African penguin Rosie was born in 2019 at the OdySea Aquarium in Arizona (USA) and soon after birth faced many difficulties: due to anomalies in the development of the skeleton, she could not sit and walk on her own.
After several medical checkups, the OdySea staff began to develop a treatment plan for Rosie to increase her mobility. As a result, they created special jumpers for the penguin, similar to children’s, which allowed her to keep her body upright.
“We were talking about how to get Rosie upright and I thought about jumpers for toddlers who have not yet learned to walk,” recalls Jessica Peranto, Director of Animal Care at OdySea Aquarium.
Through constant jumping and physical therapy, within two years, Rosie learned to walk, sit and swim on her own. Now Rosie not only actively walks and plays with other penguins, but also helps disabled children who visit the aquarium for educational purposes, writes People.
By her example, Rosie inspires children to accept their characteristics and cope with any life difficulties.
“I have been involved in educational programs for a long time, but even for me, Rosie’s encounter with disabled children was super emotional. We heard a lot of kids say things like ‘she walks like me’ and that was great.” said Jessica Peranto.
The Aquarium hopes that the friendly and charming, but very tenacious Rosie can continue to inspire and delight the many children with special needs who feel insecure.
“Rosie hasn’t given up no matter what and now she’s living a fulfilling life and doing what the other penguins do but in a little different way,” Jessica Peranto said.