“Smooshi came around and she was trying to protect the other walrus,” Demers told The Dodo in 2017. “I tried to console Smooshi. I think in that heightened state of emotion … her brain circuitry opened, and that’s when the imprinting actually happened. From that moment, she followed me everywhere. I became her mother, scientifically speaking. And she would follow me and protect me, as she would her mother.”
When Demers resigned from Marineland in 2012, he tried to make arrangements with the park to continue seeing Smooshi. However, the park stopped allowing Demers onto its premises, and Demers believes Smooshi’s health has declined since their separation. While Smooshi has made an occasional appearance at the park, she usually remains hidden from public view.