December 25, 2008
It was a beautiful sunny day in ele-heaven today. All of the girls and our bachelor boy Ned spent time soaking up the sun. While Lottie napped on the south facing hillside in field #6, Minnie engaged in playful interaction with Debbie. The ele-cam revealed Minnie balancing a large tree effortlessly over the hot wire. Minnie dropped the tree more than once and watched the wire bounce up and down, up and down, up and down. Of course her play was interrupted when a caregiver traded Minnie some grass hay for the tree. We often have to remove such attractive toys from the immediate area of hotwire, as Minnie is sharp as a tack and knows exactly how to cause the fence to malfunction. Minnie was not discouraged by the hay distraction; instead, she munched for awhile and then set out to find Lottie and wake her up! The 3-sum basked in the sun by the sycamore tree for hours, only budging when they raced a few feet with the passing 4-wheeler. Bunny got an uncomfortable surprise in the wee hours of the morning when something stung her, causing a large welt on the inside of her front leg. She was concerned, but managed to derive a fair bit of pleasure from the glorious day.
The African beauties were mostly hidden in their winter wonderland, but they too were out and about soaking up the sun. The motto of the day: Be sure to fully enjoy the sun for the few hours it presents itself this time of year. Even Ned was found basking in the sun and chomping on his current favorite food, bamboo.
October 17, 2008
This is how we remember Jenny, always on the go surrounded by her family.
Never far from our thoughts, namaste dear Jenny.
August 24, 2008
Today the "3-some" had a surprise. In preparation for renovations
to their barn, Lizzie, Frieda, and Billie moved over to the adjacent Phase
I barn. It was kind of nostalgic considering this barn was our first, a
two-stall barn with an impressive restraint chute and all the amenities
of the other barns; automatic waterers, automated gates, padded floors,
free choice access to the yards and a newly dug pond! This was where Tarra,
Jenny and Barbara stayed when they first arrived at the Sanctuary; their
first of three barns. Delhi spent her quarantine year in this barn. Lota
graced us with her presence for too short a time, leaving Misty to complete
her tuberculosis treatment alone. This barn holds a lot of memories for
all of us.
And now Lizzie, Frieda and Billie will create more memories, and
they already have. This morning after breakfast, the gate leading from
the Phase II barn was opened. To protect Frieda’s tender feet from
the gravel driveway, a walkway of rubber mat flooring was laid out like
a red carpet leading to the entrance of the Phase I yard. With a plan
and treats in hand, caregivers invited the girls to make their way over
to the new yard. Like three kids crowding to get through the door first
on their way to the playground, Frieda got the edge and was out the door
first with Liz second and Billie bringing up the rear. All three headed
for the new yard without hesitation as the caregivers stood by smiling.
These ladies never cease to amaze us with their trust and thirst for
July 21, 2008
are never far from our thoughts.
Namaste ~ Joanna and Tina.
July 6, 2008
On this day—her nine year arrival anniversary—Shirley reigns
as our eldest Asian elephant; she is sixty years young. Her recovery following
Jenny’s passing was slow, but it has been made less difficult because
of Bunny and Tarra.
Bunny used to be a wanderer, leaving Jenny, Shirley
and Tarra for hours or even days at a time to explore on her own.
since Jenny’s death, Bunny and Shirley have not spent one moment
apart. Bunny has been an example of devotion and sensitivity, displaying
deep compassion towards Shirley. Their relationship is stronger than
Happy anniversary Shirley!
Tarra, Shirley and Bunny
July 5, 2008
Remember when you all pitched in to pay for a custom dug pond for Dulary?
The days were scorching hot and the rain was nowhere in sight. The pond
was dug in record time and after a rain dance or two, water began to
fall from the sky and fill up the pond. Well, the pond has been full
of water for months but Misty and Dulary have paid no attention. The
pond has been enjoyed by Winkie, Sissy and even Tarra, but not Dulary—until
today! What a joy to see Dulary discover that the pond was not a mirage,
but the real thing. Oh boy, are she and Misty enjoying themselves!
