The Snowdens wrote to Birmingham Zoo director Tom Briskey in April 1957 to inquire about the possibility of acquiring a cub. According to a Birmingham News interview, Briskey said that he "did everything in his power to discourage the brothers from their idea." But, after receiving additional pleas, he finally agreed to sell one male cub to them in late May.
By mid-July Dandy had grown to about 60 pounds on a diet of "Pablum" cereal, milk and horsemeat. He was kept in a fenced pen in the brothers' back yard, but it was becoming evident that his strength and appetite were exceeding their abilities as pet owners. The Snowdens expected to donate the lion to another zoo. Briskey said it was unlikely that the Birmingham Zoo would accept a return, claiming that the zoo was "lion poor" at the time.