Wende and Sami’s Story
We met Wende years ago, when she adopted Sami (Samula) the Double Yellow-headed Amazon parrot from us. She has a smile that lights up her face and to witness the relationship she has with Sami is truly something special. This story we have to share with you is one that has resonated and touched many hearts this year, and we were honored to be a part of it.
Wende is the lead vocalist of Denver’s long-time Queen City Jazz Band and has been in a number of films and theater productions. Her voice has been compared to past jazz greats such as Billie Holliday and she has a heart of gold.
Last year, through a series of unexpected life events and bad luck, Wende fell on hard times and became homeless. She came to us and asked for help in caring for Sami until she could get back on her feet and bring her home. While Wende was unable to pay for Sami’s care financially, she did repay us in other ways… when she came to visit Sami, she would also sing and perform for the hundreds of rescued birds at The Gabriel Foundation. Those of you who know and love parrots will understand what a gift this was – they love music!
During one of Wende’s visits to The Birdbrain (our Denver location), we personally had a chance to see just how much the birds loved her… especially Sami. We took a quick video (watch below), posted it on Facebook and almost right away it started to go viral. Once you watch it, you’ll understand why.
Soon afterward, this story began to take on a life of its own. We were contacted by a Denver television news station who had learned of Wende and Sami’s story, and wanted to do a story of their own! We were beyond excited and hopeful that it would lead to the break that Wende so badly needed. They filmed and interviewed Wende (and a few of us!) with the birds and the story aired in mid-July: Homeless jazz musician finds solace singing with parrot. The next thing you know, some national news media channels had picked up and published the story:
- Huffington Post: Special Friendship With Rescue Parrot Helps Homeless Jazz Singer Find Her Wings
- USA Today: Homeless jazz singer and parrot develop unbreakable bond
Not only that, but a grassroots campaign began to raise funds for Wende and Sami, in hopes of giving them a chance to be back home together. The Gabriel Foundation put together a GoFundMe page for them (raising nearly $4000!) and donated a cage and food for Sami. The very happy news we have to share is that at the end of all this, they are now home together again.
Moral of the story: never doubt that you can make a difference. Whether by donating, volunteering, or even just sharing a feel-good story by word of mouth, you can help us to continue to help people like Wende and their birds who are often left homeless too.