Sometimes the most wonderful things happen right in your own home when you absolutely least expect it.
About ten days ago I came home in the evening, after the funeral of my dear friend, Mr. Vincent d’Aguilar, it had been a sad event and I was perhaps not quite as vigilant and observant as I usually am.
I went into my study, heard my little birds singing and talking busily to each other in their big Victorian wooden cage, but I didn’t spend too much time thinking about them.
It was getting late, so I sat down in the sitting room to watch a movie on TV. all four dogs, Spats, Abigail, Chief and Buddy were at my feet in various states of sleep. All of a sudden Chief jumps up and asks to go out for a walk, I opened the door to the pool and out he went, in a few moments he was back. He lay down again, but was apparently unable to settle. Up again asking to go out, once again out around the pool, and in a matter of moments he was back in the sitting room. He would sit staring at me, whining, getting up and going in to the hall back again, bark, whine.
Finally I could not take it any longer; the movie was impossible to watch with this hyper puppy that would not leave me in peace. “Oh, okay, Chief” I told him “You win”, I went over to the front door where Chief was standing, whining, with his ears cocked forward and his tail wagging in triumph, that he had finally got me to do his bidding.
I opened the front door and Chief took a couple of steps out and then turned around with a smile on his face (I promise you he was smiling), “Come one Chief”, I said to him, “Go into the garden and do what you want to do!” While I was looking at my ridiculously happy potcake, something whizzed over my head and into the house. “%#@%&#@” said I, as I ducked, “a bird has just flown into the house !!!!!!” (Lots of exclamation marks needed here; because I was surprised and dreading the hunt of catching it without it getting hurt and putting it back outside again).
My husband and I searched high and low, no bird, until Chief walked over to the corner in the hall near the kitchen, there on the floor was a very small, very blue little Budgie!
“Darling, you get the bird, I’ll get a small cage”. I always keep cages of all size in the garage in case a sick or young bird needs help. We slipped the little bird into the cage and gave him a quick once over. “Are you sure that this is not your bird” my husband asked me? Of course not, my bird is in his cage with the others.” “ Yea, right!” I took my “new” little blue friend down the hall and took a look into the large cage! Only two birds, but the cage door was closed! Upon careful examination, I saw that the bars had been separated somehow and my Blueberry Bird had indeed flown out, not only out of the cage but somehow, out of the house.
It was a blustery evening, showers passing through and gusts of quite strong winds. It is a miracle that Blueberry Bird did not blown off course and flown to another part of
. He could have ended up as dinner for one of the many cats who wander around our neighbourhood.
The moment that we opened the cage, Blueberry flew right up onto his swing where he often sits to survey my study and watch me on the computer or phone serenading me all the while. The other two birds immediately flew over to him and sat right close, snuggled up to him, chirping and “talking” quietly long into the night after the light was turned out and their cover was put on the cage. This excessively affectionate behaviour continued for several days until the normal behaviour of independence returned.
In honour of his return home Blueberry has been renamed “BOOMERANG”.
Now, here comes the million dollar question: Did Chief hear “Boomerang” at the front door trying to get back home to the safety and security of the warm house? Had they been able to communicate? Chief’s behaviour certainly was out of character that night, he has never behaved like that before nor has he ever behaved like that again. I believe that Chief did know that Boomerang was stranded outside and could hear him at the door and knew that it was his duty to get me to open the door and he did not rest until he had achieved his mission.
I asked my good friend, Veterinarian, Dr. Val Grant what he thought, and he told me that he never underestimates the power of dogs to hear and understand things. He also added that it is amazing how animals can communicate between each other. No, he did not think that I was nuts thinking that Chief had indeed helped his little blue friend.
Two footnotes to this story:
1) Last year I was driving along and I passed a pet shop. There was the small cage with one little blue Budgie in it on the side of the road, down on the ground, when ever cars went by, this little bird was getting covered in dust and the exhaust of the vehicles. I noticed the way the bird was all the way over on the side of the cage with his head pointing away from the noise, dust and exhaust of the scary cars going by… I was in a hurry (aren’t we all), I kept driving; I couldn’t forget that little bird. I got to
and made a U turn and went back a bought him, cage and all and brought him home. He had no tail feathers at all (a sign of stress) and couldn’t fly around the cage, just climbing up and done from perch to perch. Several months later, with splendid tail feathers, he took his first tentative flights. Now Boomerang is a splendid, healthy and happy little bird, who apparently wanted to come home.
2) Last week, I bought a lovely little grey budgie to complete the community of two boys and two girls. Her name is “Queen Anne” (don’t ask me why, it just sounded right when I looked at her!). After a few days of her residing in a separate cage next to the big one to make sure they got to know each other a bit before putting them in together, we opened her cage door near the big cage and after a little coaxing Queen Anne hopped into the large cage and appeared to fit right in. As I speak they are doing their usual evening fly around the cage, accompanied with chirps, and brief stops for food.
I wanted to share this story with you because I think it is one of the more beautiful and special things that has happened to me in the past few years. The miracle and mystery of animals and nature remain but every now and then the door is cracked open long enough for us to peek into their world and catch a glimpse of the wonder and magic of that very simple and beautiful realm they reside in. If only we allowed instinct to guide us more often we would perhaps live in a gentler place.
About the author:
Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two teenaged sons. Kim has 4 dogs, 5 fish (1 Beta, 4 Goldfish), 10 turtles (6 babies, 4 adolescents), 1 Asian box turtle and 4 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the board of the Bahamas Humane Society. Kim can be contacted at