While driving through a remote village, Jenny and Jimmy Desmond came across a sick little puppy in peril. While most people would have deemed the puppy as a hopeless case, they decided to take the dog in. Despite saving the dog, this couple would end up without their dog and in tears.
1. Jenny’s Roadside Discovery
It was in the late ’90s that Jenny and Jimmy Desmond found each other and their shared passion. That passion was rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals. The two got their first taste of wildlife conservation back in 1999 when they embarked on a round-the-world trip. They visited the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Borneo, an island in Southeast Asia. It was there that they discovered their mutual love of animal rehabilitation.
The couple would spend the next few years volunteering at wildlife sanctuaries across Asia and Africa. They were eventually called to the African nation of Liberia to run the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) facility, but could not have anticipated where life would end up taking them. Fast forward to 2016, one day while driving through a remote village, Jenny spotted something on the roadside that was anything but normal.
2. A Puppy In Peril
What Jenny spotted on the side of the road was a puppy barely clinging to existence. With a life dedicated to wildlife preservation, Jenny wasn’t going to say, “poor thing” and continue on her way. She needed to give the puppy a fighting chance at life.
She pulled to the side of the road and began assessing the puppy’s health. Upon giving him a closer look, it was clear that if she didn’t act fast, the pup would have very little chances of making it through to the next day. However, Jenny and Jimmy would soon find that taking the sick puppy with them wouldn’t be such an easy task.
3. Suddenly, The Villagers Care
To begin with, the villagers showed very little concern for the sick puppy. They walked by and when Jenny would ask them about him, nobody would take ownership or responsibility for the pup. None of the villagers denied that the little dog was in horrible shape and likely to die if not helped, but they weren’t about to help him themselves.
When Jenny tried taking the puppy into her truck, their apathetic attitudes quickly turned into aggression. One man stated that if she wanted to take the stray puppy, she’d have to pay them for it, but Jenny was not about to haggle over this dog’s life. She put her quick thinking into motion and came up with a plan to escape from the village with the puppy by her side.
4. Escaping The Village
Amid the moment of chaos, Jenny managed to trick the villagers. She told them that she’d take the sick puppy, nurse him back to health and then bring him back when fully recovered. They agreed to that notion and let her and the puppy go.
Back in the truck, Jenny revealed to Jimmy that she would never take that puppy back to the village. With that, the three of them were far from out of the woods yet. Getting the pup off the streets was only a quarter of the battle. How would these two chimp experts cope with handling an extremely sick puppy?
5. Skilled In The Field of All Animals
Luckily for the sickly pup, Jimmy and Jenny were skilled at helping a variety of animals. Jimmy was a trained veterinarian and Jenny was known to have nursed a number of animals to health. She had worked with everything from crickets to owls. The puppy’s illness would be no match for this animal-loving power couple.
Back at the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) facility, the couple got a closer look at the little sick puppy’s condition and found that all the training in the world might not be enough to help the sickly dog. The couple could not believe what they were seeing on such a little creature.
6. Caring For Him Was a Full Time Job
The little pup, who they named Snafu, was plagued with a slew of infections and health issues. He walked on extremely shaky legs and would put up no struggle when handled by the couple. The first couple days were all about building his strength and bonding with him.
As soon as they arrived at the sanctuary, Jenny and Jimmy saw to it that he was cleaned and fed. They even made sure to show him plenty of love and affection. Despite the care they gave him, Snafu didn’t show many signs of improvement. A few days after picking up, Jenny and Jimmy woke up to something they had long been expecting.
7. Snafu Begins Powering Through
A few days after his rescue, Snafu began showing significant signs of improvement. He was walking on steadier legs and even began giving Jenny and Jimmy kisses. However, timing was everything for the pup. With that sign of improvement, they had to start treatments against his infections as soon as possible.
