A Puppy Down on It’s Luck Gets a New Lease on Life at a Chimp Sanctuary

Published: Jan 25, 2023

The lifelong commitment to animal welfare makes it impossible to ignore a suffering creature like Jenny Desmond, who, with her husband Jimmy, runs the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility in West Africa. One day, the kind lady noticed an abandoned dog on the road while making her way back to the facility. The poor creature looked like he was dying. Unfortunately, Jenny’s expertise was with chimpanzees. Yet, she felt compelled to help this pooch even though she had no idea how to care for a dog with such a condition.

Initially, the puppy didn’t seem like it would survive, but after Jenny took charge, something amazing happened.

Abandoned by the Side of the Road

A persistent issue in the world is pet abandonment. It basically means that animals are left on their own. Either they are abandoned in secluded locations or on the streets, where no one can notice them. Puppies and kittens have been discovered in garbage cans, on highways, and tethered to park benches.

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This was the situation with a little dog discovered in a far-off community in Liberia. This tiny pup appeared to have been abandoned on the side of the road where he was sitting. Although none of the people appeared to care for the helpless creature, they seemed to object when a woman wanted to take him home.

Jenny Desmond to the Rescue

The woman we refer to was Jenny Desmond. She and her husband, Jimmy, not only ran the sanctuary in Liberia for chimpanzees to live in safety, they were the ones who established the facility. Even though the Desmonds’ primary focus is on rehabilitating wild and orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued from the illegal bushmeat and wildlife trades, the LCRP does not discriminate against any animal when it comes to the affection and care it provides.

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So, when Jenny and her coworkers saw the abandoned pup as they were passing through a small community in rural Liberia, she not only had to stop, she felt the need to rescue the poor animal.

She Had to take Action

Jenny immediately observed that the puppy had worms and a fever when they stopped to check on him, but those were just two of his many obvious problems. The pooch wasn’t just malnourished; it also appeared to have skin and eye diseases.

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Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Jenny immediately considered taking him to the facility in hopes of restoring his health. Nonetheless, the villagers present would have given her a hard time if she had done so. The animal caregiver was astonished to see the exact state the dog was in when she held him in her lap—up close, she was 100% sure the puppy’s illnesses needed to be treated immediately.

The Villagers Tried to Stop Her

Unsurprisingly, Jenny ran into some opposition from the people in the surrounding village when she tried to save the dog. She did not want to pay them to take him, especially considering she was confident no one cared for him. As she held the pup out to show them his scabbed coat, Jenny pointed out how they could clearly see that he was being devoured alive.

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Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

She confronted them with this question: “You want me to leave him here knowing he’s going to die?” Jenny quickly realized that saving the dog would not be as easy as she had anticipated.

The Reason Behind the Opposition

Even if she expected it, Jenny was still surprised to see how the villagers resisted her taking the puppy to the facility. She stopped because it was obvious from afar that the animal had been abandoned. So, the opposition she met intrigued the sanctuary manager—why didn’t they want to let go of the dying dog?

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

The obvious explanation is that one of them was the owner or possibly someone they knew from a nearby village. No one wanted to take the responsibility of rescuing the puppy, so they let him remain in the place where he was left. Somehow, they became familiar with the animal, and the villagers felt he was part of the community.

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Making a Promise She Won't Keep

In a video posted online, Jenny could be heard asking the villagers if they would agree for her to take the dog with the condition she would bring him back to them once he was okay. That appeared to be a sufficient justification for them to permit Jenny to take the pup with her.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

She would be heard later on saying in the video, as her vehicle was driving away, that she had no intention of bringing the puppy back. The woman was very certain that the dog would never have a happy life in that village where he was abandoned, barely holding on to life.

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The Puppy Might Not Make It

It was for the best that Jenny was able to save the sick dog at the time that she did. Without her intervention, she was positive that the puppy would have perished within two days. A closer look revealed that the dog had large bald spots and several wounds and was covered in dirt.

Source: jjdesmond/Twitter

Even though it appeared as though the puppy might not survive, Jenny was determined to do everything she could to help him. It was obvious that a lot of work would be required to save this dog, but fortunately, many at the shelter had the necessary expertise to treat wounded animals.

