happyworld - Abandoned Baby Giraffe Makes An Unlikely Friend That Saves His Life

If movies like The Fox and the Hound and Ratatouille are any indication, people love a good story about an unlikely animal friendship. Every moment of these films — the friends’ first meeting, their first fight, their adventures — warms the heart, mainly because you just know that the friendship between a grown man and a rat wouldn’t happen in real life…
And yet, we’re constantly surprised by the animal kingdom’s refusal to follow the rules. A lion, friends with a child? A monkey as a pet? These are things that should only exist in Disney movies…but one South African farmer saw for himself just how true to life these movies can be.
In certain parts of South Africa, it isn’t unusual to find yourself face-to-face with a fanged/horned/venomous animal. In the place where elephants freely roam, residents are used to seeing what we would consider to be “unusual” sights…
Kruger National Park Safaris
And yet, something about what one man saw on November 17th struck him as odd. As a South African farmer, it took a lot to shake him — but then he saw the crumpled, oddly-shaped figure in the distance. 
It was a giraffe…and it was just a couple days old. The animal looked up at him with heavy, doleful eyes — and the farmer knew he had to call the closest rescue organization. Unfortunately, the giraffe wouldn’t exactly fit in with the nearest one.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
The closest organization was called The Rhino Orphanage, located in Limpopo. Their specialty, obviously wasn’t in giraffes, especially in young, barely-clinging-to-life giraffes. But then they heard the farmer’s story, and immediately headed over.
Caters News Agency/New York Post
For the first 18 hours, the rescue team prepared for the worst. The baby was so sick, he became comatose. Like the giraffe’s mother had done, abandoning the sick baby would have been the logical move…
But the rescue team refused to give up. Dr. Pierre Bester installed an IV catheter, which provided the giraffe with fluids and nutrients he needed to survive. All they could do was wait for signs of life…and the doctors weren’t waiting alone.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
As soon as the giraffe had arrived at the rescue center, one animal was obsessed with him — and it wasn’t one of the rhinos. Instead, the rescuers were shocked to find Hunter the Belgian Malinois sitting with the baby giraffe.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
As the giraffe struggled to regain consciousness, Hunter lied by his new friend’s side. Maybe it was Hunter’s compassion, maybe it was the IV medication, or maybe it was a combo of all three, but after hours of waiting, the giraffe finally stirred…
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
…and opened his eyes! Though the rescuers were delighted, no one was happier than Hunter, whose best friend was finally awake. But just because Hunter liked the giraffe didn’t mean the feeling was mutual.
Madagascar (2005)
But as soon as the giraffe locked eyes with the pup, they were inseparable. “Just when we thought it couldn’t get any cuter, sweeter, and more heartwarming, this happened,” said the Rhino Orphanage of a tender moment they caught on video.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
In the video, the two friends are side by side, cleaning each other and snuggling. For a newborn animal who days before had been on the brink of death, the giraffe was certainly looking lively — and he needed a name that reflected his curious, vibrant personality.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
So, the rescue organization named him Jazz. From then on, Jazz and Hunter were never without the other. As with anyone recovering from a serious illness, though, life wasn’t always snuggles and hugs for Jazz. 
CBS Baltimore/Maryland Zoo
The rescuers at Rhino Orphanage knew that Jazz’s road to recovery would be rocky, especially since the baby was abandoned by his own kind. There was no telling when he would fully regain his strength…or if he would at all.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
Jazz’s journey back to health needed to begin with a single step. “He managed to stand up a few times with the help of our carers,” the orphanage stated. But he walked on “very unsure legs,” totally unaccustomed to his own spindly limbs.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
“Baby giraffes are notorious for being labor-intensive,” the Rhino Orphanage wrote on Facebook. Even with Hunter to keep Jazz company, the rescuers had their work cut out for them, especially given one of Jazz’s unique characteristics. 
The Lion King (1994)
Well, it was unique to the rescuers, that is: Jazz’s imposing height was proving to be a challenge, since they were used to dealing with rhinos. But they knew Jazz was worth the extra effort and gave him days of intensive care.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
A week after his rescue, the employees at Rhino Orphanage went to Jazz’s pen to see how he was doing. At first, they were delighted: He was standing up…but his neck was sticking out of the pen at a strange angle.
Luckily, Jazz wasn’t in any danger. On the contrary, when the rescuers saw what he was doing, they quickly started to film: He was munching on Acacia leaves! They posted the adorable video to Facebook like the proud parents they were.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
The only one prouder than the rescuers was Jazz’s partner-in-crime, Hunter! “The bond and understanding between Jazz the giraffe and Hunter our Belgian Malinois is astonishing,” the rescue group wrote. But the friends may not be together forever.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook
“Possibly soon he will be able to go home,” said orphanage worker Janie Van Heerden. We hate to imagine Jazz and Hunter apart, especially since they’ve grown so close since Jazz arrived at the orphanage…
Jerome Delay/AP
We’re hoping that Jazz and Hunter somehow stay together. After all, Hunter was there for Jazz when he was at his lowest, even though they were different species. To keep the friendship strong, the rhino rescue can look towards other organizations for advice.
The Rhino Orphanage/Facebook

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