Delhi's Diary 2003 ~ 2008

Delhi's Last Days


March 11, 2008 ~ In the early hours of the morning while her sisters and caregivers slept, Delhi made her transition. Her passing was silent and peaceful, she passed without waking. We are all spending the day honoring our last precious hours with her; caregivers are still fussing around her, whispering quiet goodbyes. Misty carefully touched all over Delhi’s body and then gently stepped over her, sheltering her dearly departed friend. We are honored to have been Delhi’s caregivers, thankful to be loved by such a kind and wise being. The gifts that Delhi has bestowed upon all of us have been immeasurable. We are ever grateful.

March 9, 2008 ~ Delhi has been soaking in the loving kindness of her caregivers and sisters. She remains in her stall which has taken on the feel of a sacred space. Soft music flows from the front of her stall. This has become her focal point so that is where her gifts have been placed; burning candles, vases of fresh cut flowers, and figurines—all loving arranged with her Tibetan prayer flag suspended above. Delhi continues to eat but with less vigor than before. She is also drinking but her intake is greatly reduced. She savors her daily bath which has become a sweetly anticipated ritual, a deepening of connectedness for Delhi and her caregivers. It is the greatest gift to experience her calmness.

The past three days we have noticed a shift; Delhi is sometimes less present, she is somewhere else while still being here. Her less present state does not feel bad, it just feels different—like she is somewhere else. When she is with us she is incredibly soft and relaxed, light as a feather, floating and filled with joy. As we recognize that it is possible that Delhi’s time is nearing we are thankful for the guidence we have received; helping us to understand how to support Delhi’s transition without burdening her with our fears. Reciting Delhi’s prayer brings us peace and reassurance.

Delhi’s prayer: Delhi, I pray for your safe journey; unencumbered, light-footed and protected. I pray for your safe journey to where your spirit needs to go to.


February 29, 2008 —Delhi, pictured here with her dear friend Misty standing protectively over her, is savoring her multi-species hospice care. Pampered by caregivers and elephant sisters alike, Delhi continues to be calm and comfortable. In the past two days we have noticed that she is slowing down, eating slower and sleeping for longer stretches of time. She especially favors her long baths, free choice produce banquets and cushy pillows provided by ITW Shippers of Mt. Pleasant, TN.

Misty and Delhi

February 28, 2008 ~ Misty spent a long time with Delhi today and Delhi seemed to enjoy her company. Misty is a big girl who often has difficulty being gentle but when it comes to Delhi, Misty makes sure that she is soft, gentle, and extra careful about where she puts her feet.

Misty and Delhi

February 18, 2008—Delhi had a very good day again today—incredibly relaxed and peaceful. She slept more than normal and ate a little less, but is unbelievably calm, making it difficult to stop ourselves from curling up next to her to catch up on our sleep as well. She seemed a little more distant at times. Our Dear Delhi is starting to slow down a little more and remaining calm in the process of doing so.

February 17, 2008—Tarra came in to visit Delhi this afternoon. First Tarra played with all of the sawdust and then she spent precious time interacting with Delhi, exchanging trunk touches and smiles.

February 14, 2008— Delhi got a facial of sorts today. She has developed two small pressure wounds on the underside of her face, a place that is quite difficult to get to. This morning two of her caregivers removed the shavings and hay that were under Delhi’s head so they could flush the wounds and apply medication. Getting underneath Delhi’s massive head is no small feat since she only lifts her head for about a second at a time while shifting.

So Mary and Kat made a kind of game of it; with one person on one side of Delhi’s head and one person on the other—just like in the summer when the caregivers would help Delhi swat those big pesky horse flies that always seemed to land in the places that Delhi could not reach. Each time Delhi lifted or shifted her head, the caregivers reached underneath and grabbed out handfuls of shavings and hay. As they laughed, Delhi smiled. When the entire area around Delhi’s face and head was clean, they slipped a flake of hay under her head to give them access to the underside. This way they were able to access her eye and the small abrasion next to it. The caregivers talked to Delhi explaining exactly what they planned to do and how. They told her they would clean the wound with saline that had been warmed, for her comfort it was not cold and that they were just trying to help. Delhi not only was fine with the medical attention, she seemed to want to help out. As her eye and abrasion were being flushed she would lift her head to give better access to the area and lean into the warm-water washes of her eye. All the while, not paying attention to food treats, just engaging her two caregivers in play and assisting them in their job of caring for an absolutely amazing girl.

She really never stops amazing us and reminding each of us just how wonderful she is. It’s indescribable just how full she makes your heart feel.

February 11, 2008— Our sweet Delhi continues to rest comfortably in the company of her family. A friend sent wonderful flute music for us to play for Delhi. She has been incredibly relaxed and perhaps this music is helping. All of the girls have been peaceful, keeping the energy in the barn very mellow. Today Delhi’s preferred foods were watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes. It seems what she craves changes from day to day. Her caregivers find great joy in providing treats that she savors. The back of Delhi’s stall has become a loving display of photos, candles, elephant figurines, flowers and a Tibetan prayer flag. The gifts have appeared unprompted over the past week, gifts of love from caregivers and other staff members. Delhi has given us so much over the past few years and today she is teaching us to live in the moment; no projection, no assumption, no worry—just Delhi with us in this very moment.