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The Possible Reason for His Hair Loss

It’s common for dogs to lose their hair and occasionally lose a lot of it. It is not typical, however, for this process to leave the animal with bald patches that are easily recognizable. It’s clear as day that the abandoned creature appears to have no hair at all. 

Source: jjdesmond/Twitter

There are many causes why dogs get bald spots, and one of them is infection or infestation brought about by mange mites, ringworm fungus, and bacteria. One of these is the culprit to the puppy’s condition. No wonder Jenny fought tooth and nail with the villagers to bring the pooch to her facility. Without urgent care, the disease-ridden animal could die.

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Taking a Bath for the First Time

As soon as they arrived at the sanctuary, the first thing that they did was give the dog a bath that it desperately needed. While the puppy sat powerless under the running water, Jenny and one of her coworkers gently scraped the filth encrusted into the animal’s fur to remove it.

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Jenny was well accustomed to doing this. According to one of her staff, the sanctuary founder had performed several heroic rescues in the past. Chimpanzees weren’t the only creature the loving human saved; she also rescued owls, chickens, and grasshoppers. Indeed, Jenny has never ignored the plight of an animal that needed help.

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He Finally Got a Name

The Desmonds came up with the name Snafu for their new little companion. Snafu was a timid and weak puppy when he initially came to the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection Center, where he got the best treatment for each condition. When he first arrived, it was obvious that the pup lacked the strength to go on living.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Nevertheless, to everyone’s amazement, Snafu would complete his rehabilitation in a matter of days, and it would appear that the rescue had been successful. Yet, first, the team needed to take care of a few critical things that needed to be done.

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What Was Wrong With Him?

When Snafu first arrived at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility, everyone noticed how extremely weak he was. Jenny herself believed the pup would not survive at all. The only reason she decided to bring him was to give him a fighting chance. Perhaps, the sanctuary manager thought, a miracle would happen, and the puppy would live to adulthood.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

With her experience in primate rescue and conservation, Jenny could easily see the survival abilities of abandoned animals. Looking at the canine, Jenny immediately perceived he was in a critical condition. The dog was not only malnourished, but he also had a fever and infections. Since he was only a pup, his body’s defense system was not yet at full power. 

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Receiving the Best Treatment

Snafu received care straight away so he could begin to heal. Jimmy Desmond is a wildlife veterinarian and consultant focusing on illegal wildlife trade and newly developing diseases. Indeed, the puppy was in proper hands for his medical needs.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Jimmy injected a medication just under the skin of the puppy so that it might be absorbed by the body quickly. It was obvious that he was suffering from several serious diseases, any one of which may have ultimately resulted in the pup’s demise had he not been rescued at the appropriate time. The Desmonds monitored Snafu’s condition daily, but they were unsure whether or not he was making any progress.

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He Consumed His Own Muscles for Protein

Did you know that when there’s nothing to eat, the body starts consuming itself after a few days? At some point, the body will have to resort to consuming muscle for protein since it will have no other choice. Snafu’s malnourishment and hunger had progressed to the point where he was “eating” his own muscles for nourishment. Jenny and Jimmy ensured he got plenty of food and drank to help him recover.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

It was obvious that Snafu had been denied these essentials while fending for himself in that village. When given food and water, the puppy would stand there absorbing it all for quite some time, seemingly not knowing what to do with them.

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The Proper Way to Treat a Malnourished Dog

When dogs are surrendered, found, or apprehended, animal shelters and rescue organizations frequently find themselves providing care for undernourished animals. The dog’s adoptive or foster parents, or the owners who take in strays, must provide the necessary care to ensure they get back to a healthy weight.

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When faced with caring for a malnourished dog, feeding them more comes naturally. Even though giving more nutritious food is undoubtedly a vital aspect of treatment and rehabilitation, there are other crucial things to remember when caring for pooches who were left to starve. So naturally, the Desmonds knew the right way to nurse Snafu back to health.

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His Fur Started to Grow Back

After five days of being cared for by the Desmonds, the puppy’s fur began to come back gradually. Jenny remarked that it “didn’t even look like he had fur or hair” when they initially discovered him, referring to how he looked the first time she laid her eyes on Snafu.

Source: jjdesmond/Twitter

Before treatment, not only large chunks of hair were missing on the puppy, but even portions of his skin were also coming off. After being treated by Jimmy, Snafu’s injuries were barely visible because of his fast-growing fur. After being cared for fewer than seven days, the puppy had remarkable indicators of progression in terms of its recovery.

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Snafu's Incredible Transformation

Jenny noted that there comes a day for most of the animals they rescue when they kind of take a turn for the worse. Of course, they readied themselves if the same thing happened to Snafu. Miraculously, it didn’t.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

After only a few days at the LCRP, the puppy’s spirit has already undergone a discernible transformation. This much is certain. The previously-shy dog quickly became more active and lively once he regained his health, became accustomed to his new surroundings, and found his footing. Snafu’s health improved to the point that he looked unrecognizable to everyone who had seen him on the first day he arrived at the facility.

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He Had to Put on the Cone of Shame

Because Snafu was getting into more mischief, the Desmonds had to be more cautious with how they handled him. Snafu had several open wounds all over his body, with pus coming out of them before he started treatment. Jenny observed that the wound was beginning to heal as a result of the medication, but the dog continued to bite at it, so they fitted him with a collar.

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Even though it was required that Snafu wear the “cone of shame” as part of his treatment, we have no reason to believe that he was embarrassed to be healing from his illnesses.

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Why Snafu Needed Protection From Himself

You may have heard of a hard plastic collar resembling a lampshade being referred to as “the cone of shame,” but no dog loves having to wear it. The Elizabethan collar is the correct term for the plastic paraphernalia since it resembles the high necklines popular during the reign of Elizabeth I of England.

Source: Cananda aint not real / wikicommons

These cones can be used to prevent hounds from licking or scratching at a wound, surgical incision, or other sore spots. The animals have the natural tendency to lick at any open cut they may have had, which can lead to more complications and even infection if the lesion is allowed to remain moist. Truly, Snafu needed to wear it to speed up his recovery.

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Making a Lot of Friends

Even with the tight collar around his neck, Snafu was still feeling good enough to begin mingling with everyone at the sanctuary, especially his new animal companions. Not only did he have no problem sharing meals with the more senior dogs that lived on the site, but he also got along perfectly with the chimpanzees.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Because Snafu was technically only a baby when he arrived, the chimps took great pleasure in assisting with his care by helping him down the stairs. Since the puppy was unfamiliar with steps, the chimpanzees were more than happy to carry him down like he was their baby.

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Becoming One of the Chimps

It didn’t take long for Snafu to start recovering under the watchful care of the Desmonds, and it wasn’t long after that when he started getting big. Snafu became a full-grown dog within a year, and he was as content as could be. It was clear the puppy felt right at home in the sanctuary.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Even better, having spent his entire life at the sanctuary, he enjoyed spending time with the rescued chimps. While Snafu did have a second chance at life, that wasn’t the end of his story. Snafu ultimately matured into the dog he was destined to be, but his circumstances would soon be altered after the Desmonds realized he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved.

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Is This Relationship Unheard of?

It was truly endearing to see a dog being pals with chimpanzees. Of course, animals of different species usually do not get along, but Snafu and his friends prove that is not always the case. Nevertheless, the puppy’s relationship with his primate buddies is not the first of its kind. 

Source: jjdesmond/Twitter

There was Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the Bluetick hound, who became inseparable after meeting at a reserve for endangered animals. The best buddies have received extensive media coverage, including in National Geographic and on the American talk shows *Oprah* and *Ellen*. There are many more such friendships, which makes us believe primates and dogs were born to be buddies.

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His Future Looked Uncertain

Within a year of being rescued, Snafu appeared to be a different dog than he had been in the past. His entire recovery was made possible by Jenny and Jimmy Desmond, who provided him with treatments, a sanctuary, and an abundance of love and affection. Let’s not forget the friends that surrounded him at his new home.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

At that moment, everything appeared to be going according to plan, but all of a sudden, the Desmonds understood that they would no longer be able to look after Snafu. As more creatures in need of assistance arrived at the refuge, the available space became increasingly congested.

