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PETRIE | I Am Dee Wallace

My daughter, Gabrielle, was treating me to a late Mother’s Day Celebration. It had been on hold for weeks, and we were both looking forward to a quality day together: facials, dinner, and seeing the new rendition of The Jungle Book. We had watched the original hundreds of times when she was little, and played it out in our living room and backyard regularly.

We went by home after our facial experience, and on the way to the front door I stopped cold. There, helpless and chirping weakly, was a fledgling baby bird, obviously too courageous for its own good. I looked at Gabrielle, and she looked at me. Suddenly we were catapulted back twenty years when we had rescued another baby bird, and squirrel, and several dogs, a cat and a mouse. It was a lesson that was important to me to teach: we are all connected and responsible for every living thing, and that always comes back in miraculous ways.

I held her gaze for a moment, she smiled, and said, “Okay Mom. I’ll go google bird rescue facilities.” In a matter of minutes, we were on our way to a place a half hour from my home with Petrie. Gabrielle decided on that name because the little dinosaur from The Land Before Time was “small and mighty.” We hoped he would live up to the title. The rescue would be closed, but took injured animals twenty four hours a day.

When we got there, we were greeted by a nice young woman who took Petrie into her hands to examine. “Oh,” she said in a somewhat disappointed tone, “He’s injured, and he’s a finch.” “So?,” I inquired.  “Finches aren’t native to California, so none of the wildlife rescues will take him.” Wow, I thought, birdie bigotry. I didn’t know what to say. I kept insisting that something could be done. After much handling back and forth and determination on our part, one of the other workers suggested they call “The Bird Lady.”

The Bird Lady was a woman that, somehow, had taken on the job/opportunity/destiny of rescuing birds. The call was made. Yes, she would take Petrie if we could bring him over right then. Into the car and off we went with Petrie to West Hills. Outside were all kinds of cages and feeders. Obviously, the right place. We knocked on The Bird Lady’s door.

A high energy woman with the brightest light I ever saw opened the door to welcome us. I explained how we had found the little guy. She took our prize from us, and walked us over to a cage holding two finches and two sparrows. Tiny, itty bitty little babies. “He’ll be fine,” she said, “He’ll become one with this family just like he was raised with them.” She tapped on his little beak and he opened it for the dropper of food she offered. Obviously, God had worked in mysterious ways.

As we returned to our car, Gabrielle looked up at me. “The movie already started, mom, we’ll never make it.” I smiled back. Somehow, this was such a more-than-perfect Mother’s Day Celebration: sharing an adventure that she so fully embraced with graciousness and passion. I had taught, and she had owned, the lesson of unconditional love. And in this moment, we got to share it all over again.

I am happy to say that Petrie is thriving with his new family, as Gabrielle and I are thriving together. Never walk by someone, or something, in need. It is your opportunity.

Blessings, Dee

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