I'm Inspired By This Penguin That Swims 5,000 Miles to Its Savior

Illustration for article titled I'm Inspired By This Penguin That Swims 5,000 Miles to Its Savior

In 2011, I visited Disney World for the first time with my family and stayed in a timeshare with a pool. While swimming in that pool, I found myself doggy paddling from end to end because I didn’t have the necessary skills to swim in a normal way. After about two minutes, I started flailing. Arms got tired. Why? Because I’m not a penguin.


Many of you, like me, aren’t penguins and can’t swim. This devoted-ass penguin Dindim, however, is said to swim 5,000 miles every year to a guy who’s responsible for saving his life. Whoa. Again, that’s 4,999.5 more miles than I’m capable of swimming.

This penguin’s tale begins in 2011 (ironically, the same year I experienced Disney World) with a man named Joao Pereira de Souza:

Retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found the tiny penguin, covered in oil and close to death, lying on rocks on his local beach in 2011.

Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.

Joao’s subsequent efforts to part with Dindim proved futile. The penguin had become attached and refused to go. And so, Dindim resided with Joao for 11 months.

Dindim then suddenly disappeared.

(Five-second pause.)

If you guessed that Dindim came back, you’re right. Months later, he returned. In fact, he always does.

For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.

It’s thought he swims up to 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

Joao told Globo TV, “I love the penguin like it’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.”

The point is, everyone please learn to swim.

Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

Image screengrab via Globo TV



You guys I want a penguin so bad. And goats. And a few red pandas. And a sloth. Just let me move into the zoo, mmkay?