February 8, 2008— Delhi continues to amaze us. Following her acupuncture and enema treatments, Delhi has begun to defecate normally, giving her caregiver an excuse to spend more time tending to her, insuring that her bed of sawdust is clean and dry. We switched her meds again and she continues to take them readily. We all share the joy and honor of getting to know dear Delhi, whether in person or through cyberspace—strangely there seems to be no barrier when it comes to these gentle giants. We ask that you join us in prayer for Delhi’s safe journey by using these inspired words. If we pray these words, and just these words, our voices and love will bond together creating the wave of loving energy that will protect Delhi as she makes her journey, remembering that where she is going is not necessarily for us to know, but for us to unconditionally support.

Delhi’s prayer:
Delhi, I pray for your safe journey; unencumbered, light-footed and protected.
I pray for your safe journey to where your spirit needs to go to.

Delhi's Prayer

February 6, 2008— Although Delhi was showing no signs of discomfort, we decided to be proactive and bring in Dr. Mikota to do acupuncture on Delhi to help move her bowels. Delhi was awesome, accepting the treatment with only a couple of comments—the guttural verbalization she makes to remind her caregivers that she is in charge and calls the shots. We all reassured her that she indeed is still in charge. A few hours after the acupuncture treatment Delhi received a warm water enema. After about twenty minutes she began to defecate. Again, she was calm and showed no pain. Acupuncture and warm water enemas are a gentle way to stimulate Delhi’s bowels and seemed to be a good treatment combo for her. Her system is slowing down as she gracefully moves through her process. Caregivers continue to shower Delhi with love and care, taking turns being with her 24/7.

February 4, 2008—Dr. Steven Scott paid Delhi a visit this morning. He spent some time being brought up to the moment on her vitals and caregiver observations. She continues to rest comfortably and shows no concern or fear. She is eating hay and produce, bananas were her favorite today. We are grateful that she is continuing to take her oral pain meds so that we don't have to give her shots; that is a blessing.

February 2, 2008— Delhi settled in for another of her long naps early Thursday morning and has not risen. The option of lifting her in a sling was discussed and rejected due to Delhi's advanced age (62+ years) and terminal foot disease. Alternatively, it was decided to keep her comfortable and pain free while supporting her through her process. Last night, Misty took turns sleeping next to Delhi then protectively standing over her while Delhi slept. All of the elephants remain calm and peaceful in Delhi's presence. She is eating, drinking periodically and seems quite content. We switched her pain reliever from banimine to ibuprofen today. She was amazing. The grand lady, who in the past would clamp her mouth shut tight and refuse to accept nasty tasting meds hidden in any medium, graciously accepted twenty-five apples and oranges, mostly oranges, with one 800mg ibuprofen pill in each one. She savored the fruit, then stretched, rested, savored the next and then stretched until each of her pills were eaten. Lauren, Kat, Scott, Mary, Carol, Misty and Dulary continue to shower Delhi with love and constant physical attention. Delhi is an angel, we are so blessed to be in her presence. She may be leaving us from this physical plane but never will she leave us from the world of wise souls, watching over us as we continue our work for her and her sisters. Please send light and peaceful thoughts of acceptance for our Grand Dame. True to her advanced species she would not want us to worry, because worry is wasteful—instead of worry, send love. The most profound thing you can do for dear Delhi right now is to open your heart in love and acceptance.

Misty and Delhi
Misty and Delhi sleeping together

January 25, 2008— Delhi's last nap rejuvenated her for almost a week. Then again, early Friday morning, sometime after Scott left the barn at 2AM, Delhi laid down on her pile of shaving for another long nap. This time the caregivers were more comfortable regarding their role in Delhi's routine. Her vitals were monitored and her demeanor evaluated. It seemed this time Delhi was not as soft and relaxed as she had been the past two times she took her long naps. A remedy was prescribed to help her soften. If effective, the remedy would help her benefit from the rest by removing the discomfort she was experiencing. Even though Delhi appeared a little uncomfortable it was nothing that would suggest that she was in unnamable pain. Her leg stretches were a little stiff, not fluid like we would prefer to see.

The remedy worked and Delhi settled right in and indeed benefited from her long nap. The caregivers are fully aware of how their emotional state can impact the elephants, so during times like these, when Delhi takes an extra long nap, we try to keep our anxiety in check. We all do our best to not project into the future, not burden Delhi with our fear of losing her and to focus on sending her support and acceptance for whatever is to come. And most importantly, we lavish Delhi with all of the love we feel for her. At 11 PM, as Scott dozed off just feet away from Delhi, she silently got up, doing her best not to wake him. Scott opened his eyes to see Delhi drinking from her personal automatic waterer—just as content as she could be. What an amazing lady she is!


January 19, 2008— 30 hours had passed since Delhi rose from her extended slumber. She has been active and eating normally. Scott stayed up until 2pm redoing Delhi’s shavings bed to perfection. If she laid down again Scott wanted her to be completely comfortable. Again when AM staff entered the barn they saw that Delhi was once again snuggled in a bed of shavings sound asleep. Without disturbing her they checked her breathing and examined the area around her body to ascertain approximately how long she had been lying down. That is just one of the great things about elephants, they defecate several times a day which can come in handy when a caregiver is trying to determine a timeline in just such a situation. It appeared that Delhi had been sleeping for no more than two hours…so they quietly crept away so she could sleep.

