It’s illegal for you to keep wild animals as pets in Brazil. But despite what the law may say, Dindim comes to live with his best friend, whom he met on the beaches of Brazil, every year since 2011.

71-year-old retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza found Dindim, a South American Magellanic penguin, covered in oil and close to death. When De Souza nursed him back to health, however, he found that Dindim didn’t want to leave; when he finally did, De Souza was surprised to see him return the next year, and the years following.

“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, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up.” (h/t: independent)

“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years”

71-year-old Joao found this penguin covered in oil and close to death in 2011

“He stayed with me for 11 months and then…he disappeared

But Dindim kept coming back every year, swimming 8,000km to do so

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight”

“No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do”

“I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well” – said Biologist Professor Krajewski

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