A friendship for the ages
Here’s a great story about love and friendship spanning five years. In 2011, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, a retired Brazilian man found a dying penguin along a Rio de Janeiro beach. The little penguin was covered in oil and starving to death. The little critter would have died without any intervention. The sympathetic retiree picked up the little bird, cleaned him up, fed him, and nursed him back to health and then tried to release him back to the wild. Normally, this would be the end of the story.
But it wasn’t.
The little bird refused to leave. He would spend 11 months with de Souza. The plucky little penguin decided to repay the elderly man’s kindness with friendship. De Souza said friends had told him he would probably never see the little bird again, which would be expected. His friends turned out to be wrong.
Every year, the little penguin swims 3,000 to 5,000 miles to visit de Souza. He named the little critter Dindim, and he stays with de Souza from June to February. Dindim then returns to the sea for four months and lives off the coasts of Argentina and Chile where he pursues romance and handles his penguin business.
De Souza says he loves Dindim and that he’s like a child to him. He has also said he is sure Dindim returns the love. Moreover, Dindim won’t let anyone else handle him other than de Souza. If anyone else gets too close, Dindim will peck at him.
Desouza handles him, feeds him sardines, and bathes the little bird. He also said Dindim enjoys sitting on his lap.
Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewskian, who spoke with de Souza for Globo TV, said he has never seen anything like this. A story like this would not be uncommon had de Souza found a dog or a cat, but a penguin? I cannot remember the last time, if ever, that I have heard a story about a penguin bonding with a person. But then love comes in so many different forms that it's not so difficult to believe.