By Sarah V Schweig
"When a paralyzed penguin was found on the beach on the Western Cape of South African last December, local resident Eric Stewart saw himself in the bird.
Stewart often rides his bike past the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a seabird rescue center in Cape St. Francis, where the penguin found a forever home. (The bird's injuries and sweet demeanor make it impossible for him to return to the wild.)
The bird was in a very tame state upon arrival here at the center," Nada Manengela, marketing and fundraising coordinator for SANCCOB, told The Dodo. No one knew why the penguin became paralyzed, Manengela said, but rescuers suspect that he sustained head trauma.
Stewart sympathized with the penguin's plight because he knows how hard it is to come back from a head injury. Stewart had to learn how to walk again after a stroke a few years ago.
"I got tears in my eyes when I saw the penguin for the first time and I wanted to do something to help," Stewart told News 24. Stewart decided that the penguin deserved a chance to walk again, so he built a tiny walker.
After a month in the walker, as well as swimming lessons three times a day, the little penguin amazingly learned how to waddle on his own again.
"He continues to live a very good quality of life in our home pen," Manengela said.
With so many people believing in him, it's no wonder he's getting better."
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