Retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found the animal back in 2011 when he washed up on a beach, starving and covered in oil.
Joao, who named the penguin Dindim after discovering him in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, decided to take the creature home and nurse it back to health.
Once Dindim was well again, Joao released him back into the wild – and didn’t expect to see the penguin ever again.
ut just a few months later, the South American Magellanic penguin returned to the beach and followed Joao home.
According to Globo TV, Dindim spends eight months with Joao and the rest of the year breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile – 5,000 miles away.
Joao told the Brazilian news channel: “I love the penguin like he’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me.
“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.”
t took 11 months for Dindim to be nursed back to full health and for the past four years he has been a loyal visitor to his rescuer.
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Joao added: “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.”