May 19, 2008
Misty, one of the sleeping beauties
May 1, 2008
Dulary wasted no time blending into the herd. Her all time best girlfriend
is Misty (shown napping below). The two act like two giddy preteens,
darting all over the place at top speed, sharing trumpeted secrets in
each other's ears and holding trunks. We can not imagine a more compatible
pair of pampered pachys. Dulary’s joy at seeing her caregivers
approach says it all. She is vocal, playful and secure in her new home.
Happy anniversary, Dulary!
April 26, 2008
Nearly every day that goes by causes us, in some way, to
celebrate or reflect. Today is Tina’s birthday, and if she were
still with us she would have been 38 years old, still quite young for
an elephant. Tina was a radiant being, an accomplished singer and such
a pleasure to behold. She never met a person she did not like, nor a
day that did not bring her joy. We miss her dearly.
From the moment Barbara arrived until the instant that she left us,
we were her devoted students. She seriously touched our lives, transforming
our perspective and will be forever remembered as a chalice of wisdom.
April 8, 2008
It has been more than a week since Queenie passed, and it is hard to verbalize
how we feel. At first, there was disbelief followed by denial; then anger,
and finally a softening that washed over us—an energetic blanket
Unlike Delhi's passing, Queenie went without warning. This feels to
be the most difficult aspect of the loss. We are blessed with the images
of Queenie's smiling face and silly squeaks each time her memory joyfully
pops into mind. A glowing warmth and comfortable connectedness is what
we feel now when we remember our sweet girl. Lottie and Minnie spent
several days on and around Queenie's grave, but their time with her before
her burial was the most profound. Their bonds could be felt, they were
one. After Queenie was buried that connection seemed to diffuse; her
body was not visible, it was unrecognizable. If Queenie was not required
to be buried and her body was left above ground, it would have deteriorated
into the earth, eventually becoming unrecognizable, but at a much slower
rate then what Lottie and Minnie experienced. Queenie's burial speeded
up that process for Lottie and Minnie. From all observations and interactions
with both Lottie and the transformed soft Minnie, their grieving process
has taken a healthy and natural course with both returning to a somewhat
normal routine over the past few days.
When Queenie's face flashes across our minds, which happens many times
each day, we are filled with a warm glow and gladly reminded of the dear,
sweet, confident member of the diva sisterhood. Queenie reveled in her
freedom, living each moment to the fullest. We will miss her dearly and
accept that it was her time to go..
March 30, 2008
It was a gray dreary day, the cloud cover never lifted and the air felt
as heavy as our hearts. Lottie and Minnie swiftly moved from the pond
yard out to where Queenie’s body lay waiting for their arrival.
Lottie moved gracefully across the pasture, serious yet tentative, and
things felt quietly primal as she moved straight towards Queenie. When
Queenie’s body was in sight, Lottie stopped and waited for Minnie
to catch up. They both stood close, still for several seconds, then Lottie
made the first step and Minnie followed. Again they paused and this time
Minnie proceeded no further, while Lottie, as if on tender tiptoes, closed
the gap between her and her beloved Queenie.
The look on Lottie’s face was heartbreaking; it was as if she
did not yet understand what she was seeing or what had happened. She
reached out to smell, and then a few steps later reached out to touch
Queenie’s face as she lay on her side in the pasture. Minnie slowly
made a wide circle around Queenie, fiddling with twigs and grass, glancing
at me and then the dogs for what appeared to be a welcomed distraction
from something much too painful to consider, something she desired not
to acknowledge just yet.
Lottie tenderly touched all over Queenie, not rushed, no urgency, no
panic or confusion, just loving kindness, the heartfelt touch of a dear
friend. She wore a knowing, yet foggy, look on her face; the two were
in a powerfully radiant dance, in slow motion.
Minnie watched from a distance.
