Excerpt for Great Horned Owlets Rescue: Where There's a Will, There's a Way.... by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Great Horned

Owlets Rescue

Where There's a Will,

There's a Way....

CHERYL AGUIAR

Copyright 2016 Cheryl Aguiar.

Revised 2018

All Images Copyright 2016 Roadside Stills.

Published by Cheryl Aguiar

Smashwords Edition 2018

ISBN# 978-0-9983605-0-8

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INTRODUCTION

1 THE NEW FAMILY

2 THE RESCUE

3 THE NEW BEGINNING

4 WEEK ONE

5 WEEK TWO

6 THE TIME HAS COME

7 THE GIFT

8 AT DUSK

9 NATURE'S WAY

EPILOGUE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DEDICATION

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK to my husband, James D. Aguiar Jr., who has shown me the true meaning of unconditional love. He has taught me that before you can truly love someone or something else in life, you must first love yourself. He stands by my side, encouraging me to chase my dreams and giving me the confidence to make them reality. Without him, I would not be the person I am today. He helped me find myself and the inner strengths I didn't even know I had, but most of all, he has taught me, to be... me.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to Mark Wilson for all his guidance and advice. To the Jacob family, the Ramos family and the Greenhalgh family, thank you for your help as the babysitters. Thank you to my parents, Tom and Arline Greenhalgh, for their help and support keeping me updated while I was at work; being my eyes while I was away. A big thank you to Celeste Soares and Sayra Flynn for their help with the final proofing. To Lori Pelletier and Jennifer Kirby for their help with the early stage proofreading. Lastly, a very special thank you to my husband Jim for standing by me, helping me with anything we needed to do. I am grateful for the way he understands my love and passion for all things wild and the wonder of nature. Jim is my life partner and truly my very best friend. I could not have done this without him. I will cherish this forever.

INTRODUCTION

MY LOVE FOR ANIMALS started from the moment my parents brought home our very first pet and continued to grow with every stage of my life. I always felt a strong connection and created an even stronger bond with every animal that touched my life. As a child, my favorite animals included horses, wolves, deer and rabbits. I dreamt of running with wild horses and imagined exploring the woods with wolves. As I grew older, my fascination with animals became my passion. My first encounter with a wild animal came after my aunt's cat had stolen a tiny, pink, furless newborn creature from a nest in her woods. I brought it home and began feeding it kitten formula with an eye dropper. I fed it for weeks, not knowing what kind of animal it was until its tiny ears started to take shape and brown fur started to appear. It was the most adorable little rabbit I had ever seen. I kept him in a box beside my bed and continued caring for him as he grew. A strong bond was created between us; he trusted me. During the night, he would squeak, cry and continuously scratch at his box until I picked him up. I had to hold him in my hand until he fell asleep. He would then stay calm and quiet all-night long. I was amazed how I would wake in the morning to find him still in the palm of my hand, unharmed. I guess my instincts kept me from squeezing him too hard while I slept. I could tell he felt safe with me. He truly believed I was his mother. That was when I realized how truly amazing Mother Nature could be.

Throughout the years, my love for wildlife continued to grow, along with many attempts at saving anything from small birds to tiny frogs. Some were successful, and some were not, but I always tried to give them a fighting chance. One of my favorite little friends was a small tree frog from my backyard. One Sunday afternoon, my husband Jim, accidentally ran over him with the lawn mower while cutting the grass. Normally, before Jim cut the grass, I would walk around the yard and do a frog check while picking up the large sticks and branches. This time, I was running behind; still finishing errands in the house. After Jim realized he had hit the frog and saw it was still alive, he came to get me right away. He knew if there was still a slight chance to save him, I would give it my all. I quickly ran outside to see the frog. He had lost two of his feet, half of his upper lip and one of his eyes had been severely damaged. He was in bad shape and bleeding profusely. I brought him into the house, cleaned up his wounds, made a nice bed for him in a box and hoped for the best. I began feeding him small insects with a pair of tweezers. Within a couple of weeks, his mouth healed but remained distorted, leaving a portion of his upper lip missing. He now had a huge hole in his upper lip which would make it difficult for him to eat. His eye healed over but still looked cloudy and dull. The most amazing thing was... his two feet grew back! They were not perfect, but they worked. They just looked a little funny, poor guy. I named him Lucky and continued hand feeding him crickets daily. He seemed to love crickets the best. Lucky then moved from his small box to a medium sized fish tank that became his home. He made a full recovery and thoroughly enjoyed play time, exploring the rooms in my house. I would set up barricades to keep him safe, and to keep him from getting lost. I was amazed by this little creatures' will to live and enjoyed him for many years... yes years, Lucky lived for almost four years. Truly one of Mother Nature's miracles.

