(From Sam’s Story at WordPress, April 3, 2013)
When I found Sam in that little pet shop in south St. Louis in spring 1990, I knew grey-cheeked parakeets were native to Ecuador and Peru, but I assumed Sam had been born–hatched–right here in the US. I thought he’d probably come from a breeder. I didn’t know the truth until the week before he died.
When I brought him home, I noticed a small metal band on his leg. The pet shop had given me a certificate for a veterinary exam to verify that he was in good health, so when I took him to the vet, I asked that the band be removed. I thought he would be more comfortable without it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to remove it without the risk of breaking his leg, so I let it go.
Sam wore the band for the rest of his life.
When Collin and I took him to the avian specialist, Dr. Kersting, the week before he died, he told me what the band was for. It was a quarantine band. Sam had not been hatched in the US. He had been quarantined in southern California when he was brought into this country from South America.
I thought about it. When he saw me in the pet shop, he seemed to know me. I felt the same way. Yet he had come thousands of miles to be in that pet shop on that day. I’d been there to buy a bird for my dad–a bird that had already been sold.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. Nothing happens by chance. That tiny bird who became such an important part of my life and Collin’s for almost twenty-one years had made a journey many young birds don’t survive. Had I found him, or had he found me? I think about that moment when I first saw him. He seemed to be waiting for me, as if God had sent him….
*Also check out my partner in crime William’s review of Gravely Inanimated at his blog, Speak of the Devil (no, it’s not a Kristen Stewart bio)!