Lucky the Penguin Swims Again - NBC Southern California

Lucky the Penguin Swims Again

A bad foot hindered his quality of life until a local shoe company created a solution

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Santa Barbara Zoo penguin born with a bad foot is "Lucky" to receive a custom-made shoe that would end up saving his life. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012)

    Dorothy had her ruby red slippers, Cinderella's were made of glass, and now one local penguin is "Lucky" to have a special shoe of his own.

    That's because the 1-year-old Lucky, a penguin at the Santa Barbara Zoo, had one leg that wasn't growing right.

    Zookeepers became aware of the problem when they noticed Lucky walking with a limp.

    They tried a splint at first, but the temporary fix prevented a pretty important aspect of any penguin's life.

    "That meant he couldn't learn to swim," said Zookeeper Rachel Miller. "He couldn't be a normal penguin."

    The problem affected his chances for survival.

    So the zoo contacted local shoe company Teva, which designed Lucky the most helpful shoe possible. But not without challenges, of course.

    "We had to make sure that he could get up and down these rocks with traction on uneven surfaces," said Stuart Jenkins, Teva vice president of business development . "When the right boot got there, it was glory hallelujah."

    All of a sudden Lucky became just like all the other penguins, swimming normally with the rest of them, but Miller said there's more to it than just Lucky being able to go for a dip.

    "It really took a community to make this happen," Miller said. "It saved the birds life."

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