Thanksgiving Turkey Dodges Dinner and Becomes Instagram Star
When one pictures a Thanksgiving turkey, the first thing that comes to mind is a beautiful table layout with a silver serving platter in the center holding a golden brown turkey dressed in gravy. While Brant Pinvidic could have made this image a reality by picking out his very own turkey from a local farm, the Californian TV and movie producer came up with a completely different idea for the holiday. Pinvidic didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to discover something quite incredible about these birds. Read here to find out how Albert the Turkey dodged Thanksgiving dinner and became an Instagram star instead.
1. A Thanksgiving Turkey
It all started two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2016 when Brant Pinvidic’s contractor asked him if he wanted a turkey for the holiday. “My contractor knew a farm where they raise turkeys for slaughter and he asked if I wanted one for Thanksgiving,” Pinvidic told The Dodo.
Many farms around the U.S. offer the service of allowing people to pick their own turkey before the holiday. After all, what is Thanksgiving without the turkey? Pinvidic decided he’d take up the offer to go and choose his very own gobbler.
2. The Life of Brant Pinvidic
Pinvidic lives with his wife and kids in California, where he works as a documentary film and television producer, as well as the CEO of INvelop Entertainment. He’s well-known for producing the shows like Extreme Weight Loss, Kitten Bowl, and Bar Rescue.
When Brian isn’t working, he’s busy adopting dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. In fact, neither he nor his wife grew up raising animals, but they own what others would call a small zoo full of rescue animals. So what was he thinking when he went to choose a turkey?
3. Turkey Day
Pinvidic had actually never seen Turkeys live in the flesh before, and he had certainly never adopted one, so he didn’t know the first thing about these animals. He had also never picked out his very own turkey for slaughter, that’s for sure.
He wasn’t yet aware how curious and intelligence the feathery gobblers can be. Pinvidic didn’t know it just yet, but soon he’d learn about an entirely new animal in the most surprising of ways.
4. In the Flesh
Brant Pinvidic wasn’t a vegetarian and had munched on turkey many a Thanksgiving, but seeing them alive before the slaughter changed things for him. Pinvidic couldn’t imagine chowing down on these birds now.
When the time came for him to choose his bird, Pinvidic decided to do something that possibly no one has ever done at a Turkey farm. Little did he know, it would be a decision that would soon change many people’s lives for the better.
5. Adopt a Thanksgiving Turkey?
As these things go, Pinvidic decided he’d rather save a lucky turkey from the slaughter house. “I thought that it would be nice to go rescue one of those turkeys and pardon him,” Pinvidic told TODAY.
He went on to say that they already owned a few chickens so he thought it’d be a good for the kids to witness saving an animal. “It was a symbolic gesture,” he told The Dodo. But Pinvidic had just one more trick up his sleeve before he left.
6. I’ll Take ‘Em Both
Pinvidic was feeling quite benevolent and picked not one, but two turkeys to take home – a male and female. He already had lots of feathered friends at home, so why not add another two to the mix?
Off he went with his two new turkeys in tow to their new home and popped them in the coop. He named them Albert and Princess. Well, as it turns out, Albert the Turkey was the one who was about to serve up something special for Thanksgiving — something extra special.
7. Play Time
On Thanksgiving Day, Brant Pinvidic let Albert and Princess out of the coop to join the other chickens in the yard. He wanted them to get used to their surroundings as well as the rest of the flock.
In the morning that he set them free, it was clearer than ever that they were not going to make a meal out of the turkeys despite the auspicious date. Princess wandered off into the yard and joined the flock – behavior Pinvidic expected of a turkey. Albert, on the other hand, had concocted quite a different plan.
8. Right at Home
“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),” explained Pinvidic to PEOPLE.
When Albert was finally set free, instead of wandering off with his lucky partner Princess to the yard, he followed Pinvidic right into his house where he made himself extremely comfortable. Pinvidic found this experience quite strange, but what happened next was even stranger.
9. Show Me Some Love
He might have saved lots of animals, but Pinvidic didn’t have the slightest idea about a turkey’s personality, or that they even possessed one. He was quite shocked at how sociable Albert was acting towards him. Pinvidic knelt down to see what Albert would do, and to his surprise and shock, the bird toddled over to him and leaped straight into his arms.
“It was a little scary for me because I didn’t know anything about turkeys. But he was so gentle and loving it didn’t take long to fall in love,” Pinvidic recalled. Yes, Albert the Turkey turned out to be a hugger and boy, did he crave attention!
