Bright Eyes Dove Release
1621 NE 139th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98684
Bright Eyes Dove Release is located in East Vancouver, and is owned and operated by Michael and Jadia Ward. The business was established in July 2011, due to a somewhat serendipitous chain of events. Jadia (Jade) and Michael (Mike) met in June 1986, and after a whirlwind romance were married in a civil ceremony on August 1 of the same year. No hesitation here. There not being time to arrange a ceremonial function in the short time period available, it was intended that the “show” ceremony would be held on New Year’s Eve, 1986/1987 – what better way to ensure that there would always be a party and celebration on your Anniversary? Unfortunately, Mike lost an eye, Jadia wound up with unplanned surgery, and the white wedding celebration never materialized – it was postponed for a year, and as often happens, life intervened, and the postponements kept occurring.
Fast forward to 2009, Jadia’s father, Edward Cady Gordon succumbed to cancer, and passed through this life’s door on a remembered date of 9/11. Early the next morning, we were both surprised to find a white dove waiting outside at the kitchen door. We had never before even seen a white dove. The dove seemed quite content with its’ surroundings, and was in no hurry to leave. Jade fed and watered it with supplies at hand, but it still did not leave, and was still there waiting for her, upon her return from making funeral arrangements. Jade’s father had played guitar and sang through his life, and had passed along the love of music (and some ability) to Jade. Every holiday had included a music session, and during his last hospital confinement, he had frequently requested that Jade play his favorites for him. Thus, it was by no means out of character that Jade would take her guitar, and sing to the dove. The dove in turn approached quite closely, listened attentively to four songs, hopped over cooed at us both individually, then flew up and away into the early evening sunset. 2010, and the economy crashed. After 20 years of service, and as General Manager of a local custom boat building facility, Mike joined the increasing ranks of the unemployed.
2011, and Jadia and Michaels’ 25th Anniversary was approaching. Even though Mike was still out of work, the decision was made to have the white wedding that had yet to occur. Missing from the celebration would be Jade’s father, Ed, Mike’s mother, Sheila, who passed the year before, and Jadia’s sister, Joy, who passed in January of 2011. Remembering the dove in the back yard, Jade had thought to include a dove release in the upcoming ceremony. We were both surprised to learn that no company in the Portland and Vancouver areas offered this service, and looked further a field. A company was located in Des Moines, WA, White Dove Release, owned and operated by Michael McAndrews. A call to him confirmed that we were out of his service area, however he mentioned that he did have inquiries from the Portland Area.
So, a quick assessment: Michael, introverted: mechanically orientated; business knowledgeable; numbers driven; capable of building almost anything (with previous experience obtained from building custom yachts; building our home, shop, and other buildings, doing ALL of the work with our own hands); focused. Jadia, extroverted: creatively orientated; artist/graphic artist/photographer/marketer, extensive animal knowledge and love (Pre-Vet medicine in college & technician for large, small and exotic animal practice) and communicator with extensive social networking ability. As a couple, combining their complimentary skills, this seemed a good match for tackling an open niche business opportunity. In spite of requiring extensive initial and ongoing time investment, the decision was to take the financial risk and make the leap of faith, onto many pairs of white wings. Our mission is to bring a sense of promise and hope to others, lifting their hearts, and providing emotional impact for all that gather to celebrate the phases of life’s journeys.
The first loft was built in July/August 2011, and the first 30 birds (purchased from Michael McAndrews) arrived around the middle of the month. The long awaited white-wedding ceremony was held in the back yard to keep costs in check. The 120 guests were treated to our first “Dove Release” on September 11, 2011, chosen for that very day Jade’s father passed away two years earlier, in hopes that his spirit would rejoin us for the long awaited celebration. We were also hoping that the doves would be able to fly the 80 feet back to their loft with no hitch. To our delight and wonder, the initial doves released to honor our beloved Mum Shiela and Grandmother Beatrice, few up and circled, then went over the roof to the loft. The next dove, honoring Ed, flew up and circled three times and then landed on the podium next to Jade’s feet. The “Ed dove” lingered there for a minute while Jade explained to the attuned guests that her father loved life and a good party and he had always looked forward to the day that he would give her away”. Then her father’s dove lifted off and landed on the roof in a prime viewing spot of the garden. Jade shared that her father never left a good party too early, and the guest roared with laughter as they witnessed the dove not leaving the event yet. The “Joy” dove flew up and then joined her father on the roof to also stay with the celebration. At the end of the ceremony, our grandson Gaige helped us release 21 additional doves to celebrate our 25 years of marriage. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was the announcement of the launching of “Bright Eyes Dove Release”, with the hope of bringing others the wonderment and sheer joy of participating in a dove release.
As life after the ceremony settled down a little, further bird purchases were made from California, North Carolina, Centralia, WA and Pennsylvania. A crash course ensued on dove keeping and training. It was, of course, not quite as easy as it had seemed on the front end, but once committed ... did we mention that we are also the tenacious-types and believed in perseverance?
The need for more birds was immediately apparent, if this was to be a “real” business, thus, another loft was put on the home designing board (kitchen table) and then constructed for the upcoming home-grown population increase. Hence, a breeding program was started, necessitating the construction of breeding cages, release cages, display cages, training baskets, decorations and stands, website, contracts, logos, brochures, cards – all of this took some time. The birds, of course, needed care each day in spite of ongoing projects, continued training taking big slices of time, and the loft also needing daily maintenance from the bird-goddess of feathers and dove pooh.
Throughout 2012, we expanded our flock to our desired level, which has turned out to be about double our initial projection. We have gained substantial experience in bird husbandry, release operations, presentation and marketing. We are now expanding our marketing efforts, and look forward to a full year of operation for 2013.
Jadia truly believes that love goes beyond life’s boundaries, and that her father’s spirit was guided to our back door to help us through trials and tribulations. His spirit lifted us up to take flight, journeying through untraveled airways to unknown places, bringing the white-feathered wings of doves with promised “love and hope”. Michael believes that when he holds the doves in his hands, there is something much more powerful than what meets the eye. . . and thinks Jadia might be quite right about the infinite power of love.
The next time you are outside and see a bird, take a leap of faith, and make a wish to lift a heart (or hearts) on a pair of white-feathered wings. Emotions can define an extraordinary life, differentiating it from the ordinary – the emotional impact of a white dove release is infinite and leaves an indelible memory for posterity.