In 2011, 71-year-old Joao Pereira de Souza was visiting an island off of Rio de Janeiro and stumbled upon a hapless Magellanic penguin spattered in oil.
Seriously unwell when Pereira found him, the penguin was starving, so he decided to take the bird under his wing.
Migratory birds, Magellanic penguins travel anywhere from three and five thousand miles each year.
Now, ‘Dindim’ returns each year to the man who saved his life. Pereira loves him as he would a son, and the feeling is clearly mutual.
According to the The Independent, the penguin “honks with delight” every time he sees his human friend.
“No one else is allowed to touch him,” Pereira reveals. “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,”
After Pereira helped the bird recuperate, he wouldn’t leave.
“He stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared. 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.”
Their remarkable story has gone viral thanks to a report on Globo TV.