As Lottie continued her tender recognition of her friend, she was one
with Queenie, almost like the two were actually breathing together, like
Queenie indeed was only sleeping and Lottie was her protector while she
As Minnie continued to make her way around Queenie and Lottie, not an
audible word was uttered. Minnie entered the woods and pulled at a few
low branches; you could see she was apprehensive, she was unsure. As
Lottie continued to caress every inch of Queenie’s body, Minnie
silently approached and began to scent Queenie and was now sharing in
the dance. She and Lottie circled Queenie’s body, touching, looking
soulful—and then Minnie stepped closer. She tested the area directly
around Queenie’s tummy and then, ever so gentle, in a manner never
before observed of Minnie, she entered a new world, the world of her
ancestors. She painstakingly and gently lifted one front foot and then
the other over Queenie’s bloated belly and placed both feet centimeters
from Queenie’s back, arranging her hugeness protectively and completely
over Queenie’s body.
Minnie breathed deeply, and as she exhaled it felt as if the air was
being sucked from my lungs. Minnie was letting go. There was a charge
of energy in the air, and I would almost swear that in that moment Minnie
had been transformed. Her love for Queenie allowed an opening in her
heart through which all of her long-denied compassion, empathy and grief
rushed in; she is now fully in the moment, the emotional moment, and
she is standing confident with her dear friend facing her fears; she
is not running away.
As tears flow down my face I can hardly contain my heart in my chest
for I know what this tragic turn of events means for Minnie. No greater
gift could any one of us receive then the opportunity to find our true
loving self underneath the piles of defensive barriers we build. Queenie
has given Minnie the ultimate gift.
As the dreary day wore on, Lottie and Minnie kept their vigil. Without
strain or words to the outside world, these three dear friends lived
as they had each day in the past two years, in each other's loving company.
Lottie slept touching Queenie while Minnie slept a few feet away. Their
meals were delivered as usual with Queenie getting her fair share. Each
time hay was delivered, Lottie would leave Queenie’s side, but
Minnie did not. She looked in my direction, soft soulful, a Minnie that
she has kept hidden or perhaps that she herself never knew before this
time. Minnie did not cry tears but she was mourning in a real way, needing
to be close to her friend.
I respectfully approached and laid hay down in front of Queenie and
Minnie; she watched me, and not even the invitation from playful dogs
gave her a reason to leave Queenie’s side. At 10pm Lottie and Minnie
remained in the pasture with Queenie, receiving their meals and extra
hay. If the cloud cover had lifted, the moon would have illuminated the
precious love that radiates from these elephants, sharing the midnight
hours together in the place they found together, a place of sanctuary,
their true home.
March 29, 2008
I hardly know how to share this news, it is shocking and I know it will
bring tears to all. Our dear Queenie passed away unexpectedly today.
There were no warning signs, no sickness, no shift from her adventurous
playful self. In fact, Queenie spent a good portion of her day on Friday
in the upper pond for all of our EleCam viewers to see. Queenie was the
diva that knew how to play and she knew how to love. She was fine with
caregivers but she gave her heart to her sister elephants, all of them.
She was best of friends with the mighty Minnie and loyal Lottie; the
three were inseparable.
Queenie was the cutest squeaker you will ever
hear. Her vocalizations grace our new Our Girls DVD; she had the most
unique elephant speak imaginable. Queenie left us abruptly. No, we were
not prepared. We feel like we are in a stupor, wondering what just happened.
One thing these girls teach us is that without a doubt they make the
decision when to transcend this earthly life. Obviously, as demonstrated
by her hasty exit, Queenie’s work here was done. We can’t
yet consider life without Queenie, she simply left too quickly, and we
are still processing and shedding lots of tears; we love her, we miss
her, we wish she would not have left us so soon.
