When the Fox Valley Humane Association of Appleton, Wisconsin accepted a bonded pair of adoptable pets that included 4-year old Chocolate Lab Hank and his fuzzy purple hippo, shelter staff couldn’t have prepared for the chaos that the pair would cause at the shelter.
It all started when Hank arrived at the shelter with his adorable, though fairly lethargic best pal, Hippopotamus. From time to time, shelters receive animals that are closely bonded and must be adopted together.
This pair was no exception:
Hank and his purple hippo are a bonded pair, so if you aren’t ready for a 4 year old Chocolate Lab to come home when you adopt your fuzzy Hippopotamus…well, sorry, we can’t approve your application. The hippo won’t let us get an age on her, but we don’t think she’s quite as old as Hank..They’ve been together a long time though. She IS spayed and current on vaccinations, but does seem a bit lethargic. Hank is most definitely not. They do say that opposites attract…. #fvha #foxvalleyhumaneassociation #adoptme #adoptdontshop #labsofinstagram #rescuedog #chocolatelab #shelterdog #fuzzypurplehippo
But, as bonded pairs can sometimes take time to adopt together, something tragic happened while they waited for their perfect forever home.
‘Hippo’ underwent emergency surgery for an accident that led to her near-decapitation!
UPDATE: The Fuzzy Purple Hippo, bonded with Hank, who we told you about last week has had a medical emergency. Dr. Laura is currently performing life-saving surgery to repair the near-decapitation. Details of the incident which caused the injury are murky, as Hank is refusing to answer our questions. (Yes, we have tried sternly asking, “what did you DO??” but he only looks away with a guilty look on his face.) Please keep the Fuzzy Purple Hippo in your thoughts. We will continue to keep you updated. #fvha #foxvalleyhumaneassociation #shelterlife #fuzzypurplehippo
Although her future was uncertain, the amazing veterinary staff at Fox Valley were able to patch Hippo up and save her life.
Still, no one would step forward with information about the brutal attack on Hippo. So an investigation was launched by the Appleton Police Department.
UPDATE: Chief Thomas, of the Appleton Police Department, and K9 Blue (APD’s Therapy Dog in-training) came to FVHA this afternoon to examine evidence found in Hank and the Fuzzy Purple Hippo’s kennel. We are confident that with the exceptional investigative skills of Blue and the Chief, the case of the Hippossault will be closed soon. A formal announcement from the chief has been scheduled for tomorrow morning. (Swipe to view all photos) @appletonpolicedepartment #fuzzypurplehippo #fvha #foxvalleyhumaneassociation #shelterlife #therapydog
While police investigated the incident, picketers lined up outside the shelter in support of Hank and to demand he be cleared of all charges against him.
After her recovery, Hippo met with a therapist to ensure she felt safe in her sometimes-tumultuous relationship with Hank.
UPDATE: Fuzzy Purple Hippo met with a therapist this morning to discuss whether or not she feels safe in her relationship with Hank. Although their love for one another is very apparent, we want to be sure that there are no underlying issues and that she is not suffering from any emotional scars from her injuries. HIPPO laws prohibit her therapist from disclosing what she said in their session. …wait…we meant HIPPA laws, sorry. **Domestic violence and PTSD are serious issues. If you or someone you know are are suffering, help is available! The National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE PTSD USA Helpline 877-717-PTSD #fuzzypurplehippo #fvha #foxvalleyhumaneassociation #shelterlife
Finally, it was determined that not only was Hank NOT guilty of the senseless violence against his best fuzzy friend, he was ultimately a hero! The entire incident was determined to be an accident as detailed on the Appleton Police Department’s Facebook page:
On the evening of Monday, July 10 after FVHA staff had left for the night, the Fuzzy Purple Hippo attempted to scale their kennel door. Having opposable thumbs (a design flaw at the stuffie factory?) she believed that she could open the lock if she got to the other side, then free Hank as well. The pair planned to grab a few treats from the box that they stare longingly at all day from their kennel, snag a comfy blanket from the cart in the hall, then head out to the backyard to snuggle and stargaze. The romantic night of their dreams…
…things, as you may have guessed, did not go exactly as planned…
Fuzzy Purple Hippo made it to the top of the kennel door with the sort of grace and finesse not typically seen in a hippopotamus, and Hank saw his periwinkle angel in a whole new light. His big chocolate heart thumped an extra beat.
As quickly as his heart had soared, it crashed…when her silky fur caught on the wire at the very top of the kennel. His heart wrenching howl could be heard throughout the shelter as she struggled to free herself but could not. Hank slid his bed to the door, made a mountain of his blankets, and climbed atop it all until he could stretch high enough to rescue his damsel in distress.
Hank cared for his princess throughout the night until the staff arrived and Dr Laura could perform the life-saving surgery that she needed.
Why did he not just explain what happened from the beginning and avoid the speculation and accusations, you ask? That’s exactly what we wanted to know!
Hank said that he was scared that the Fuzzy Purple Hippo would get in trouble for trying to get out of their kennel and he wanted to protect her. He was willing to go to prison to keep her free and able go to a good home.
What about Fuzzy Purple Hippo, you ask? How could she let Hank take the fall? She couldn’t. She was so heavily medicated after her surgery that she didn’t understand that Hank was in trouble.
Hank kept telling her that everything was going to be just fine and that she should just focus on healing. It wasn’t until she spoke with her therapist, then saw the police dog in her kennel, that she knew that something was very, very wrong.
Fuzzy Purple Hippo explained the entire series of events to Chief Thomas and K9 Blue, who confirm that her account matches the evidence found at the scene. **see evidence markers 5 and 6 in the crime scene photos from the last post**
Hank and Fuzzy Purple Hippo have now waived their confidentiality agreements with their attorney and therapist, and both professionals have confirmed that their clients’ descriptions of the tragic event match, as well. The only discrepancy between the two stories is one which will forever boil down to a matter of he-said-she-said… Both Hank and the Fuzzy Purple Hippo are insisting that the other is the hero in the incident. She for her bravery, spirit, resiliency, and love, and Hank for his daring rescue, ingenuity, loyalty, and heart.
As soon as Hank was cleared of any wrongdoing, the best news of all – he (along with Fuzzy Purple Hippo) were adopted!
Congratulations to Hank, Hippo, and their entire new family!