A great horned owl, named GiGi, was brought to Mississippi’s Wild at Heart Rescue last month after suffering significant head trauma, which they believe was from being hit by a car. She had a massive concussion, parasites, and a condition called aspergillosis, which is similar to pneumonia in humans. She was so sick that during her treatment she lost a pound of weight, which for an owl that should weigh between two and five pounds, is a lot. They didn’t think the bird would even survive.
But that’s when Douglas Pojeky, president of the rescue, came forward to help. He is known as the “birds of prey whisperer,” and always has such an amazing bond with them. While being cared for by Pojeky, GiGi went from being on the brink of death, to perching. She also started to eat food on her own. She began to trust Pojeky, and showed it in the sweetest way: by giving him hugs!
Pojeky then had to go on a trip to visit family for a bit. When he returned, he held Gigi and she rested her head on his shoulder and draped her wings around him. She had a calming look of content on her face and was so happy to be back with her favorite human.
Pojeky told The Dodo that being hugged by GiGi had a special significance to him far beyond a hug. When he was young, a great horned owl used to always perch on top of their family barn, and no one ever saw it but his father. But the morning of his father’s death, the owl was seen overlooking the farm house, where his father passed away, before flying back into the woods. Pojeky said that when GiGi hugs him, all he can think about is his dad.
Once GiGi is back to full health, she will be released back into the wild. But for now, she will get all the love and care in the world, and can hug Pojeky whenever she likes.