March 19, 2008
The overnight rain storms filled the creek with the thunder of rushing
water as well as floating logs and tons of sticks, leaves and other of
natural debris. It was sprinkling on and off all day, the perfect stimulus
for swimming. Yes, the elephants love to swim in the rain. If it is storming,
all the better; the harder the rain the more they play—add lightening
and thunder and the entire herd will pile into the pond! Today Lizzie
discovered the swollen creek, and on three different occasions went in
for a splash. One time Billie joined her and appeared to be less interested
in playing in the water and more interesting in watching Lizzie. But
three turns in the creek apparently was not enough for Lizzie today;
she ended the day by submerging herself in the pond and really making
a big splash!
March 18, 2008
The day of Delhi’s burial, Frieda developed a stomach ache. Although
she does not experience this condition often, Frieda is prone to colic
so we are very attentive to the volume of water she drinks daily and
to her intake of newly-found vegetation. We will never know for sure
what prompted the stomach ache, but to relieve some of the discomfort
she lay down--which is a normal behavior for her. Unfortunately, Frieda
chose to lie down in an area that was very difficult for her to get back
up. She spent too much time trying to right herself and caused herself
a great deal of stress. Caregivers were on the scene to help her get
up on her feet, and followed up with veterinary-recommended treatment
to address her soreness. Along with long baths, lots of rest, and a variety
of remedies for a speedy recovery, Frieda has been offered a buffet of
goodies several times each day. She is back to eating normally and feeling
like herself again. We are all relieved and she surely has enjoyed the
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.
Namaste our dearest Delhi.
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.
March 6, 2008
The first warm day in some time found Billie in the pond; she had a
blast! Minnie and Lottie found their fun by chasing after the youngest
canines at the Q barn; Missie-Miai and Jessie-man. What a sight; two
frisky dogs making wide circles around two playful elephants determined
to create some rowdy fun…spring is on the way.
Lots of rain soaks the earth and makes Minnie’s play time even more
eventful. She has pushed over some mighty big trees this rainy season and
it seems she is quite proud of herself.
March 3, 2008
What a day! We have remarked about the synchronicity of dates before,
and this only reinforces our belief that there are no coincidences. Thirteen
years ago today the Sanctuary began operations with Tarra’s arrival.
Her trumpets filled the valley and the resident packs of coyotes had
no idea what form of wildlife had just moved in! Also on this day four
years ago, our magnificent Flora arrived. These three wonderful occurrences
on the same day, who would have ever imagined?
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Yahoo, it's Tarra birthday today—she is 34 and never looked better.
Bella is still the love of her life and she continues to be the precocious
wandering girl; never staying in one place too long, unless of course
Bella wants to. Tarra makes her rounds of the habitat visiting all of
her sisters on her journey. Whether sleeping under the stars, head dangling
over the beaver dam, traversing a slick hillside or hanging out under
the huge cedar lodge—Tarra is at home, the inspiration for the
paradise she inhabits.
Happy Birthday Tarra!
In her time....for Delhi
The light grew stronger, but the sleeping beauty was not yet ready to
open her eyes and see the glory the light brought with it. She could
feel the warmth provided by the light and the love of those who
surrounded her. Neither energy pulling, merely there, allowing her to
choose her path. She could sense the souls of those gone ahead and
those souls caring for her now all telling her that she could choose
her own time.
Rise or fly...One would sadly let go, and the other would gladly
In due time...In her time
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 9, 2008
Two years ago today, Frieda and Billie started their new life at the
Sanctuary. Labeled as notorious in their former lives as circus performers,
and later as non-travelling elephants kept in isolated confinement, these
two girls have proven to be nothing like their reputation. It could simply
be that the environment has made them feel safe enough to let go of their
previous patterns. Whatever the reason, Frieda and Billie have blossomed,
and proven to be two sweet and loving members of our family. It took
Billie some time to work through many of her fears, but Frieda seemed
to make an instant transformation, trusting her caregivers immediately.
These two wonderfully playful and vocal girls continue to remind us why
the Sanctuary exists. Here, where their needs are paramount, their fear
is acknowledged with compassion, and their recovery is a joy to behold.
