Behind the Amazing Photo of the Injured Owl Hugging Her Rescuer

PetMD Editorial
Published: June 15, 2016
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Hoo wants a hug? For GiGi the owl, that answer was simple: she wanted to show her gratitude to one of the workers at Wild at Heart Rescue, Inc. in Vancleave, Miss. 

Last month, the great horned owl was brought into Wild at Heart after suffering head trauma. After being treated successfully by the staff, a one-of-a-kind moment was caught on camera by the organization's founder and president Missy Dubuisson. GiGi showed her appreciation to Wild at Heart's co-president Doug Pojeky by embracing him with an owl's version of a hug. 

"Was it truly an owl hug? We would like to think so," Dubuisson tells petMD. "All I did was capture a moment in time. And what a beautiful moment it was." In her line of work Dubuisson says she'd never seen anything quite like this before. 

GiGi the owl has since recovered from her injuries and, as Dubuisson explains, she "was released back to the exact GPS location in which she was rescued" and was even reunited with her mate. 

While GiGi was very thankful for the human help, Dubuisson urges anyone who finds sick or injured wildlife to stay clear and call a professional. "Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation and await further instructions."

The photo, which has since gone viral, has humbled the staff of Wild at Heart. "With all the tragedies going on in the world, an owl hug made everybody feel better for a minute," says Dubuisson.

Image via Wild at Heart, Inc. Facebook