Enrique, a 30 year-old Rockhopper penguin from the St. Louis Zoo, went over the Rainbow Bridge on December 3rd. He became famous when a zoo visitor snapped a picture of him wearing a pair of funky boots. It turned out that Enrique had arthritic feet were quite painful. The padded therapeutic boots, made by Thera-Paw, were just the ticket to get him back to living his best life. Here's Enrique with his padded boots (photo right) and with his lady friend, Paris (photo left).
Enrique's passing hit the St. Louis and penguin-loving community hard, but none more than his St. Louis Zoo caretakers. Clare, one of the zookeepers, contacted Thera-Paw (the boot makers) with an odd request: to memorialize Enrique, could mini-sized penguin booties be made and turned into keychains for all of Enrique's caretakers? The Thera-Paw staff were determined to make this happen. Martha was the Thera-Paw seamstress that had made Enrique's therapeutic boots. Martha had grown fond of the old bird; so much so that Thera-Paw had asked the Zoo for a photo of Enrique to celebrate Martha's birthday. Now, in honor of Enrique, Martha was more than happy to return the favor.
After a bit of pain-staking hand-sewing (the mini-sized booties were too small to be handled by a machine), the results were a colorful assortment of mini-sized bootie keychains (photo below).
Here's Martha holding a photo of Enrique and Paris, with a "Happy Birthday Martha" sign.
Enrique was most likely unaware of all of this attention but it's clear to see how this special bird touched so many near and far. He will be missed.
For more stories on Enrique:
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