Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and species.
Abandoned by his mother in South Africa, a baby giraffe later named Jazz didn’t have a high chance of survival. He was severely dehydrated and weak, and without his mother, he would have died on his own. Luckily for Jazz, he now has a whole team of caretakers helping him get well. There are veterinarians and wildlife experts, but Jazz’s most dedicated nurse and newest best friend is a Belgian Malinois named Hunter. Hunter has adopted Jazz, and their budding relationship is too cute to miss out on.
A local land owner spotted Jazz when he was only 2-3 days old. The mother giraffe had clearly abandoned her newborn, but no one knows why. Exposed to weather, predators, and with nothing to eat, Jazz wouldn’t have lasted long on his own. To save the baby giraffe, the land owner contacted The Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Rhinos are their specialty, but the wildlife rescue couldn’t turn away an orphaned animal in need. They took Jazz into their care, and they set out to save his life. For the first 18 hours, Jazz was comatose. He needed an IV catheter before he slowly gained strength. He took his first steps with help of caretakers, and he eventually started feeding on a bottle.
During this long struggle to keep Jazz alive, Hunter never left his side. The Belgian Malinois works at The Rhino Orphanage as an anti-poaching and security dog. He’s used to being around rhinos, but there’s something special about Jazz the baby giraffe. The Rhino Orphanage said on Facebook,
“Our anti-poaching and security dog, Hunter, has fallen head over heals for the little giraffe and has claimed ownership since Jazz’s arrival. He stays in the room all day with Jazz and the carers and doesn’t allow his brother Duke close.”
When Jazz was comatose, Hunter was so concerned he couldn’t eat. He refused his meals up until the point that Jazz was awake and doing well. When veterinarians check in on Jazz, Hunter is there to keep the baby giraffe company. The two have even been caught cuddling as Jazz gains his strength and health.
Every day, Jazz improves. He can now stand and walk on his own, and he’s been experimenting with eating solid foods. Vets are treating him for an issue with his eye, and once that heals, he’ll finally be able to go outside. Hunter has been by his side through every step of his recovery. The two now share an amazing bond, and it seems like the baby giraffe loves the dog just as much as the dog loves the giraffe.
The Rhino Orphanage continues to post good progress for Jazz’s recovery. It’s all good news, but it might mean an end to Hunter and Jazz’s friendship. Rescuers hope that Jazz will one day be strong enough to be released back into his natural habitat. If that does happen, Hunter will have played a big part in saving this baby giraffe’s life.