PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dottie and Stanley are back in their usual spot in the Penguin Point habitat in the National Aviary, but for a while no one was sure they would see the pair perched on the rocks by the carved out cave again.

It was Dottie who fell ill last October.

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According to the National Aviary, keepers noticed her in a weakened state. She was unable to stand and her breathing was labored.

WATCH: Dottie & Stanley’s Story (Video Courtesy: National Aviary):


She was put in the Aviary’s intensive care unit where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and a mass in her chest.

The Aviary formed a team of experts in veterinary care, penguin behavior and husbandry to try and save Dottie.

She was put a treatment of antibiotics, nebulizers, respiratory medicines, oxygen treatments and daily fluids. While she started to recover, Aviary keepers knew she would need something more to make her better.

That’s where her long-time mate, Stanley, comes in.

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(Photo Credit: National Aviary)

The pair of endangered African Penguins have been life-long companions, so keepers brought in Stanley, who is named after the Stanley Cup, to help Dottie through her illness.

The National Aviary’s Director of Zoological Advancement and Veterinary Medicine Dr. Pilar Fish says what emerged was a sweet penguin love story.

“At first, Stan came for one-hour visits in the ICU each day, which was all Dottie could manage in her weakened state. As Dottie regained her strength, the visits became longer and longer, and eventually Stan moved in to the ICU. Stan worked in tandem with the team who visited throughout the day to encourage Dottie to eat. While our penguin experts would feed Dottie, Stan would sit right next to her, vocalizing and grooming her. When Stan ate, Dottie would take a bite.”

The Aviary credits the intensive care Dottie received with Stanley’s companionship as the reason for her full recovery.

The pair were reunited Thursday with their colony at Penguin Point. The Aviary says the other penguins welcomed them back with calls and brays.

“Dottie’s recovery is a miracle that largely happened behind the scenes, and this happy moment, watching her dive into the water at Penguin Point, is the result of prioritizing both her physical health and emotional wellbeing,” said Dr. Fish said in a news release. “From our incredible veterinary team, to our penguin experts bringing Stanley to be at Dottie’s side, to the members of our extended Aviary family who donated to help ensure Dottie received the highest possible level of care, Dottie’s recovery was possible through many acts of caring and generosity at each stage.”

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The National Aviary reopens on July 1. Visitors can see Dottie, Stanley and the rest of the penguin colony then at the facility’s Penguin Point habitat.