If you think that the only animals capable of love are dogs and cats, well, you may want to think again, because this penguin travels to the moon and back – figuratively – to see the man who saved his life… you guessed correctly, each year!
Specifically, retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who has been living in a remote island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the past few decades, found a penguin covered in oil lying motionless on rocks on his local beach, in the year of 2011.
Thinking that the penguin was still alive, he took him, cleaned the oil off of his feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to recover his strength. Shortly, he also gave him a silly name: Dindim.
After a week, when Joao was confident enough the penguin would be able to take to the seas, he tried to release him. However, the penguin just wouldn’t leave. Joao recalls: “He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared.”. He thought he’d never see him again.
But was he wrong. After a few months passed, Dindim reappeared. He spotted and recognized the fisherman on the beach one day and followed him home.
Joao says that, for the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of each year with him. Specialists believe that he spends the other four months breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile, as it’s usual for all other penguins in the region. They also think that he swims up to 5,000 miles each year to reunite with the man who saved his life.
“I definitely love this penguin. It’s like he’s my own child. I also think he loves me back as well.” Joao says.
“Nobody can touch him. Not that I don’t let them do it, but Dindim pecks anyone who tries. He lays on my lap, lets me wash him, feed him, pick him up. We sometimes also play!” he continues.
“Everyone said he wouldn’t return, and to an extent I also believed it, but he has been coming back to visit me for the past five years. I have no reason to believe he’ll stop.”
Professor Krajewski, who interviewed the fisherman for Globo TV, told the Independent: “Personally, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s strange, but I think the penguin genuinely loves Joao and believes he’s part of his family. Odds are he also believes he’s a penguin.”
“The penguin wags his tail like a dog when he sees Joao and honks with delight.”
Still think dog is man’s best friend? Because we don’t anymore. In fact, we’d also love a pet penguin for ourselves.
And just like that, the world seems a kinder place once again.