Jimmy wasn’t your run of the mill vet who practiced the bare basics in pet medicine, he specialized in emerging diseases. The man knew exactly how to tackle Snafu’s numerous health issues. However, illness and infections weren’t the only obstacles standing in Snafu’s path to a thriving and healthy life.
8. Hunger Pains
Not only was the little dog carrying a number of infections, he was also extremely malnourished from many days of not eating. The lack of food put Snafu in the position where his body had begun digesting its own muscle.
Jenny was an outstanding nurturer when it came to animals and she made sure that Snafu was eating an abundance of food on a daily basis. Once well fed, the dog began acting as a dog should. With all his new energy, Snafu instantly began picking at his wounds. If not handled with haste, his behavior would lead to brand new infections. Jenny knew exactly what it would take to make him stop.
9. Getting to Know The Chimps
Jenny decided to put a cone around Snafu’s neck. It was the perfect measure to take to prevent him from injuring himself further. Despite the annoyance of the cone, it did not prevent the puppy from exploring the sanctuary and making friends with the other animals that lived there.
This naturally made Jenny and Jimmy a little nervous. Despite gaining back most of his health, Snafu was a shy and timid little dog. No one would be able to tell how he’d get along with all the chimpanzees. These wild apes can be both curious and extremely territorial. Hopefully, they wouldn’t see the little puppy as some sort of threat.
10. Chimps Welcome Him Into The Family
Luckily, the chimps and Snafu would end up bonding beautifully together. While he was still fragile from his condition, they’d watch over him like parents. The helpful apes would love carrying Snafu up and down stairs and leading him around the sanctuary grounds.
As he aged and matured, the relationship between Snafu and the chimps evolved past nurturing. They would eventually become less like parents to the dog and more like brothers and sisters. Seeing him nestled with the chimps as if he was part of their tribe was not a common sight by any means. As the months went by, life with the chimps brought on significant changes to Snafu.
11. Becoming A New Dog
Over the course of one year, Snafu had become a brand new dog. The timid and fragile puppy had become lost in the shadow of a fully-grown canine. The cone had been ditched, his fur had fully grown out and his timid demeanor had been replaced with that of a lively dog. Running freely throughout the sanctuary and playing with his chimp friends had become second nature for Snafu.
No dog in the world could have asked for a better home. On the other hand, Jenny and Jimmy were still far from free. The chimp sanctuary was as busy as ever, and there was no shortage of chimps needing to be rescued. Jenny and Jimmy were running out of free space for any new patients that needed their help. The couple soon found themselves having to make a tough decision regarding Snafu’s future.
12. Where Would Snafu Call Home
While Jenny and Jimmy did love Snafu to no end, their first priority at the sanctuary was to the chimps. The couple found themselves so wrapped up in their work that they began to feel that they weren’t giving the rescue dog all the love and care that he deserved.
Jenny and Jimmy talked for awhile about Snafu’s future and both agreed that it wouldn’t be at the chimp sanctuary. Ultimately, Jenny thought up the perfect place for Snafu to call home. While her decision was a heartbreaking one for her, Jimmy, Snafu and the chimps, it would be best for the dog.
13. Snafu’s Big Move
Snafu’s life amid the tribes and chimps of Liberia, Africa was about to end. The green brush and dirt paths were about to be replaced by a concrete jungle in the United States of America. Jenny, Snafu and Princess, the couple’s other dog, boarded a plane for the other side of the world.
While Snafu would be leaving his adoptive mother behind forever, he’d remain in the family as he was going to stay with Jenny’s sister and nieces. While they couldn’t exactly provide the little dog with the adventure of a chimp sanctuary, Snafu would be in for a pretty comfortable life in America. However, just how well would Snafu adapt to these drastic changes?
14. Life In Colorado
After giving her little dog a heartfelt farewell, Jenny took off back to Africa with the high hopes that Snafu would have no issues adapting to his new life. One thing that’s certain about Snafu is that he’s a fighter. Sure, saying goodbye to Liberia, Jimmy and Jenny and the chimps would be tough, but if anyone could pull through, it was him.
