We’ve all had an overly friendly cat or dog – the kind that just won’t leave you alone for a minute, craving attention all day long. But one family in the U.S. ended up with a far more unique attention-seeking pet. And once you meet Albert, you may never want to eat turkey again.
42-year-old Brant Pinvidic lives in California, where he works as a television and movie producer. Over the course of his career, he’s produced shows including Extreme Weight Loss and the Kitten Bowl. And he’s been rescuing dogs and horses for years.
Indeed, while Pinvidic and his wife didn’t grow up with animals, they now house plenty of rescue animals at their home in Santa Clarita, including cats and chickens. In 2016, however, Pinvidic was introduced to an entirely new animal – one that would hold plenty of surprises.
Much like restaurants that let you choose your own lobster to eat, there are farms around the U.S. that allow people to choose their own turkeys to cook for Thanksgiving dinner. And last year, Pinvidic was offered the chance to do so through an acquaintance.
Instead of choosing one turkey, however, Pinvidic decided to take a pair. Having spent his life rescuing animals, though, he wasn’t about to chow down on these birds, despite never having seen a live turkey in the flesh before. In fact, he actually saved their lives, and took them into his home.
“It was going to be a symbolic gesture,” Pinvidic told The Dodo. “You know, for the kids.” To that end, then, Pinvidic brought home both a male and female turkey, and popped them into the coop in his yard so they could get used to their new surroundings.
Like any pet, though, these turkeys would need names – and that’s exactly what they received. Pinvidic named the male Albert and the female Princess, and on Thanksgiving morning, he let them roam free in his yard for the first time.
Despite the date, however, these birds still weren’t about to find themselves on the menu. But while Princess wandered off around the yard – the expected behavior for a turkey – Albert did something completely different. Indeed, he followed his new owner in to the house.
“It was weird,” Pinvidic recalled. But it was about to get weirder. Yes, when Pinvidic knelt down to see what was up with his new pet, Albert toddled over – and leapt straight into the baffled man’s arms, like a baby craving attention.
“It was a little scary for me the first time because I didn’t know anything about turkeys,” Pinvidic told PEOPLE. “But he was so gentle and loving it didn’t take long to fall in love!”
While there was no way Pinvidic could have known it at the time, Albert’s odd behavior was actually just a sign of things to come. Indeed, things took a turn for the crazy at the family’s annual Christmas party.
“A month after I get this bird, he’s at this Christmas party mingling,” Pinvidic told The Dodo. “He’s right on the carpet where all the kids are sitting with Santa. He just loves people. That’s what he loves more than anything. He just wants to be around somebody.”
But Albert’s affable nature didn’t end with the Christmas party. In fact, in March 2017, the friendly fowl was practically the guest of honor at the wedding of two of Pinvidic’s friends. And the bride and groom didn’t seem to mind one bit.
Indeed, Albert’s name was listed in the wedding program, and he even made an appearance in the official photos. The wedding party, then, was only too happy for Albert to crash their big day. Just like the jovial turkey craves attention from humans, so too do humans love him, apparently.
“During the reception he was wandering from table to table saying ‘hi’ to everybody,” Pinvidic remembered. “He wasn’t looking for food. He just wanted attention.” And of course, it didn’t take long for Albert to end up on the dance floor with everyone else.
Less than a year since his arrival in the Pinvidic household, then, Albert has fit in perfectly with his new family – including the other rescue animals. But his fellow turkey, Princess, is basically his polar opposite. Indeed, she actually behaves like a normal bird, wanting nothing to do with humans.
Where Albert is concerned, meanwhile, it’s probably more accurate to describe him as a dog than a bird. After all, the Pinvidics take him for walks, let him sit with them in the house, and give him frequent and regular cuddles.
Still, while Albert and Princess may be the traditional odd couple, they’re still mates – and in April 2017, they brought two new turkeys into the world. Their babies, named Scout and Elizabeth, appear to be taking after their father as far as their personalities are concerned.
“The babies are very bonded to me and like to be cuddled, too,” Pinvidic told PEOPLE. “I think they will be awesome pets like Albert!” Indeed, there are already plenty of photos online of the two tiny poults snuggling up to their owner.
Albert, meanwhile, now spends his days languishing in the pool with both his families, turkey and human. As Pinvidic notes, being around people is all the turkey ever really wanted, so it’s amazing that he’s been able to fulfil that need.
Inspired by Albert’s unique personality, Pinvidic has gone one step further in his animal crusade. Indeed, he’s actually set up an entire foundation in the turkey’s name – called Albert & Friends – which is dedicated to helping rescue animals find new homes.
By now, Albert is an internet sensation, with videos of him receiving hugs racking up millions of views on Facebook. And in case you’re wondering, Pinvidic and his family no longer eat turkey, obviously.