By Lauren Grose

Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, is from an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In 2011, he met his soulmate, who was covered in oil at the time.

Selflessly, he rescued the South American Magellanic penguin and spent a week cleaning his sticky feathers and nursing him to health. De Souza soon named the penguin Dindim, before setting him free.

Several months later, de Souza was shocked to see Dindim back on the island. Dindim immediately recognized his rescuer and instantly waddled in his direction.

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child, and I believe the penguin loves me,” de Souza 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, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up.”

Dindim spends eight months out of the year with his pal and the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile — swimming about 5,000 miles in between the two locations.

“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,” de Souza said.


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