Back From the Brink — Colby’s Story

"Colby" the Double Yellow-Headed Amazon parrot"Hi, Colby bird!" It’s truly miraculous, she’s back from the brink. "Thank you" just isn’t enough to express how grateful we are for everyone’s help . You did it, you pulled our brave little 16-year old double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, named "Colby," through a harrowing medical crisis — one which repeatedly tried to take her life over the past three weeks.

We will be forever indebted to all of you. We owe Colby’s life to our two amazing avian veterinarians — Dr. Anna Osofsky and her medical team at West Carrollton Pet Hospital, who saw Colby through the first critical 48-hours, and to Dr. Hugh Hayes and his amazing team of technicians at Summertree Animal Clinic, Dallas, who painstakingly nursed Colby through three weeks of intensive care. Our love and thanks to all the family, friends, and facebook fans who prayed and sent those powerful positive, healing energies to her every day. Hugs and kisses to our St. Thomas Aquinas Zoo School students, who added Colby to their nightly bedtime prayers. Without your medical expertise, without your unwavering love and your heartfelt pleas, this little feathered teacher wouldn’t still be with us.

What happened? One tiny cut. One microscopic bacterium. That’s all it took to take a robust, high energy, applause-motivated parrot to the brink of death. One Sunday, three weeks ago, Colby looked a little fluffed-up, so we gave her the day off. "Rest, little one." The next morning at 6 am, she was unresponsive and mouth breathing. At 7 am, we were at the avian veternarian for emergency care. At 9 am, we were told she had little chance of surviving. Twice more in three weeks, we got that same phone call. "We wouldn’t be doing our duty if we didn’t tell you that Colby is critically ill, she may not make it. You should come visit." Septicemia. Nasty, blood-borne bacteria that used to be called "blood poisoning." One cut, one bacterium, that’s all it took to devistate this outwardly hearty, but secretly delicate, creature. It took nearly super-human medical intervention to keep her going — three strong antibiotics, anti-inflamatories, narcotics, detoxifiers, tube feeding, subcutaneous fluid therapy, probiotics — all administered with care, two to three times a day, for three long, arduous weeks. There she laid, on the floor of an incubator, looking helpless. You can read the progress reports on Zooniversity’s facebook page, but you’ll have to read between the lines to sense the real angst that Zooniversity’s educators and keepers felt each day. Our hearts were breaking as we dealt with the roller-coaster daily reports. A final plea was posted for prayers and healing on a particularly bad day during the second week. By that same evening, Colby had rallied, she fought back. You can’t tell us that prayer and positive energy doesn’t work! It’s been an exhausting lesson, but one that every wildlife person has to learn — every life is fragile, every life can end when you least expect it, every life is precious and worth saving, no matter what it takes.

Colby still needs more time to fully recuperate, so it’ll be a while before she can travel, show off, and bask in applause again — but she’s still here! Colby obviously has many more students to teach and many more people to inspire — she has a reason to be here. "Good bird, Colby." And, please keep those well wishes coming her way, as we’ve learned you never know when they’ll be needed. With our sincere gratitude — thank you, everyone.


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