Time and time again, we’ve seen animals rescued from the brink of death. Not many people know what to do when they encounter a wild animal, and many would just ignore it and leave the animal to die. Thankfully, there are a plethora of organizations around the world that are ready and willing to help nurse any weak creature back to health. Based in Mississippi, the caring folks at Wild at Heart Rescue had seen their fair share of injured birds of prey, but, this May, they faced their biggest battle yet.
GiGi, a great horned owl, was barely clinging to life when she was found. All alone, the poor bird had significant head trauma that likely was the result of being hit by a car. On top of a serious concussion, GiGi was horribly infested with parasites and had contracted aspergillosis, a condition similar to pneumonia.
"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."
Over the course of her stay, GiGi lost one pound. That might not sound like much to a human, but, for an owl, it’s a staggering amount. Great horned owls typically weigh between two and five pounds.
Throughout her treatment, there was one person GiGi clung to - Douglas Pojeky, lead rescuer and President of Wild at Heart Rescue. Pojeky’s colleagues have nicknamed him the “birds of prey whisperer.”
Pojeky was there for GiGi from the beginning. He administered medicine and helped her eat when she could hardly swallow. Pojeky, and his fellow rescue workers, did the unthinkable and nursed GiGi hack to health.
For whatever reason, Pojeky seems to have a natural bond with these birds.
He certainly left an impression on little GiGi. After taking a few days off to visit family, Pojeky returned to the rescue. No one was more happy to see Pojeky return to work than her. The owl couldn’t contain her excitement over seeing her friend again. In one adorable display of affection, GiGi walked up Pojeky’s chest, rested her chin on his shoulder, and draped her wings across his body. It was a very special owl hug - in more ways than one.
"For some reason, when that bird was hugging me, all I could think of was my dad," Pojeky said.
Pojeky had always been familiar with great horned owls. Despite rarely ever seeing one himself, Pojeky’s father would regularly find one perched on top of the family barn. After his father passed away, Pojeky spotted the bird on the barn overlooking their land.
Thanks to Pojeky and everyone at Wild at Heart Rescue, GiGi will make a full recovery. Soon, she will return to the wild as one very happy and well-loved bird. If you'd like to support Wild at Heart Rescue's good work, please consider making a donation here.
H/T: The Dodo