Her second sleeping marathon was nearly a duplicate of the first. Caregivers monitored her as she rested paying close attention to any change in posture or signs of discomfort. Delhi never exhibited any signs of discomfort or concern, she simply rested. A remedy was administered but this time she got up before it was time for the second dose. Before 30 minutes had passed she was up on her feet, eating, drinking, and looking at everyone with that “what? I was just sleeping” look. Apparently Delhi does know how to take care of herself.

January 17, 2008—This morning when caregivers entered the barn to start the AM shift, they found Delhi sleeping comfortably on a pile of soft shavings in her favorite stall. Misty and Dulary were huddled close in an adjacent stall, gently stroking Delhi’s face along with each others. The feeling in the barn was calm. The caregivers went about their chores taking care not to disturb Delhi’s slumber, appreciating that she was taking some weight off of her slowly deteriorating feet. Delhi is over 60, happy and playful and living with a full blown case of osteomyelitis in both front feet.

It was not until early afternoon when Scott began to wonder if Delhi should be thinking about getting up; a conscientious caregiver is always challenged to allow the animal to do what they feel is best. This idea is contrary to the caregiver inclination to always be helping. In this case Delhi proved once again that the elephants have the wisdom to know what they need. If allowed they take care of themselves quite well.

By the time Delhi had been sleeping for 10 hours her vets had prescribed remedies to stimulate her to get up and a plan was readied in case the hoist was required. Delhi received three doses of pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy which in this case was prescribed to address her complacency with getting up. You see Delhi was quite comfortable lying down; she was warm and cozy. She was being hand fed her favorite foods, pampered by her sister elephants and caregivers, in between her bouts of deep slumber. At no time did she show any sign of discomfort, fear or concern. By all accounts she was just taking a very long nap. Our concern was that elephants can experience problems if they remain in a reclined position for too many hours. The problems are caused by pressure on their internal organs which makes it increasingly hard to breathe as well reduced circulation. For these reasons, elephants usually only sleep a few hours at a time—normally 4 hours in 24. But remember, Delhi is a senior citizen so she has been known to sleep more hours in a stretch than the other elephants.

The game plan was discussed and we were all in agreement that if Delhi did not respond to the series of homeopathic remedies then she would be given a dose of banamine. If she was avoiding pain by lying down then the banamine would cut the pattern of pain giving her the freedom to get up. At 6pm, Delhi was still snoozing away so Scott administered the banamine while Kat and Mary hand fed her favorite treat—corn on the cob. A call went out to the other barns for their supply of corn and by morning the Asian barn cooler was over flowing with Delhi’s personal stash. The ten o’clock feed came and went with Delhi content to continue to catch up on her beauty sleep; her vitals were monitored and blood work was done in house. Her pulse was normal, her tongue was a perfect pink, and her breathing was normal and constant. Then at 11:45pm with one kick of her back leg Delhi righted herself and rose to her full stature which to all of us seemed feet taller than she was when she laid down. She was downright radiant, with that heart-melting twinkle in her eye and a cute little grin on her perky mouth. She accepted the hose Scott offered and drank for an eternity, then proceeded to eat and be fussed-over by caregivers and elephants alike. Yes, we were all relieved because even though we believe that Delhi is in charge of her own destiny and that we must support her choices for her life and passing, we were hoping to be blessed with more time with the magnificent lady…and we are.


November 23, 2004 — Delhi's one year anniversary!

» Read the anniversary messages for Delhi.



Delhi and the girls


September 9, 2004

Today marks one month that Delhi has been a free elephant. What an inspiration!

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August 9, 2004 11:45AM CT

Delhi's quarantine is officially over. Carol opens the gate and Delhi is free to go.

Delhi's Journey - Follow along in her footsteps as she enters the wilderness paradise at the Elephant Sanctuary where she is now spending her first weeks of freedom.

Tarra has been waiting for days to make Delhi's acquaintance and wastes no time crossing the pasture to meet her. The interaction is pleasant yet uneventful. Joanna and Scott come to congratulate Delhi on her release and then off she goes, leaving Tarra and Bella behind.


Free at last....

Delhi and her caregivers have waited too long for her introduction to her new family and release into the habitat. Delhi did well throughout her quarantine but near the end she began to show a yearning to interact with the other elephants. It was painful to watch the other elephants pace around Delhi's yard and not be able to get close. Finally her quarantine is lifted and Delhi is free to go! After meeting Tarra close and personal, Delhi wasted no time exiting her quarantine yard and heading directly into the habitat. She was in no great hurry; there was no "granny dash" but she was definitely curious of her new surroundings. She walked across the open pasture to the creek that divides the valley. She dusted in the fresh dirt and sampled the china grass growing along the creek.

This vegetation is new to Delhi and from the look on her face and her grazing activity, the china grass was a big hit. Delhi followed her nose, munching on trunkfulls of the succulent mini bamboo grass until she reached an area that used to be one of Barbara's favorites. This is an area of the creek that has dense vegetation, trees and more china grass then Delhi could consume in a week, but she was determined to try. That night Carol set out her sleeping bag on the edge of the dry creek bed to monitor Delhi during her first night. Just a good excuse to spend the night out under the stars in the company of the great beasts.

