(WSVN) - Warning: adorable pictures of a tiny lovebird posing in gorgeous knit sweaters may cause some readers to feel an overwhelming sense of warmth or experience eye soreness from staring at the pictures for a prolonged period of time. Viewer discretion is advised.
When a lovebird named Rhea was given away after she lost all of her feathers, her new owner did what anyone else would — turned her into an internet sensation.
According to FOX 26, Rhea was diagnosed with a rare disease called Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, a disease which attacks the feather follicles of birds and causes feathers to fall off.
Unfortunately for Rhea, this means her feathers will never grow back. This prognosis is dim, since birds depend on their feathers for warmth.
But her adopted mother Isabella Eisenmann turned her new pet’s setback into an opportunity to create not only a viral sensation, but a social statement.
Eisenmann began posting pictures and videos of Rhea on Instagram and Facebook accounts called “Rhea the Naked Birdie,” all in order to spread awareness about diseases, appearances, acceptance, adoption and disabilities.
According to Eisenmann, her goal was “to reach out to those who feel that they don’t belong, for them to know that different is beautiful.”
And it turns out Rhea’s story truly resonates with people, because Rhea the Naked Birdie now has over 278,000 followers on the ‘gram from users all over the world.
Fans are so dedicated to Rhea’s story, that they started donating hand-knit sweaters, costumes and more, all custom-made for the little lovebird.
Work it, Rhea! ❤
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