Notes from a Reykjavik Sidewalk: A Father’s Love.

27/02/11 12:29 PM

When traveling, I tend to wander places where the average visitor tends not to wander.

Having an affinity for fine- feather-friends and animals that cuddle in your lap (then often leave you an unexpected gift. Oops), I landed up in a pet shop in Reykjavik, Iceland.

I admired the birds. I looked at the rabbits with longing. How I wanted all of them to find a home filled with love and laughter.

I noticed a man in the pet shop. He looked slightly sad and distressed. I said hello, then wandered around the store looking at pet supplies, trying to read Icelandic. With my very, very, very limited Icelandic, I overheard he was looking for a specific pet.

Why not strike up a conversation?  Pets are often a universal gateway to conversation; pets and grandchildren.  We briefly chatted.

Then I stepped outside the store. Snow was fallling. He followed. He turned to me once more and asked about my knowledge of hamsters. His English was impeccable. This is true of many Icelantic citizens. I told him hamsters are quite lovable. One keeps them in a cage–or they will land up in your heating ducts or forever lost in your basement. I informed him hamsters enjoy endlessly running around on a stainless steel wheel placed in their cage. Hamsters delight in exercising. Exercising is #931 on my list of “delights.”

I should be a hamster. I could use a good workout.

 I mentioned hamsters like to burrow in sawdust. Who does not like to feel comforted in all things soft?

The next sentence from him broke my heart. He said the family pet died last night. This is where I witnessed pathos and sorrow sweep across his rugged face. He said the shop could not help him. He walked away pet-less.

I suggested there may be other pet stores in Reykjavik, yet Iceland is a country of far less than a million citizens. Chances seemed slim.

I am now back in the USA. I thought of this man today, living thousands of miles away in Reykjavik, Iceland. I hope he found a new pet to bring happiness and joy to his family.  

 A father’s love. To go out into the snow and cold, the day after the death of a pet,  to bring life back into a household.  

Brendan Ben Feeney

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