104-year-old fulfills her lifelong dream of getting to pet a penguin: ‘I never thought it would happen’

It’s amazing how animals can truly make your life better. A special encounter with your favorite animal can be a truly life-changing experience.

That was especially true for one 104-year-old, whose lifelong dream was to hold a penguin — and recently had her wish come true.

Bertha Komor is the oldest resident of the Village Gate of Farmington senior retirement community in Connecticut, according to NECN. She has lived there for over a decade, becoming their oldest resident.


Recently, the caretakers at the home decided to do something extra special for Bertha. They worked with the Twilight Wish Foundation to make one of the senior’s biggest dreams come true: her dream of getting to pet a penguin.

Soon Bertha and the other residents got a very special visitor: a 35-year-old African Penguin named Red Green, from the Mystic Aquarium. Like Bertha, he’s the oldest penguin in his own facility.


Aquarium staff introduced the seniors to the penguin — and Bertha, sitting in the front row, got a very special close-up. The 104-year-old got to pet the penguin, fulfilling a longtime dream of hers.

“I never thought it would happen,” Bertha told NECN.


You can see the pure joy in the senior’s face. It was her biggest wish, and her caretakers were happy to help make it happen.

“She’s just an amazing person. To tell me she wanted to touch a penguin, I had to make that dream come true,” enrichment coordinator Ashley Waddell told NECN.

“She makes me smile. She’s such a spitfire.”


“I’m just so excited for her. I’m just so happy she has had this wish come true and just to have been in our lives for as long as she has,” granddaughter Karen Rivkin said.

The event included information about the penguin species by the expert staff. The whole meet-and-greet would’ve normally cost over a thousand dollars, according to NECN, but thanks to the partnership with Twilight Wish it was free for the nursing home.

What a sweet story. It’s amazing how animals can really brighten someone’s day. Thank you to everyone who made Bertha’s wish a reality.

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