Wild at Heart Rescue of Mississippi wasn’t sure that GiGi, a great horned owl, would make it.
The poor thing had terrible head trauma, likely caused by being hit by a car, a serious concussion, the equivalent of what pneumonia would be in humans, and a real bad parasitic infestation.
“This bird was one of the most critical we have ever taken care of,” Wild at Heart Rescue’s founder and director Missy Dubuisson told The Dodo. “The fact that this bird has lived is beyond comprehension.”
Some might say that GiGi’s recovery came thanks to the rescue organization’s president Doug Pojeky, a.k.a. the birds of prey whisperer.
“In all my years of working with birds of prey, I have never seen someone with such a bond with these magnificent birds,” said Dubuisson, who also helped nurse GiGi back to health.
Dubuisson explains that Pojeky helped Gigi to perch again and hand-fed her until she was able to eat on her own.
There was something about Pojeky’s loving care that gave GiGi strength and made her feel comfortable around him.
“It’s just a trust,” Pojeky told TODAY. “Once I let my fear go and was able to trust the birds to show them that if they trust me, I can help them, it’s been great.”
Thankfully, GiGi was able to recover because of the meticulous care she received from the staff at Wild at Heart Rescue.
And GiGi was very grateful for this and expressed her gratitude physically to one person in particular.
According to The Dodo, Pojeky had been away on a trip visiting family in Michigan. GiGi was reportedly elated when he returned. She started bobbing her head up and down and did a little dance on his arm.
Then, the cutest thing ever happened.
She then climbed up his chest and nestled her head on his shoulder and wrapped her wing around him as if she was giving him a hug.
“I’ve never quite had the feeling that I had when that owl just nuzzled her neck against mine,” Pojeky told TODAY. “I’ve worked with a lot of birds of prey that come in, but the connection I have with them is nothing like this owl giving me a hug.”
Bet you’ve never thought you’d see an owl hug in real life!
GiGi has since been released back into her natural habitat, but not without giving another final “Thank You.”
“Missy and I always say that when they look back it’s like they’re saying ‘Thank you,’ and 99 percent of the animals look back,” Pojecky said. “When (GiGi) looked back, it definitely felt like gratitude to me.”
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