10. Part of the Fam
Pinvidic soon learned that Albert the Turkey’s affection wasn’t a once-off occurrence. While Princess would run amok with the chickens in the yard, Albert came trotting to the house to spend time with the family for breakfast.
It didn’t take long for Albert to make himself at home, and soon Pinvidic, his wife Juliana and their three kids Kahless, Briana, and Braden grew accustomed to Albert’s sociable and companionable personality. They even considered him as one of the pets, but Albert had even more tricks up his sleeve.
11. As Loyal As a Dog
This image might seem strange to some, but for the Pinvidic family it became totally normal to see. Here, Albert is seen hanging out with the other foster animals, particularly the dogs Dexter and London. In fact, the trio would often prance around together like the three musketeers.
Turns out Albert didn’t only win the hearts of all his human friends, but all the four-legged friends too. The pooches fell in love with Albert’s sprightly personality, and he was part of the dog pack just like that.
12. The Welcoming Committee
After a long day at work, Brant Pinvidic was used to his regular welcoming committee of furry friends waiting for him at home, but when Albert the Turkey joined the crew, the greetings became much more enthusiastic.
After a day outside in the yard, Albert’s new ritual was to shoot straight for the door when Pinvidic came home from work. “He is at the door waiting,” Pinvidic told The Dodo about Albert’s habits. A dog welcoming their owners home, yes, but a turkey? Well, Albert developed an even funnier habit.
13. The Hugger
Albert the Turkey loves to hug the family and he has mastered a special technique of how to be the best hugger in town. He scuttles over to his humans while they bend down, only to leap into their laps and lean his head over their shoulders.
He loves to hug so much, that every time someone bends down, Albert dives in for an embrace and cuddle. Antics like these turned Albert the Turkey into a lovable family pet, but then things took an incredible turn at the Pinvidic’s annual Christmas party.
14. A Turkey Kinda Christmas
A month had passed since Pinvidic saved Albert’s life, and the bird had taken over the household like it was nobody’s business. Not only that; Albert was also the life of the party at the family’s annual Christmas party, “mingling” with the 200 or so guests.
“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,” Pinvidic recalled to The Dodo.
15. “A Complete Showoff”
The Pinvidic clan quickly learned that turkeys can be extremely lovable and sociable animals when given the chance, so much so, that Albert craves attention more than anything else. “He doesn’t want food, he doesn’t want play, he just wants you to notice him,” Pinvidic told ABC News.
He went on to say that Albert the Turkey “believes he is the most interesting thing going on wherever he is,” and emphasized that “he’s very pompous. He’s a complete showoff.” But if they thought they had seen everything at the Christmas party, then they were sorely mistaken.
16. Bird of Honour
As a result of his affable nature, Albert became a “Birds of Honor” when friends of the Pinvidic Family held their wedding at the family’s home in March 2017. To cement his status even further, the couple printed little Albert’s name on their wedding program.
Come to think of it, the friendly fowl was actually the VIP guest, and the bride and groom didn’t take any offense from Albert stealing the show; in fact, they absolutely loved every single minute of it.
17. The Chicken Dance
Albert was only too thrilled to crash the wedding party as the guest of honor, capturing the attention of all the guests and even appearing in the official wedding photos. The guests even reacted pretty well to this jovial turkey.
“During the reception he was wandering from table to table saying ‘hi’ to everybody. He was on the dance floor and everyone loved it,” Pinvidic recalled. Ever since Albert first hugged Pinvidic he has been all about hugging and mingling with people. “Albert is literally the happiest when he is surrounded by people. He LOVES attention and will head right to the crowd,” he added.
18. A Year Later
About a year after living with the Pinvidic family, Albert made it clear that he didn’t want to stay in the coop anymore. In order to show his discontent with his modest living quarters, Albert would follow the family around all day.
“He will follow us everywhere almost all day. He simply wants attention and to cuddle. He’s very much like our dogs,” Pinvidic said. Ironically, he even feels super comfortable sitting at the kitchen counter for a meal.
19. Albert is Adventurous
Not only is Albert a great dancer and wedding guest, he is also an adrenaline junkie and all for the next adventure. Captured here is an endearing moment shared between Albert and Brant Pinvidic in an ATV.
It’s clear that Albert the Turkey adores hanging around with humans more than his own kind. No matter the activity or time of day, he never wants to miss out on a single moment of fun. But where does that leave his companion, Princess?
20. Scout and Elizabeth
Princess might be a normal bird, but Albert knew she’d be the perfect mother for his offspring. By April of 2017, the turkey couple had already welcomed two new turkeys into the world – Scout and Elizabeth.
