Turkey time means something very different in Albert’s house.
The turkey, who was rescued by TV producer Brant Pinvidic, is a pet who has captivated the Internet with his penchant for giving hugs (a Facebook video of one embrace has been viewed 14 million times).
Albert and his mate Princess were rescued together by Pinvidic — who has produced shows like Extreme Weight Loss and the Kitten Bowl — from a farm that sells chickens and turkeys for the dinner table. On Thanksgiving 2016, Albert served up something extra special.
“We left Albert in the chicken coop for a week before we let him roam the yard with the other chickens (they need to imprint on their new home or they wander off),” Pinvidic tells PEOPLE. “On Thanksgiving Day, we let him out for the first time and rather than wandering the yard with the others, he followed me right inside the house.”
A hug came on that first day together. “It was a little scary for me the first time because I didn’t know anything about turkeys,” says Pinvidic, “but he was so gentle and loving it didn’t take long to fall in love!”
Ever since then, Albert has been all about hugs and hanging with people. “Albert is literally the happiest when he is surrounded by people,” Pinvidic says. “He LOVES attention and will head right to the crowd.”
Albert has joined in on house parties, gatherings and was even a guest at a wedding that took place at Pinvidic’s home. “Albert just loves to be right in the middle,” he says. “He is more social than our dogs.”
If Albert is the outgoing one, Princess, Albert’s mate, is definitely the introvert. “Princess wants nothing to do with people,” he explains. “She acts just like a normal bird and avoids human contact.”
To anyone who thinks Albert might just be getting frisky, Pinvidic adds: “He is definitely not trying to mate; I’ve seen him mate and it’s very different.”
Just three weeks ago, the turkey couple welcomed two baby poults, Scout and Elizabeth (the female is named for family friend and fellow animal lover Beth Ostrosky Stern, “Albert’s first super-fan!”), and so far, hugging seems to run in the family.
“The babies are very bonded to me and like to be cuddled, too. I think they will be awesome pets like Albert!” Pinvidic says.
All this hugging has given Pinvidic a new perspective on pets. “I’ve learned that animals have personalities that you might not expect,” he says. “I’ve rescued horses, cats and dogs and it’s a very profound experience.”
Click here to follow Albert’s adventures on Instagram.