A Journey of the Heart

(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)!

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20 responses

  1. You found each other! I believe that about animals as much as humans (maybe even more so in animals:), that they find their way to you. Glad you had one another's company for almost 21 years.

  2. I'd had another bird–also named Sam. I'd lost him ten years before. My parents had bought him at a shop across the street from that pet shop when I was sixteen. When I saw Sam that day in the pet shop, I felt as if he were waiting for me, as if he had come back to me.

  3. It's funny, isn't it, Gayle…how they worm their way into our hearts?

    Some people believe angels come to earth to look after us in the form of animals. I think it's possible. After close to 21 years with that little bundle of feathers, I'd think anything was possible.

  4. This reminds me of both my beloved and now departed dog, and how we came together, and about the budgie I bought my mum – a coincidence is when two things co-incide that's why I pronounce the word co-incide-ence

  5. I used to joke that he was hallucinating–but the truth was, Sam could see things that I couldn't. I believe he saw spirits, both good and bad, because I could tell which by his reactions to them. Sometimes his response was peaceful and happy, sometimes he was combative. But he definitely saw something.

  6. I'm sure of it Norma, I really do believe that pets find us, it's happened to me twice with two stray cats, and I've loved them both to bits. The ways of the universe can be strange and mysterious oui!

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