This Brazilian Man Rescued a Penguin From an Oil Spill, and Now They’re BFFs

In 2011, 71-year-old Joao Pereira de Souza rescued a Magellanic penguin covered in oil on an island off the Rio de Janeiro coast. The retired bricklayer cleaned him up, fed him sardines, gave him a place to rest, and called him Dindim. After nursing Dindim back to health and cleaning his feathers for a week, Pereira de Souza tried to set him free.

“But he wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared,” he said, according to the Independent. “Everybody 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.”

Dindim travels three to five thousand miles away from his bff to breed on the Patagonia coasts. Then, he returns to Pereira de Souza. Dindim doesn’t even seem to like people really, choosing to peck them if they try to pet him. The penguin lays on Dindim’s lap and allows him to pick him up. “I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” he said.

Their bond even surprised biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski. “I have never seen anything like this before,” he said. “I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. When he sees him, he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

Check out this too-cute friendship in the Wall Street Journal video embedded above, and prepare to ? ? ?.