A little tūī recovering at the Wildlife Hospital in Dunedin has won hearts all over the internet after a photo on Facebook showed her wearing tiny little custom-made Jandals to help with her disease.
The tūī arrived at the hospital on September 2, showing signs of neurological disease. She was wobbly, her feet were clenched and she was unable to fly.
A local rehabber took her into the Wildlife Hospital after she was found by a member of the public out on Taieri, near Mosgiel.
The custom-made Jandals were created to help her toes stick to a normal position and to prevent permanent constriction in her tendons, the Facebook post explains.
It is not known exactly what caused the native bird's neurological disease. In the Facebook post, the Wildlife Hospital explained there are "two top suspects": rhododendron toxicity and lead toxicity.
"Head trauma and infection can also cause neurological disease so we have to do a range of diagnostics to figure out which is more likely. At this stage we think possibly rhododendrons. Some varieties are unfortunately poisonous to nectar-eating birds."
"She currently has a comfy, towel-lined incubator as her enclosure. We keep her nice and warm in there to help her recovery," Jordana Whyte, manager of the Wildlife Hospital Trust told the Herald.
"Our vet team is super creative and often have to come up with solutions like these to help our patients," Whyte added.
The good news is that the little tūī has been responding very well to her treatment and one of her feet has already shown improvements.
"She's doing well, and there has been an improvement in one of her feet such that she is able to go jandal-less on that one," Whyte said on Friday.
"Her other one is still clenching a bit, so the vets are going to rebandage with a fresh jandal this afternoon and give it a bit more time.
"The vet team has been misting her a bit to get her to preen and she has started doing so. They have even noticed that sometimes her jandals have been a bit wet and her water dish has some nectar residue, so we think she has been hopping into the dish for a bath now and again.
"It's a great sign she's coming right as she's engaging in normal behaviours a bit more," Whyte said.
"We are really fond of this tūī and are all hoping she continues her positive trajectory."
It's not just the hospital team who have fallen head over heels for the tūī in jandals. On Facebook, messages of support have multiplied after the photo was first shared earlier in the week.
"Fingers crossed for the wee one," one person commented.
"Oh I really hope it is successful and she can lead a normal life, whatever the outcome at least you've given her a fighting chance so thank you for your good work," another Facebook user wrote.
"Oh man! Firstly thanks for caring for this gorgeous girl, and secondly I'm so, so proud and have some faith in humans restored today reading all these positive comments on showing love for this tūī and wanting to prevent this by researching what rhodos are no good. Well done people, pat on the back, hope you are all blessed with abundant tūīs on your gardens," someone else commented.