The people who spend their time saving hurt, abandoned and abused animals are angels among us. They understand that God created everything on this planet, including the environment and the animals, and that we must cherish and respect it all.

But GiGi, a great horned owl, had no one. And she was in need of help. Until she met the one man that she’d never forget, her life was in danger. Thankfully, that man scooped her up and brought her to Mississippi’s great Wild at Heart Rescue at the end of May in 2016.

The poor owl had suffered a head trauma and her life was wavering on the edge. The rescuers and veterinarians suspected that a car had struck poor Gigi. Besides the brain injury, she was also riddled with parasites. In short, she was in terrible shape…

Missy Dubuisson, the founder of the Mississippi rescue organization told The Dodo that GiGi also had a serious condition called aspergillosis. This is a similar problem as pneumonia in humans. The poor bird was in such bad shape that during her treatment, she lost a pound in weight, which is a lot for a bird. Typically, great horned owls only weigh about 2 to 5 pounds. GiGi was in rough shape.

“This bird was one of the most critical we have ever taken care of,” Dubuisson said. “The fact that this bird has lived is beyond comprehension.”

Fortunately, GiGi had someone who truly cared that she improved. Douglas “Doug” Pojeky had dedicated his life and career to rescuing birds of prey. As president of the Rescue, Doug had earned the nickname as the “birds of prey whisperer.” He loved them dearly and was eager to connect with GiGi…

“In all my years of working with birds of prey, I have never seen someone with such a bond with these magnificent birds,” Dubuisson said.

While she went in and out of treatment, GiGi remained close to Pojeky. He kept his watchful “hawk eye” on the owl and helped her go from knocking on “death’s door to perching,” as Dubisson said.

As GiGi’s health continued to improve, in large part to Pojeky’s helpful intervention, she went from hand-feeding to hunting her own food. She began to develop a deep trust and love for Pojeky.

Then he was suddenly called away to an emergency visit to Michigan. GiGi sorely missed him and he missed the bird.

But when he returned something miraculous happened. GiGi started bobbing her head and dancing on Doug Pojeky’s arm. Then she walked up to his arm to his chest, rested her head on his shoulders, and draped her wings over him – in a loving hug.

For Pojeky the owl’s hug was so important. It reminded him of how a great horned owl used to perch on his father’s barn while growing up. Pojeky rarely saw the owl, but his father always did.

Then on the day of his father’s death, the owl perched for all to see before flying off into the woods.

“For some reason when that bird was hugging me, all I could think of was my dad,” Pojeky said.

GiGi is on the fast track to a full recovery. And when she has, she will be released back into the wild. Until then she has Pojeky to love.

“It literally brings tears to my eyes to watch him interact with these birds,” Dubuisson said. “They absolutely know him and trust him. It’s the trust that you see in her face.”

Watch the video below to see this heartwarming moment!

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