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August 7, 2004

Jenny, Tarra, Shirley and Delhi are ready to get to know each other.


July 30, 2004

the Waiting Game
The Waiting Game—Ele-Cam composite

Delhi and her shadow, Tarra—Ele-Cam composite


July 29, 2004

Delhi likes the convenience of the portable pool/water trough.

As per the USDA requirements, Delhi remains in quarantine. Talk about a precedent setting case. Delhi has contributed volumes to her species including, possibly, the longest quarantine on record. The caution is a safeguard for the health of unexposed elephants. Delhi's extended quarantine meets USDA requirements which applies not only to Delhi but to all the members of the Hawthorn herd. We do not know where all of the Hawthorn elephants will be placed, but we do suspect that they will be kept separate from non-exposed elephants for an extended period of time to ensure everyone's health.

Delhi seems to be enjoying her new yard and all of the regular pampering that she has grown so accustomed to. One of our avid EleCam viewers captured Delhi turning over her water bucket and being visited by the portable shower wagon...pulled by the infamous 4-wheeler.

Delhi with the water bucket
Ele-Cam composite

Ever since Delhi moved over to the new yard Tarra has been anxious to make her acquaintance. Delhi's integration into the herd cannot come soon enough for Tarra.

Tarra is eager for Delhi to join the herd
 Ele-Cam capture

July 28, 2004

After a refreshing bath, Delhi made her way down the back alley which leads to the night yard, an 8-acre yard adjacent to the main habitat. She accessed the area and decided to go into the area where Tina used to spend all of her time when she was outside. Delhi walked all the way into the trees and started munching on the lush vegetation. She was in ele-heaven all day. As the sun was setting, Delhi settled in for a long nap. She is very comfortable with the move which allows her to be closer to her soon-to-be-found freedom, and the other elephants. This move affords Delhi with more space while adhering to her quarantine requirement.

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Ele-Cam composite


July 27, 2004

This time of year the elephants are outside 24/7. Sissy and Winkie used to come backto the barn at night just to be with Tina. Since Tina's death,we have seen a shift in the elephants' behavior. They are spending much more time together. Sis and Winks no longer return to the barn each night; instead, they remain with the other elephants in the habitat. Since the main Asian barnis now empty, Delhi has moved in. At 7:00 p.m. CT, she walked right past the quarantine barn into the main Asian barn. After a quick inspection, she proceeded directly outside to the back alley. With a sparkle in her eye, she checked it out then came back inside to inspect her new spacious barn, complete with automatic waterers. EleCam viewers were given a late night treat watching Delhi play with the suspended tire and explore her new surroundings.

Exploring her new space
Ele-Cam composite


July 1, 2004

Delhi loves to play ball.

Delhi playing tether ball.

Delhi playing tether ball with Scott.


June 6, 2004

Delhi had a great time playing with a branch that started out as a toy and ended up as a snack.

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June 2, 2004

At 10:00 p.m. Delhi had not come into the barn; instead, she was fast asleep in the pasture. At 11:00 p.m. she woke up and was ready for her late night feed...outside. It was obvious that she had no desire to come in. When checked at 12, 1, 2 & 3 a.m., she was still contently grazing away with no interest in returning to the barn. For the first time since her arrival, Delhi decided to spend the entire night outside. We could not be more pleased that she is comfortable enough to stay out all night.

May 31, 2004

Delhi's quarantine has been extended.

May 16, 2004

Delhi enjoys a rainy day playing, then grazing, and then playing and grazing at the same many choices.

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May 9, 2004

Delhi enjoyed this treat sent by Linda Dice, Jac Hone, Trish Kirk, Toni Miles, Karen Gaines, Margot Bowen, Lee Arami, and Angelika Mundt in honor of BONNIE BURN'S May 10th birthday.

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April 27, 2004

Delhi's x-rays indicate that ;her condition is stable. It is hard to determine if there is improvement at this early stage but judging from her attitude, weight gain and improvement in the condition of her feet, we continue to be optimistic.


April 10, 2004

Delhi has been enjoying the great weather and rapidly growing pasture grasses. Even though the grasses are hardly long enough to graze, she spends all day walking around happily grazing away. Right now she favors clover. If she can entice a keeper to detour from their appointed duties long enough to toss her a few soccer balls she will engage in play behavior resembling that of a rambunctious baby elephant. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious. After the ball game she will graze a little more and then fold to the ground for a well deserved nap!

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March 28, 2004

More x-rays were taken of Delhi's feet yesterday. She has finally gotten over her fear of the x-ray machine, she did great! Her feet continue to heal and her spirits are high.

Many of you will notice that she Delhi put on a bit of weight. She has a very healthy appetite. Our challenge is making sure she does not gain too much weight.

Today Delhi enjoyed the sun, grazing and bathing. She has a new water trough big enough to soak herself fully. It has an automatic float so no matter how much water she uses the trough always remains full, she likes that idea. We are all very anxious for her to be released from quarantine so she can join the other elephants and discover the ponds. Until then, her mini-pond will suffice.