Luckily, the dog had a loving family and a beautiful house to call home. He had the time of his life playing with Jenny’s two young nieces as well as a pretty spacious backyard to run in. While most would expect all parties to move on with their lives rather quickly, they’d all soon find out that the saga wasn’t over.
15. Getting Some Internet Attention
Many people walked by Snafu on that sickly day back in 2006. It was only Jenny and Jimmy’s chance visit to that remote village that gave him a second chance at life. In one year, the pup managed to recover completely and start a new life in America.
While most would expect for Jenny, Jimmy and Snafu to move on and go about life on their separate paths very quickly, they’d soon be revisiting this chapter of their lives due to the internet. Once the story of this dog’s happy ending touched the internet, major media outlets would grab hold of the story and take things to new heights.
16. Snafu’s Story Hits The Masses
A number of major media outlets like The Dodo took the rescue pup’s inspirational story and ran with it. Snafu’s rescue story even hit YouTube in a series of touching videos. Reporters from multiple sources were quick to track down the couple and interview them about their experience with Snafu.
The Desmond family has since remained in the limelight. They used their fifteen minute of fame to push their cause of helping chimps and other wildlife across Africa. ABC recently contacted them and did a story covering Leo, a baby chimp that was taken in by the couple. The story led many viewers to wonder what the Desmond family would be up to next.
17. Jenny and Jimmy Fight On
While Snafu’s move saddened the couple, they continued their lifelong mission of saving chimps from chimp trafficking in Liberia and all over Africa. The baby chimp Leo served as another victory for the couple. He was torn from his family and spent his youngest months in a cage outside of a bar in a Liberian national park.
Jenny stated that he was jumpy and nervous when he first arrived to the sanctuary. However, he was immediately welcomed by the other chimps and has settled in quite successfully. However, chimp trafficking is unfortunately not a fading industry. Despite the high number of chimps rolling into their sanctuary, the couple are constantly fighting an uphill battle.
18. One of Africa’s Most Lucrative Businesses
Africa’s animals have more than one major threat up against them. The loss of their habitat is definitely the main enemy of the animals on the continent. However, poaching isn’t far behind it. On the continent as a whole, poaching brings in $10 billion a year.
Different animals are taken for a slew of different reasons. Chimps often find themselves victims of the live pet trade or the bush meat market, and the numbers are a lot for Jimmy and Jenny to go up against alone. Luckily for Liberia’s chimps, the couple specializes in pushing strategies to fight against chimp trafficking, and some of the chimps they helped came from unimaginable circumstances.
19. How The LCRP Fights the Good Fight
While one lone sanctuary might struggle in a fight against a trade as lucrative as chimp trafficking, the LCRP are far from alone alone. They have conservation partners like the Jane Goodall Institute, EcoHealth Alliance, Smithsonian Institute, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
They do their part in tracking down trafficked chimps and rescuing them. Most of the rescue chimps had been subjected to unthinkable circumstances and arrive at the sanctuary depressed and traumatized. That said, getting them out of the horrid environments they’re kept in is only half the battle. Every rescued chimp goes through therapy and is built back up into a healthy apes.
20. Some of Their Most Notable Rescues
One baby chimp named Gloria witnessed the passing of her mother and spent months locked away in horrible conditions with very little company from other chimps or humans. Jenny and Jimmy were able to collaborate with UN Mission to successfully rescue her. Another baby ape named Gola went through a similar experience. She was saved by a ranger but the poachers escaped with her mother, who was sold for bush meat.
Likewise, a baby chimp named Jack spent his early life hidden away in a chimp trafficker’s backpack. He wasn’t in the best shape when found, but quickly made a full recovery. Today, all these chimps are thriving along with hundreds of others who have been saved by the LCRP. With any luck, Jimmy and Jenny will be working for the safety of Africa’s chimps for years to come.
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