Life has a funny way of presenting us with opportunities to do extraordinary things. Particularly when it comes to helping animals. Animals need just as much help as humans do and when anyone plays a role in the rescue or preservation of any animal, a special bond is formed. That was certainly the case for Shirley and her husband Tonie when they spotted a baby hippo in their front yard.
One day, during a flood, Shirley looked out the window of her home to survey the damage. Shirley got the surprise of her life when she noticed a small animal struggling in her front lawn. As Shirley looked closer, she realized that the animal was a tiny, newborn hippopotamus.
Shirley immediately ran out to see if the little hippo was ok. As Shirley approached, she saw that the hippo still had her umbilical cord attached to her. This meant that the little hippo had, literally, just been born. Shirley looked for any sign of the baby hippo's mother but she was nowhere to be seen.
The flood had swept the newborn hippo downstream directly after birth. This meant that the hippo had never seen her mother. Shirley scooped up the small hippo and took her inside. Shirley's husband, Tonie, was an ex-game ranger and had plenty of experience with hippos.
Because of his ranging experience, Tonie was able to create a substitute formula for the hippo mother's milk. The little hippo eagerly drank he formula from a bottle. Shirley and Tonie could only stare in awe at the gorgeous little miracle that they held. They decided to name her Jessica.
Because Jessica had never seen her mother, Shirley and Tonie were the very first things that Jessica laid eyes on. Because of this, Jessica saw Shirley and Tonie as her surrogate parents. This process is known as imprinting, which when an animal forms a special bond with the first thing they see.
Because they had been imprinted as Jessica's new parents, Shirley and Tonie took it upon themselves to raise Jessica and make sure she lived a long and healthy life. As Jessica grew, so did the love Shirley and Tonie had for her. They assumed some day that they would have to say goodbye to Jessica but the hippo had other plans. The video on the next page documents Jessica's amazing life with Shirley and Tonie. CLICK "NEXT PAGE" TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY...