Some species are quite happy to live alongside other species, while others prefer to stick to their own kind. One type of animal that is usually happy to live with other animals is dogs, although this can depend on the personality of the individual dog. Usually, dogs are very protective of any person or animal that they consider as a loved one. Despite this, it can still come as a surprise when a dog takes another animal under their wing. One example of a dog becoming protective of another animal is the case of Hunter, a young Belgian Malinois. He has found a rather unusual friend to whom he has become protective towards as his young friend is a baby giraffe called Jazz, says I Heart Dogs.
After Jazz was born in South Africa, his mother abandoned him. When a young giraffe is abandoned, it is very dangerous and could have led to the calf’s death. Either they will die from malnutrition or dehydration due to the lack of milk from their mother, or they will die from being attacked by a larger, carnivorous animal. Fortunately, Jaz was discovered by a local farmer who knew that the young giraffe was at risk if he was left to fend for himself. Noticing that the giraffe was already dehydrated and weak, he knew that he had to do something to help. He contacted The Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo to see if there was anything they could do to help. Straight away, they sent out a team to rescue Jazz.
Jazz was in a bad state when he first arrived at the orphanage. For the first 18 hours, he was unconscious as he was so weak and dehydrated. With treatment, Jaz began to come around. When he opened his eyes, the staff noticed that his eye was tinted red. This was because blood was pooling in its front chamber. Jazz needed treatment to rectify this problem with his eye. With the support of the staff, Jazz began to get stronger and healthier. Luckily for Jazz, he had also made a new friend who was supporting him through his journey back to health. When Jazz first arrived at the orphanage, he met Hunter who works as an anti-poaching and security dog for the organization. Despite their differences, the two bonded straight away.
The dog was instantly concerned about the young giraffe when he realized he was not moving. Hunter refused to eat until he knew that Jazz was going to be okay. As soon as Jazz started to show some signs of improvement, Hunter got his appetite back and began eating again. Even then, he continued to keep an eye on his new friend. Hunter became very protective of the young giraffe, and he would sit by his side whenever the staff was treating him. It was as though he wanted to make sure that the staff was doing their best to treat Jazz rather than putting him at further harm.
The giraffe still needs time to heal, and this means he is not yet allowed outdoors. However, he is not bored and lonely in his indoor enclosure as he has Hunter to keep him company all day. Hunter has a brother called Duke, but he is so protective of Jazz that he will not even let Duke go near the giraffe. He stands on guard all day making sure his new friend is safe and well. Staff from the rescue center have done everything they can to help Jazz get better and to feel comfortable, and Hunter has also played an important part in this process. Jazz has now learned to drink from a bottle, which is a huge step towards his recovery.
He has also begun to eat leaves which staff has fastened to a string that is suspended across his enclosure. This is to replicate how a giraffe would learn to eat in the wild, and this is what Jazz would have done had he still been with his mother. Although he still has a long way to go, the staff is hopeful that he will make a full recovery and that they will be able to release him back into the wild soon. When Jaz leaves, there is no doubt that Hunter will miss him as the bond the unusual pair has developed has become so strong. However, at least Hunter will know that his young friend is safe and healthy and that he has done everything he can to help the giraffe make this recovery. Knowing this should offer the dog some comfort when he is missing his young friend.
A dog and a giraffe becoming friends is a remarkable story, as they are two animals that you would not expect to see together. Hunter has shown how dogs can overcome the barriers between species to care for another creature in their time of need. Wonderopolis says that it is more common for dogs to take care of other dogs as this is self-preservation of their species. However, there are many examples of them caring for another species. In most instances, this involves caring for a younger animal.
Some studies suggest that this is because their natural maternal or paternal instinct kicks in when they see a baby animal of any species needing care and support. Their natural instinct tells them that they must care for the animal. Regardless of the species, many dogs are happy to step in and become a surrogate parent for a young animal. It seems that Hunter may have this instinct to protect young animals from harm, and he demonstrated this with his love and protection for Jazz. Dogs are not the only species to do this as there are multiple examples of animals offering protection from another species. There have even been examples of dolphins surrounding human swimmers to protect them from a shark attack. They have done this despite potentially putting themselves at harm.