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March 15, 2004

Delhi has had a great couple of days outside enjoying the sun and activity around the barn. She was observed playing with her pile of balls today. Several have strings attached which she grabs with her trunk and flings around and onto her back. Delhi has also developed a fondness for the Sanctuary dogs. She waits for the dogs to come running by and then joins them with her signature Granny-dash. Two more months until she is allowed to join the herd.

February 22, 2004

Delhi was feeling quite feisty today. After her nap she wanted to play. She prefers kick ball but also like to play tag..."you're it", with the dogs and anyone else who will join in. This is great exercise for Delhi and shows that she is feeling pretty good.

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February 21, 2004

Delhi is doing well. She continues to be very playful and in good spirits. Today she settled in for a nap on a shady hillside, surrounded by a pile of toys.

 Delhi napping with her toys

February 2, 2004

Delhi continues to recover daily. We are seeing a marked improvement in the pads of her front feet which are callusing, regenerating into a thick pad. The daily foot soaks and Greentwo salve, along with a healthy diet and exercise have paid off. Delhi is moving more freely. She no longer has that sprawled stance she had when she first arrived and spends much of her time playing. Today it was raining, so mud became her focus. She spent the afternoon playing in the mud outside the front door of her barn. At one point something caught her fancy and she did the "granny dash" down the lane out into her yard disappearing around the hill. Without hesitation she did a full body slam into a soft mountain of hay created by a "round bale" that she had demolished earlier. She must feel good because she is playful, active and in good spirits.

January 20, 2004

Delhi had the first in a series of trunk washes this morning. Dr. Scott arrived just after dawn to observe as keepers collected a sample of fluid from Delhi's trunk. This procedure is not new to Delhi. Over the past several years she has had this procedure numerous times. Federal law requires that all elephants are tested for tuberculosis annually. The reason why Delhi had been tested more often is that one of the elephant she lived with at the Hawthorn Corporation suffered from TB. Although Delhi has never had TB nor does she exhibit any signs of TB, monthly trunk washes are being done as a precautionary measure before allowing her in with the other elephants. Once Delhi has completed six months of tests she will be allowed to join the other girls.

January 18, 2004

Delhi really is a great-escape artist. This evening when she was ready to come into the barn she did not wait for an escort. She simply pushed on the chain hard enough to spring the lock and nonchalantly walked up the corridor to the barn. There was no danger of her getting into an area that she should not because of the Delhi-designated corridor that leads from her yard to her barn, but it is humorous to see how spunky she is. Looks like a chain and average size padlock are not going to be sufficient to secure Delhi, so we will have to graduate to a giant size lock. Can't wait for Delhi to have access to the habitat! She is going to be a joy to watch.

Delhi enjoys a mild January day at the Sanctuary

January 14, 2004

Delhi's x-rays were read today. The good news is that the infections have not gotten worse. It is hard to judge how much better the condition is at this early stage.

The x-rays have been sent to The University at Knoxville to be read by Dr. Ramsay and compared to her first x-rays. Our goal is to see steady progress which we believe the x-rays suggest. This will be a slow process, but if we succeed the infection will be stopped.

The weather has been glorious, in the high 50s, beautiful weather for January. Delhi has been outside every day for the past week.






Sanctuary for Delhi

January 1, 2004

Delhi spent all day outside. She watched as Jenny, Shirley, Bunny, Sissy and Winkie made their way out into the habitat to enjoy the sun and a leisurely nap. She could even see Jenny scale the hill on her climbing excursion. Shirley stood in the pasture, waiting patiently as Jenny "did her thing". When Jenny finally returned Shirley greeted her and Jenny folded down onto the grass for a well earned nap.

Delhi explored her entire yard, watched Scott as he prepared the elephant trailer for the trip to Georgia to pick up Tange and Zula and napped in her favorite spot under the trees. She woke to find Tarra sleeping on the hill behind her.

Delhi knows everything the other girls are doing. Luckily she is more patient then her caregivers. We cannot wait for her to join her new family. In the afternoon Delhi solicited Scott for a friendly soccer match...guess who won.

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Just a lovely place to be!


December 31, 2003

More x-rays were taken of Delhi's feet today. Lonnie, the vet tech from the Hohenwald Animal Hospital graciously took time out of his holiday to assist with the procedure. Several x-rays were taken and Delhi did a wonderful job. It took her a few minutes to become reacquainted with the big-yellow-monster (the portable x-ray machine) but when she once again realized the x-ray machine was not going to hurt her she settled down and let us take several x-rays, eight in total. The results will be posted ASAP. In the meantime, her feet are looking quite good.

Front outside left foot
Front outside left foot
front outside right foot
Front outside right foot
Front inside left foot
Front inside left foot

December 25, 2003

The weather was beautiful today. Delhi had a special surprise awaiting her when she walked out of her barn this morning. A new corral! The simple joys do not escape Delhi; she ran into the new yard and began to explore every inch of it. She found some old round bales of hay and had a “hay day” playing in them. Her playfulness is infectious.
It did not take long for her to discover the big sycamore tree in the middle of her yard. She scratched every available inch of her body; behind her ears, the inside of her legs and all over her back. Then she reached out to grab a small branch that was eye high and quickly made a snack of it. She cruised around inspecting the fence line, the pasture and the wooded area. Her eyes were sparkling with curiosity and pleasure.
A huge thank you goes to all of Delhi's avid supporters who contributed to her expanded yard. The day she is allowed to go into the habitat with the other elephants cannot come soon enough but until then, her new corral will bring her hours and days of healthy activity.

