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Back in 2011, 71-year-old retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza found a penguin covered in oil and was about to die. He cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.
After a week, the Brazilian fisherman tried to release the bird back into the sea, but the loving penguin refused to leave his side. ‘He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,’ Joao recalls.
‘I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,’ Joao told Globo TV. ‘No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, and allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up.
‘Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.’
It is believed that Dindim would leave for four months to breed, and come back to his friend every year. The bond between Dindim and Joao has touched many hearts around the world, and their story went viral.