wpe49D.jpg (7152 bytes)wpe49D.jpg (7152 bytes)CREATURED
August 2000 Edition

This First Edition of Anecdotes
Is Dedicated to the Memory of
Ginny Goodrich
And the Wonderful Way She Knew Animals

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~Stash was a little mute swan youngster who was found as an orphan and brought to Wind Over Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. She was in a weakened condition, tired yet calm. Stash got her name, short for Pistachio, from her coloring; she was of the Polish or leucistic variety of mute swan. These cygnets have white plumage rather than the buff color, and pink feet and legs, rather than black.

During rehabilitation, Stash appeared to be getting stronger. She loved to swim in a kiddy pool and she was gentle with other cygnets. One day as fall was approaching, she started to fall asleep more frequently. It was the only observable indication that her condition was weakening.

wpe1A.jpg (33324 bytes)Her temperament remained sweet, and when an injured adult female swan was brought in, Stash was the first to wag her tail and welcome her, with cheerful murmurings, somehow indicating that the newcomer would be safe here.

She deteriorated rapidly; Stash died of aspergilosis, similar to pneumonia in humans. It was a quiet, cold night when I prepared to bury her body. Because she had a memorable kindness about her, I chose a special place near the log cabin that is our home. Digging a large hole in the light of a porch lantern, I paused a moment before filling Stash's grave. And a butterfly appeared from out of the cool darkness, to land on the fresh dirt.

Somehow, I felt relief; the butterfly's presence, telling me that Stash was fine, and not to be sad. In my work with injured wildlife, many such things have happened. My sense is that creatures come to help me through these difficult situations, so I can do more for them.

-Hope Douglas, Founder/Executive Director,
Wind Over Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

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