BOISE, Idaho — In March 2021, KTVB introduced Sweet Pea, an Idaho parrot that went viral after befriending her puppy sibling.
Earlier this week, the cockatoo parrot got sick and almost didn't survive, according to Sweet Pea's owner Wendy Albright. The social media sensation fortunately recovered, thanks to her followers on Instagram.
Albright - also known as 'The Parrot Lady' - said when birds start exhibiting symptoms of an illness, it's generally too late, because they tend to hide symptoms.
"So, I found her on her side and definitely panicked," Albright said. "These are prey animals, so in the wild - if they exhibit any symptoms - they're asking to be eaten, basically."
At the time Sweet Pea was sick, Albright said the few avian vets in Boise were closed. The Parrot Lady made a plea for help on Instagram, begging anyone who was an avian vet or anyone with knowledge on birds to help.
Albright's plea worked and the parrot's Instagram following jumped in.
The post was shared by hundreds of people, including celebrities like actress Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor.
"[Paulson] was able to put me in touch with a vet at the University of Washington, I believe in Seattle," Albright said. "Basically, I had people FaceTiming me, people from India, that were avian specialists. "I think without that, she wouldn't have survived. I think the biggest thing is I had hundreds, probably thousands of messages and comments, asking how she was and I didn't realize how much she had impacted peoples' lives."
Albright said she originally thought it was the bird flu, but turned out to be a gastrointestinal and respiratory infection. It is still unknown how Sweet Pea got sick.
Fast forward to Saturday and the Gem State parrot is fine and filled with love.
Sweet Pea's owner said she is grateful to everyone who reached out and helped. Albright said the experience restored her belief in humanity.
"I was just brokenhearted, because I didn't think she was going to make it," Albright said. "So, it gave me so much hope and it just made us feel so loved."
Sweet Pea helps brighten people's day online, as you can see here.
The Idaho parrot also puts smiles on the faces of families in the hospital who have children with cancer. Albright said the families will FaceTime her, just to see Sweet Pea.
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