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The Desmonds Wanted What Was Best for Snafu

Many creatures find their way to the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility, but it isn’t very frequent that they have to go. Even though Jenny had never been picky about the types of animals she cared for, she eventually came to terms with the fact that she and Jimmy spent most of their time working to save chimpanzees.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Naturally, they wanted Snafu to be able to live a life where his carers’ full attention was on him. So they needed to come up with a solution in order for their pet to be able to keep receiving much more of the love that they were giving to him.

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He Deserves Complete Love and Attention

Jenny and Jimmy fell in love with Snafu, and while they were glad of his recovery, their work at the sanctuary was still their priority. Even with their affection for the dog, Jenny and Jimmy could not keep him. Because they rescued chimps from all around Africa, running the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility required a significant amount of travel.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

The couple concluded that because many orphaned chimpanzees needed to be rescued by them, they could not provide Snafu with the level of care and attention that he required. Thankfully, Jenny and Jimmy devised an excellent plan to fix Snafu’s problem.

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Snafu Needs His Human

We’re all aware of how adorable and enjoyable dogs are. They also engage in a lot of eating, pooping, and mischief. In all honesty, furry creatures require a significant investment of time and focus. Jenny and Jimmy realized this, so they decided to look for someone else to care for Snafu full-time.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

If they could, the Desmonds would have loved to keep Snafu. Nevertheless, they have dedicated their lives to the rescue and preservation of chimpanzees in Africa, specifically in Liberia. After all, they established the LCRP sanctuary for that sole purpose. Still, because they have bonded with the lovable canine, they felt the need to make sure he found his perfect home.

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Finding the Perfect Home

One option for the Desmonds was to bring Snafu back to the village. Remember, Jenny promised the locals she’d return the dog once he was well. Because they had turned a blind eye to the puppy’s condition before, bringing Snafu back to them was out of the question for the sanctuary manager.

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Jenny gave it a lot of thought until finally; she came up with a brilliant idea. She wanted to send the dog to a place where he would receive abundant love and affection, and she knew the best place to get that from. It’s a place where people close to her heart reside.

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Those Close to Jenny's Heart

Jenny had a good idea of who would be the best fit for Snafu, and it turned out to be her sister’s family in Colorado. Jenny predicted that Snafu would have an amazing life after relocating to Colorado to be with her nieces. After spending her childhood with her sibling, Jenny gained an understanding of her loving and caring nature.

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Naturally, her sister passed those good qualities on to her daughters. When the girls first saw Snafu through a video call, they could not help but exclaim how fat and cute he was. It was unquestionably a big leap from when Jenny first discovered Snafu by the side of the road. She wished only happiness for Snafu in his new home.

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Saying Goodbye to Africa

Even though knowing that Snafu would be going to the best place he could possibly be, aside from the sanctuary, Jenny found it hard to say goodbye to her dog. She first held him in her arms only a year ago, almost certain he would not make it. 

Source: Անուշ Մկրտյան / wikicommons

Jenny grew attached to Snafu and found it hard to let go. Yet, she knew she needed to. It was for the best. The beloved rescue was on his way to Colorado, his forever home. Even though it would be quite an adjustment, Jenny knew Snafu would have the best time. The pup wasn’t just saying goodbye to Jenny and Jimmy, the facility staff, and his chimp buddies; he was saying goodbye to Africa.

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Loving His Forever Home

Snafu had grown very attached to his family at the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility. He was particularly fond of his parents, Jenny and Jimmy, who expressed their hope that Snafu would maintain the same joy in his new home in Colorado after moving there.

Source: Donny Moss/YouTube

Thankfully, that turned out to be the case! Snafu was overjoyed to be able to cuddle and have fun with Jenny’s nieces. With how happy he looked, one could easily guess that the dog could feel how loved he is by his new family just as much as the previous one he had in Africa.

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