A great horned owl, GiGi, was suffering from severe concussions when she was brought into the Wild at Heart Rescue Center in Mississippi by President of the rescue, Douglas Pojeky.
GiGi was riddled with parasites and was underweight. The rescue team believed she had been hit by car earlier that week. They said she was one of the sickest and most hurt wild bird they had ever seen and were unsure that she would recover at all.
Pojeky knew that GiGi needed special care to be nursed back to health. He took special time to dedicate to the bird, and everyone was amazed by the results. Missy Dubuisson, founder of the rescue, said GiGi went from being at "death's door" to feeding on her own as she amazingly recovered with Pojeky's help.
Pojeky and GiGi struck up an unlikely but incredible friendship while the bird was in recovery.
In fact, when Pojeky went on a trip, it seems that GiGi missed every second without him and when he returned, she rested her head on his shoulder and draped her wings around him in a loving hug.
Dubuisson told The Dodo: “In all my years of working with birds of prey, I have never seen someone with such a bond with these magnificent birds.”
GiGi appeared to dance around, unable to contain her excitement, upon Pojeky’s return.
She added: "It literally brings tears to my eyes to watch him interact with these birds. They absolutely know him and trust him. It’s the trust that you see in her face.”
A post showing an image of the bird hugging Pojeky went viral on Facebook and was picked up by several news media outlets. In the post, Dubuisson wrote “They show their gratitude. Nothing these birds of prey do any more surprises me. I have learned to accept the fact that it's just going to happen, and to have the camera ready at all times - These moments must be captured and frozen in time.”
Pojeky has been jokingly named the “bird of prey whisperer.” He has been working with wild birds for many years and dedicates his time to wildlife rescue.
GiGi will be released back into the wild once she is back at full health.