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December 19, 2003

Delhi received a toy today addressed specifically to her. It is a ball that when stepped on the air blows out but when the pressure is released it sucks the air back in. No matter how hard she steps on the ball it will not break…perfect for elephants. Delhi is enjoying hours of entertainment with this ball!

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December 12, 2003

Delhi was anxious to get outside again today. There was frost on the ground and a chill in the air so she did not go out until 11 a.m. Prior to that she was pampered with a warm bath, herbal foot soaks and soothing salve applied to her wounds. Once outside she played a little. Not as much as yesterday but enough to bring smiles to her caregivers' faces. She played kickball with Scott and Carol until it was obvious that Delhi was the winner.

What a wonderful spirit!

Many of you have asked why Delhi’s face looks green in places. Elephants love to rub and scratch on things in their barn and outside. The corral pipe in her barn is painted green. Don't worry it is not toxic.Delhi’s face is so light from the natural depigmentation that a little bit of green residue shows up on her face and head looking almost like grass stains.

December 11, 2003

Today was sunny and reasonably warm for December. Delhi could not wait to get outside. She did her granny dash from the barn to the sand pile and then out to the grass. She was full of energy and wanted to play. When Scott approached with an armful of hay she decided that he would make a good playmate. For nearly fifteen minutes she engaged in play behavior and she was not gentle about it. Scott did his best to be a good playmate. The problem was that Delhi is agile and kept throwing her legs out to the side and straight up in the back. Scott would tickle her stomach and then she would wiggle and throw a leg out. If she had another elephant to play with she would be in heaven, but for the time being Scott will simply have to do. He was a good sport about it.

Great Ele-toys!



December 5, 2003

Due to cold weather, today was the first day that Delhi had to stay inside until late afternoon. Usually she is outside by 10am, but today she had to wait until nearly 3pm.

Thanks to the generous donations of many Ele-Friends, Delhi received a new hanging toy to distract and keep her active. The toy kept her busy until she could go outside, where she immediately began to throw dirt and sand. 

Finally she plopped down on the grass for a nap under sunny skies.






New toys keep Delhi entertained

So much fun

We took blood from Delhi and Tina today for a base line blood panel. This is just another step in determining and monitoring their health. They were awesome. Each stood perfectly still and allowed Scott to insert the needle in a vein in their ear. Delhi has large veins on the front side of her ear which made the procedure easy. Tina's procedure was equally quick and simple thanks to the huge veins on the back side of her ear.

Medical procedure      Scott takes blood from a large vein in the ear

December 4, 2003

Delhi is a kid at heart. She could not wait to get outside in the mud today. You think you have problems when your neighbors' dogs wanders over into your yard…Delhi has made a muddy mess of the front yard. We really do not care as long as she is having fun! You decide for yourself.

Playing in the mud

What a good rainy day!
Oh so cool!

Good ol' mud
So much fun I'm so cute

Yea for Delhi

December 3, 2003

Delhi is very easy going but at first she was quite distrusting of the Sanctuary dogs.  Everywhere she looked there was a pesky dog. Not that they harassed her or even paid much attention to her but life on the road for a circus elephant is full of close encounters with the canine variety.  Circus elephants quickly learn that it is best to scare off a stray dog before it tries to bite you from behind.  The problem for circus elephants is that that they are chained to the ground on two legs, with little room to move. While chained they cannot turn around. When a stray dog approaches from behind, the elephant feels vulnerable.  Many times the dog will bark or even act aggressive toward this big creature flailing its legs and tail in the dog’s direction. As result, many circus elephant do not have a good attitude about dogs. Delhi has learned that the Sanctuary dogs are curious but have no ill intent. Once a new elephant gets used to the dogs, they share the same space and, many times, the same grain.

Delhi, Higgins and Andy
Delhi, Higgins and Andy
Nap time
Nap time

Dec. 2, 2003

CNN Headline News was here today doing a story about the Sanctuary. Delhi quickly became the focus. She spent the entire day outside. It seemed that all of the dogs and cats, at some time during the day, wandered over to meet her. In an effort to make the uninvited visitors (the dogs and cats) go away, she threw dirt, leaves, and even sticks but nothing worked. The Sanctuary dogs and cats are very comfortable with elephants and simply would not leave. At one point, Carmen, a stray cat turned pet, nearly rubbed up against Delhi’s leg. It is good she did not make contact because Delhi is quick to kick which would have sent the cat flying.

Delhi’s yard is right outside the elephant barn in full view of the offices and keeper area. Many EleCam viewers were fortunate enough to watch Delhi’s great adventure. She pushed up against the upper cable of her corral and found that if she pushed hard enough she could loosen the cable, creating enough slack to step over it. E-mails came flooding in warning of Delhi’s great escape. What the viewers did not realize is that Delhi’s caregivers were watching the whole time. Delhi stepped over the cable, something she would not be able to do if the corral had a top rail. Her agility and curiosity is part of her charm and also the reason a new expanded corral is under construction as we speak. Once on the other side of the corral Delhi played in the trees and tried to intimidate one of the cats. The cat paid no attention. Once the sun started to set, Delhi followed her caregiver to the barn—checking out her new corral on the way.

