Photo Credit: The Gabriel Foundation
There can never be enough stories with happy endings, and this story of a homeless singer developing a special bond with a rescue parrot that helps her find her “wings,” is no exception.
Wende Harston is reminded of her string of bad luck every time she walks out the front door of the Gabriel Foundation without her best friend Sam. She told Denver’s 9News, “It kills me. It absolutely kills me,” as she put the African Parrot back in a cage.
The lead singer of Denver’s well-known Queen City Jazz Band who’s been compared to legends like Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith, spent most of the first half of 2015 without a home. She lived in an immobile RV in a warehouse district illegally plugged into a business’s power in order to use just a few electronics inside.
“Things just got bad quicker than I anticipated,” she said.
Her parrot, Samula, couldn’t stay in the RV with her due to a lack of space, so she had to turn it over to the Gabriel Foundation, one of the largest parrot rescues in the world. While it was extremely difficult, she kept her spirits up with weekly visits to Samula, and a guitar and a song.
While Harston began coming weekly to sing to Samula, the other birds responded well to the special concerts, too.
The foundation wrote on its GoFundMe campaign they started for the singer, “They LOVE her! Her music, her quiet and kind manner, and her positive energy bring joy to our birds and organization every time she visits.”
The group started the campaign shortly after Harston found a more stable home earlier this month, wanting to repay her for the joy she’s brought the foundation and all the creatures that call it home.
“We personally had a chance to see the effect she had on our birds during a recent visit,” the group wrote. “We know that it will still be a struggle for her as she continues to get back on her feet and we would love to find a way to help [her and Samula] stay together.”
Just this weekend, the Gabriel Foundation wrote on its Facebook page that Harston and her beloved pet parrot will be moving to their new home as a pair, though the people at the Gabriel Foundation hope they’ll find themselves treated to another impromptu concert from Wende soon.