The situation looked dire for an abandoned newborn giraffe rescued a week ago by wildlife workers in South Africa. But the orphan, dubbed Jazz, pulled out of a coma and is headed back to health under the attentive licks of his new best pal Hunter, a guard dog at the wildlife rehab center.
The feeling is mutual. Hunter, who also assists with anti-poaching efforts, has “fallen head over heels” for Jazz, according to a Facebook post from the center caring for Jazz, the Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo Province.
“Just when we thought it couldn’t get any cuter, sweeter and more heart-warming, this happened,” the center wrote about a video of the pair nuzzling each other, adding that the bond between the animals is “astonishing.”
Hunter, a Belgian Malinois, “stays in the room all day with Jazz” and doesn’t even allow his brother Duke to come close to his charge, according to the center. Hunter was so upset when Jazz was in a coma that he “didn’t want to eat.”
With Hunter’s help, Jazz is on the mend — and is even sampling some Acacia leaves.
A new book, “Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You,” argues that it’s not dogs’ cognitive abilities or their amazing bonds with humans that make them stand out in the animal world, but rather their ability to connect with a number of different species. Author and Arizona State University psychologist Clive Wynne believes dogs have a unique capacity for interspecies love that is part of their genome.