An elefriend captured Delhi's "Great Escape" on the Ele-cam.
Those of our viewers on Windows operating systems can see it here.

Delhi checks out her new corral.

Dec. 1, 2003

Dr. Ramsay drove from Knoxville to take radiographs of Delhi’s feet today. These x-rays are an important part of Delhi’s medical evaluation. She was wonderful for her x-rays.

It is our understanding that her feet have not been x-rayed in the past which is unfortunate. The lack of x-rays means we cannot accurately determine at what stage the infection was one year ago, two years ago and so on.

Foot infections are insidious, not only do they eat away at the flesh of the foot but when chronic, the infection actually eat away at the bones in the elephant's foot and leg. This condition is excruciatingly painful and life threatening.

Once the infection reaches the bone there are two options, surgery or antibiotic therapy. If the infection is diagnosed early, the infected digit of the foot can be surgically removed. There has been marginal success with this approach. If the infection has spread past the first digit the chance of recovery is greatly reduced. Surgery to remove an infected third digit has never proven successful. In that situation drug therapy is usually the option of choice but it is not a cure.

As soon as Dr. Ramsay interprets Delhi's x-rays, his prognosis and recommended treatment will be posted on Delhi's site. In the meantime Delhi is enjoying the good life being pampered, snacking on bamboo and napping on the grass. She is receiving pain killers to block the pain.

Sanctuary for Delhi
Napping on the grass

Sunday, November 30, 2003

The weather has been mild during the day and Delhi has taken full advantage. Her day starts with soothing foot soaks followed by a warm bath. She loves the water and continues to bathe herself from her water bucket for some time after her bath is over. When her barn door is opened she heads right out the door for a generous coating of sand and then makes her way out to her yard. She grazes, throws dirt clots at the rambunctious dogs that wander by, and finally lies down for a nap in the soft grass. She has already established a pattern which is comfortable for her and predictable for her caregivers. At the end of the day, she waits for the sun to set before wandering back to her barn. When she gets back her dinner is laid out in front of her. She loves the grain, carrots and apples, but does not share Tina’s fondness for grapes. For dessert she inhales a healthy stock of Tennessee home-grown bamboo.

Bathtime fun
Bathtime fun
Throwing mud
Throwing sand
Lovin' that bamboo
Enjoying a good bunch of bamboo
Whatever Delhi wants -- Delhi gets!
...down to the last twig and leaf!

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003 - Thanksgiving

Delhi went outside into her yard right away in the morning. She is in quarantine so her yard is separate from the other elephants. She grazed, dug holes in the grass and played. It was wonderful to watch her obviously feeling so comfortable in her new home. At 3pm Sissy and Winkie caught sight of her across the pasture. Sissy made a bee-line in her direction and stood at the fence that divided her from Delhi. Winkie hung back for several minutes. Finally Winkie approached as well. All three stood looking at each other, calm and still.

Sis, Winks and Delhi
Sis, Winks and Delhi
Sis and Delhi
Sis and Delhi

Delhi then surprised everyone by lying down in the grass for a nap. Sissy and Winkie turned and walked away. In the barn Delhi only lies on her left side but outside she lay on her right side. For an hour and a half she slept as barking dog ran past, tractors drove up and down the road and Sanctuary staff went about their chores. Nothing bothered her.

Delhi peacefully napping
A good day.
A good day

When she awoke, Tarra noticed her and approached. Again it was a calm and quiet meeting from a distance. Delhi continued to graze until dark and then followed her caregiver back inside her barn. A magical day.

We are thankful that Delhi is with us.

Below are screen captures of Delhi taken by the Ele-cam as she enjoys being outside at the Sanctuary.

Elecam captures of Delhi

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2003

Delhi was well rested and relaxed today. She is comfortable doing her foot soaks and taking her pain medication. She wandered outside several times today to check out her surroundings. The next few days are supposed to be warm and sunny. Chances are that she will take advantage of the nice weather
by spending more time out in her yard.

Two of the people who assisted with Delhi's move contacted the Sanctuary today to check on her progress. Delhi is blessed to have lots of people concerned for her welfare.

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003

Delhi was very calm and well rested today. She kept lifting her right front foot which appears to be causing her some pain. Her vet recommended we start her on a pain killer. Delhi is not very trusting of things like medication hidden inside an apple. But she surprised us when after examining the medication-laced fruit thoroughly, she popped it into her mouth. She did this with four consecutive apples, receiving her full dose of pain reliever.
Her foot soaks were uneventful. She was hesitant at first and a little resistant to put her feet in the buckets but soon she realized the formula was quite soothing. While in her soaks the phone rang; it was the media calling for Delhi. WSMV-TV arrived an hour later to do a story about Delhi's rescue which aired on the nightly news.

First soaks
Scott gives treats while Delhi is treated
for her infected feet
TLC for sore feet
Well, this feels great!
The media calls about Delhi

While in her soaks the phone rang; it was the media calling for Delhi. WSMV-TV arrived an hour later to do a story about Delhi's rescue which aired on the nightly news.


