The bond between animals and human sometimes go beyond fun and companionship. In some cases, it provides healing and hope, and this was what happened between Dina Theissen and a bluejay bird.
It all began early spring 2015 when Dina spotted a little hurting grey bird outside her home in Palm Beach, Florida. It seemed the bird had either fallen from its nest or was abandoned.
Moved by its plight, Dina knew she had to do something before it was too late. When she contacted a wildlife rescue agency, they advised her to leave the bird and see if its mum would return. However, when that didn’t happen, Dina swooped in and took the bird into the comfort of her home.
Her 6-year-old daughter, Alyssa, then created a nest out a shoebox and named the bird Gracie. Dina, her husband Ken, and Alyssa soaked dry cat food in water and took turns feeding Gracie every 30 minutes.
A month later, Gracie showed signs of a remarkable recovery as her feathers started to grow. The Theissens soon discovered that not only was Gracie a Bluejay, but ‘she’ was actually a ‘he.’ Regardless, they believed the name Gracie fit perfectly and didn’t bother changing it.
Gracie was released when he was five weeks old to go live a life of his own with his peers, but that didn’t stop him from visiting the Theissens every day for the next two-and-a-half years. Little did he know he was doing more than visiting.
In 2016, Dina was facing a hard time as she was trying to recover from ovarian cancer. Fortunately, Gracie’s daily visits helped her summon the courage to push on miraculously.
While speaking to PEOPLE, Dina revealed that Gracie would come every time through the hole in their porch screen and chirp away like they were having a conversation.
It seemed like he knew she was weak and was trying to show some empathy. This made Dina and the rest of their family regain hope and focus on the positive throughout that trying period.
Her husband, Ken, described Gracie’s impact on Dina’s health, saying:
“During his visits, we didn’t have anger, uncertainty or fear, and Dina was comforted. It was incredible to witness the difference he made to Dina when she was recovering from surgery and going through chemotherapy.”
Dina is now in remission; she and her family members have created an Instagram and Facebook page for Gracie to share his adventures with the world. Also, Ken has written a book, titled 'Gracie's Wild Adventures', about how he changed their lives.
Dina’s story unveils the power embedded in having animals as our friends. They hold more potential than we know; it benefits us if we treat them better.