom and Jeff
Freedom is a female American Bald Eagle that came to the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Arlington, Washington in 1998 as a baby. Jeff was working at the center when she arrived. She was unable to stand, with both wings broken, covered in lice, and emaciated.
Jeff took her to a vet in a converted dog carrier. She had surgery on one wing, that was broken in four places. She cannot extend that wing, and could not be released back into the wild. Jeff was always around her. He says:
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.
After more than a month of tube feedings, Freedom still could not stand, and the center made a decision to euthanize her if she could not stand in a week. Jeff did not want to go to work on the Thursday before they would euthanize her on Friday, but he went anyway. The center was all grins. Jeff went immediately to Freedom’s cage, and she was standing. She had decided to fight.
The center director asked Jeff to glove train Freedom and to get her used to the jesses used in falconry. They began to do educational sessions and appeared on TV and radio shows.
In the Spring of 2000, Jeff was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He went through eight months of chemo and lost his hair. During this time, he visited Sarvey, to take Freedom for walks. He says,