Having fun

Following her foot soaks Delhi spent thirty minutes showering herself from her water bucket. She had a blast!

Monday, Nov. 24, 2003

Delhi is calm and attentive. Her feet are severely damaged by infection and chemical burns. She has areas of overgrown skin over much of her body, especially covering her back legs. Her front feet are swollen and painful. Both elbows are infected. Her trunk is not completely functional—the condition is referred to as a "partially paralyzed trunk". She has learned to live with this handicap and never misses a drop of water when taking a drink.

Delhi"s left elbow
Left elbow

Delhi's front left foot
Left front foot

Her feet are severely damaged by infection and chemical burns. She has areas of overgrown skin over much of her body, especially covering her back legs. Her front feet are swollen and painful. Both elbows are infected.

Delhi's right front foot
Delhi's right front foot

Delhi was fast asleep when her caregiver came to feed her at 10:30 pm.. She slept until 3 am. She appeared pleased to get an early morning snack of produce, grain, fresh hay and water before returning to sleep.

Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003

The quarantine barn had not been used as such since 1999. Its proximity to the new elephant barn made it easy for Scott to convert it into a shop. Clearing it out was a huge project which took two full days. After moving everything out of the barn, Scott returned the barn to its former function. He rewired and re-plumbed, installed new cabinets, a sink and a new hot water heater. He finally finished rewiring and installing new plumbing at 3am. After catching only a couple hours of sleep the call came. It was 6am CT and Delhi was at the Sanctuary gate. The dawn was breaking and the sky was glowing with a delicate hint of pink.

Here comes Delhi!

The trailer arrives with Delhi
Safely home to Sanctuary

Delhi is a veteran traveler and made the trip without a problem. But she was in no hurry to leave the trailer. After little more than an hour she finally stepped out of the trailer and down on the pad in front of her new barn. Winkie and Sissy watched from the adjacent barn with intense curiosity. This barn will be Delhi's home for the duration of her quarantine period after which time she will move permanently into the main barn with all of the other elephants.

Still in the trailer
At first, Delhi was in no hurry to leave the trailer.
In the trailer

On her way out
Ready to disembark
Ready to step into a new world
First step to a new life

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2003

At 10 am, the USDA entered the property of John Cuneo, owner of Hawthorn Corporation, to confiscate Delhi. Three veteran elephant handlers were brought in by the agency to ensure that Delhi was safely loaded into the transport trailer supplied by The Elephant Sanctuary. Two elephant handlers actively handled Delhi while the third handler was available as back up. Everyone—handlers, vets, agency officials and others, all worked together in a successful effort to help Delhi. The two handlers that were responsible for physically moving Delhi did a skillful job making sure that Delhi was not traumatized during what could have been a very stressful situation.

Delhi’s owner was on grounds but would not allow keepers familiar with Delhi to assist with her loading. After recognizing that Delhi was resistant to stepping up into the trailer, Dr. Ramsay, who had been brought in by USDA as a consultant, suggested parking the trailer in a location where there was a slight ditch which would lower the back of the trailer, making it easier for Delhi to enter the trailer. Delhi’s team which included three elephant handlers, vets and USDA officials, determined it would be most humane to tether Delhi by one leg to prevent her from retreating. This worked like a charm. At no time was Delhi pulled or forced into the trailer; she was simply encouraged and she responded. At 2:45pm CT, Delhi left the Hawthorn Corporation property and set off for her journey to The Elephant Sanctuary. Many thanks go to the kind and compassionate handlers, vets and officials who participated in Delhi’s move.

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003

Inside of trailer

While staff painted some newly-welded pipe in the elephant trailer, Scott replaced all of the vitals which had been taken out of the trailer during the renovations. The water tank was filled and the trailer was stocked with hay and other essentials; packed ready to go.

At the same time the crew from Maury Fence Builders tore down the shop and moved the contents to a building off grounds.

Carol sent off the TWRA permit application for Delhi and made arrangements for the State veterinarians to inspect prior to Delhi’s arrival.

Angie arrived at the Sanctuary to pick up the trailer at around 5pm. She was given a refresher course on the trailer, the gates, the winch and her assignment. At 6:30pm she left on her way to Chicago and Delhi with explicit instructions not to speak to anyone about the operation. She arrived in Antioch, IL, late Friday afternoon.

Scott and crew worked long into the night moving the remainder of his shop out of quarantine barn.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003

The Sanctuary agreed to take Delhi and to send our custom built elephant trailer to transport her to the Sanctuary. We would provide the trailer and the driver and rent the tractor.

By 4pm a rental tractor had still not been located. Due to the short notice, Mike Knowles, our seasoned driver was not available to drive but luckily Angie Lambert, another professional driver who helped move Tina, was available.

At 4:30pm Wednesday a trailer was secured. Everything fell into place.

Scott began the process of tearing down the shop that had been set up in the quarantine barn. A major project.

Tearing down the shop
Oh, what a project!
Relocating the shop
With a lot of help from our friends

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2003
The elephant specialist from USDA  contacted the Sanctuary to inquire if we were willing to take Delhi, a 50+ year-old Asian elephant/circus performer owned by John Cuneo/Hawthorn Corporation.

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