While Albert made it clear that he wanted to be around the house, Princess isn’t like him at all. She’s actually the polar opposite. She steers clear of any humans and definitely doesn’t mingle at Christmas or wedding parties.
21. Taking after Albert
As the chicks grew up, they seemed to take on the personality of their father. “The babies are very bonded to me and like to be cuddled, too,” Pinvidic told People Magazine. He went on to say: “I think they will be awesome pets like Albert!”
Right he was; only several months later Scout and Elizabeth started snuggling up to the family, craving attention and love just like Albert. Princess, on the other hand, continued to keep to herself the way she likes it.
22. Celeb Turkey
Brant Pinvidic finally decided to open Albert the Turkey his very own Instagram account in January 2017 in order to share photos and videos. Ever since, his celeb status has only continued to grow! In fact, in 15 months, the account gained almost 34,000 followers.
Albert became such an internet sensation with a Facebook page as well, where Pinvidic shares videos to show off Albert’s penchant for giving the cuddliest hugs. Albert also inspired the family to take on another kind of project.
23. Turkey Free
Through social media, Pinvidic strives to raise awareness and to show how turkeys are more than just food. After his experience with Albert, he strongly believes these animals can form strong bonds, socialize and love, just like other pets.
The Pinvidics even want to become full-on vegetarians after their close work with animals. Albert’s unique personality inspired Pinvidic to go one step further and to create an entire animal rescue foundation dedicated to helping rescue animals find forever homes.
24. Albert & Friends Rescue Foundation
Besides for rescuing their own animals including five horses, four dogs, four cats, four turkeys, chickens, a duck, and a rabbit, the Pinvidics also foster animals through their home-run foundation called Albert & Friends Rescue Foundation.
Seeing that animal rescue is close to their hearts, the non-profit organization is dedicated to helping animals find permanent homes and families through adoption. Who knew a turkey slated to become dinner could inspire so much good?
25. A Little Goes a Long Way
Albert & Friends Rescue Foundation works primarily with the local St. Bonnie’s Shelter, which takes in dogs, cats, horses, and other animals, all thanks to Albert’s fame and his fans. “His fans get a lot of joy from his posts and interaction and that makes us very happy. We hope to expose more people to the joy of rescue animals,” Pinvidic exclaimed.
Pinvidic doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and has some more plans up his sleeve all, thanks to Albert the Turkey who filled his heart with so much love. Pinvidic never dreamed that sparing a Thanksgiving turkey’s life would have such a butterfly effect.
26. Practicing What They Preach
Albert the Thanksgiving Turkey has changed how Pinvidic views other animals. He certainly doesn’t like to preach to others, so he tries his best to encourage others to make a change along with his family. His daughter is a vegetarian and the rest of them are moving towards it. None of them eat turkey anymore.
Pinvidic still regards his family to be like any other saying, “we’re just a semi-normal family with a big yard.” Well, while he might believe that, his plans for the foundation’s future are truly inspiring and exciting.
27. Future Plans
One of Pinvidic’s plans is to create a digital series of children’s books about Albert the Turkey. He think they’ll be big hits, and we’re right there with him on that. What better way to teach people about animal rescue than with Albert’s story!
The foundation released Albert-branded Gear, kicking things off with limited-edition Albert T-shirts with three custom designs, and there’s lots more to come with different artists and creators. The best part is that Albert approves of the designs!
If Pinvidic could keep all the animals he fostered, he would, but his hands are already a bit full. However, he fosters as many animals as he can so that St. Bonnie’s has more space to help the most at-risk animals from county and city shelters.
At the moment, there are three gorgeous cats up for adoption named Kimmy, Olaf, and Jack Black. The Albert & Friends Foundation is responsible for finding forever homes for two dogs called Po and Harley, but the next adoption stories are even more heartwarming.
29. Bonded Pairs
One of the most special things about the Albert & Friends Foundation is that Pinvidic has found adopted homes for bonded pairs, inseparable animals that need to be adopted together by one family in order to avoid heartbreak.
Sky and Lotus are brother and sister cats who were adopted together. They also love to cuddle and play. Another pair, poodles Max and Bailey, also found a forever home as a bonded pair. The bonus is that these well-behaved dogs love kids and other dogs despite their unique bond.
30. A Day at the Pool
Today you’ll find Albert the Turkey relaxing by the swimming pool or baking in the sun (not literally) with his loving family. As Pinvidic noted, all Albert really wants is to hang around with people to garner as much attention as possible.
It’s safe to say that Albert has become more than just a Turkey. He’s a friend, a great host, an inspiration, and treasured member of the Pinvidic household. How many Thanksgiving turkeys can claim all that?
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