Another great encounter with wildlife came with the return of the wild turkey to our local woods. I was fascinated by this large, clumsy yet charming bird. The first flock of turkeys to come through our yard will stay in my memory forever. It was a flock of six, very large male turkeys which are referred to as toms. They started hanging around my front porch, eating bread crumbs I had thrown outside for the animals. When I noticed how much they loved the bread, I started cutting up small pieces and making baggies just for them. The bread was a welcomed treat for them, but only given in small amounts. I had read it was not good for them to eat too much of it, so I fed them mostly cracked corn, which they loved just as much.

From the very first time I went out to feed them, I noticed they were not afraid of me. I would open my front door when I saw them in the yard and they would coming running over as fast as they could. I laughed at the funny way they would run with their heads high in the air, full of excitement. I would sit on my front porch while each one of them would come take a piece of bread right from my hand. Soon, they started looking for me when I didn't come outside right away. They would walk up onto my porch, waiting at my door until I came out. Each one of them had their own personality. I named all of them and became very fond of them. They seemed to like me too. They thought of me as one of them, although I was certainly aware of the dangers of wild turkeys. These birds never showed aggression towards me at all. They even loved to show me their elaborate tail feathers by puffing up and strutting around in front of me. I would walk with them, talk with them and just thoroughly enjoyed watching them. They almost seemed to talk back to me with the different sounds they would make. I enjoyed them for many years until the flock started slowly dissipating. My friends were getting older. After a few years, I didn't see any of my friends from that flock anymore but continued making new friends with every new year. The new turkeys would take bread from my hand, but it was much harder to gain their trust. I never created the same bond with them as I had developed with my first six feathered friends. I will never forget them.

One of my biggest dreams came true a few years back when I had the opportunity to meet a full-blooded wolf face to face at a wolf program in a nearby city. My mother and I attended the program after my husband Jim surprised us by arranging tickets to be held at the door. We were unaware of what kind of event we were attending until we arrived. Jim, knowing how much I loved wolves, knew I would be so excited, but not even he knew we would get the chance to meet one. To look into the eyes of a real wolf was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was a feeling I could never explain in words. I instantly fell in love with this handsome one-hundred-and-fifty-pound black wolf named Zeab. He was truly a gentle giant. Along with Zeab were two other ambassador wolves, Magpie and Abraham. The three of them were so beautiful; I was so touched by this experience. I began to sponsor Zeab and planned a visit to see him in Colorado. Zeab lives at Mission: Wolf in Westcliffe, Colorado, a sanctuary for wolves and wolf-dogs born into captivity that cannot be released back into the wild. The founder, Kent Weber's mission was to teach people about wolves and that wolves belong in the wild, not as pets. I supported his mission and was eager to visit the sanctuary. My dream was fulfilled again when Jim and I, along with my parents, made the trek to Colorado and spent the day at the sanctuary with Kent, his family of wolves and the volunteers that help run the sanctuary. We all got to spend some time with the wolves, as Kent shared a one on one with my family and I, at the sanctuary. I was able to experience the surreal feeling of looking into Zeab's eyes one more time. Being accepted by a wolf is again, a feeling I cannot explain. It does something to your soul. I thank Kent for allowing us this opportunity and teaching people everywhere just how amazing wolves really are. They are not the man-eating monsters that people make them out to be. They are truly amazing animals who rarely attack humans at all. I will continue to sponsor Zeab, the Mission: Wolf staff, volunteers and all the wolves that have been given a new chance at life. I hope to continue visiting them for years to come.


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