At the Sanctuary, we have come to accept that certain dates can carry
an inexplicable significance. In our experience, two powerful events
often occur on the same date—years apart. We cannot explain it,
but experiencing half a dozen occurrences of this phenomenom has made
believers out of us. Our first experience was when Barbara passed away
on Carol’s birthday, then the horrific attack on the twin towers
occurring on the same date that our Jenny was rescued. Flora arrived
on the same date that Tarra did, but like the other occurrences, it was
years apart. The mystery continued and this time cut deep when Joanna
passed away on the anniversary of Tina’s death. We thought we could
take no more when Scott’s brother died on the anniversary of Jenny’s
death. Then, after unloading the last of the Hawthorn girls, we realized
that Lota had passed away on this very date the year before. Today, we
celebrate the arrival of the last two divas, finally free, as we simultaneously
honor Lota’s passing. How synchronistic is that? Lota was responsible
for the raised awareness which resulted in the release of her sisters.
How fitting that the anniversary of her death should fall on the date
that her sisters were finally safe at the Sanctuary. We see it as kind
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, I pray for your safe journey; unencumbered, light-footed
I pray for your safe journey to where your spirit needs to go to.
February 7, 2008
Today we celebrate the two year anniversary of Ronnie and Debbie’s
arrival at the Sanctuary. The relationship shared by these two girls
since their arrival has not changed; they are loving, loyal and protective
of each other. They include the rest of the elephants in their family
but clearly thrive on each other's company. What a match, Ronnie our
smallest divas, full of energy, self confidence and spunk, and Debbie,
more subdued, the largest of the divas; 11feet tall and 11,000 pounds.
While Debbie is laid back, Ronnie is a spit-fire, but they both share
the same sweet disposition towards their caregivers. Debbie carries a
tremendous scar along her jaw bones, and up and down her back legs, suggesting
that at one time she might have been considered difficult to handle and
therefore trained with a heavy hand. Ronnie can be stubborn, especially
if she thinks her behavior is being controlled, but as soon as she remembers
she has the freedom to say no, her eyes light up and she cooperates.
Being able to make their own choices sure has its advantages, not only
for the elephants but for the caregivers as well.
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.
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
Misty and Delhi sleeping together
You might not know that Liz and Queenie performed at Benson's Wild Animal
Park for many years before being auctioned off and purchased by the Hawthorn
Corporation. Yes, these two ladies have been together their entire captive
life. So, it is probably no coincidence that when it came time to pair
up the elephants for transport to the Sanctuary two years ago, Lizzie
and Queenie were a pair. The interesting thing is that upon their arrival
we saw that Queenie clearly felt a strong bond with Minnie and Lottie,
but not Lizzie. As soon as she got out of the trailer and saw her two
best friends, Queenie dashed over to Lottie and Minnie and has been the
third member of that group ever since. Lizzie was not dejected, in fact,
she had a secret fondness for Billie and Frieda which she was not able
to foster while at Hawthorn. Over these two years of freedom at the Sanctuary,
Lizzie has found acceptance and companionship with two of the Hawthorn
Corporation's most misunderstood girls. Over the past year Lizzie, Billie
and Frieda have been inseparable. Such a wonderful set of trios; affectionate,
compassionate and all deeply attached to each other. Now Queenie can
hang out with the more adventurous girls that wander the habitat at all
hours of the day and night while little Lizzie has her friends who prefer
a more secure and quiet life.
Liz and Queenie at Benson's Wild Animal Park in the early 1960s
Two years ago today, the first of our precious divas unloaded from their
transport trailer and took a long look around their new surroundings.
Lottie and Minnie, matriarch and the princess daughter, did not waste
a minute in the barn—instead they raced outside to see exactly
what this place was all about. In the 24 months that followed, these
two grand ladies have woven themselves into the fabric of the Sanctuary,
teaching caregivers volumes about the extent of dysfunction a captive
elephant can recover from.
In this past year. Lottie has blossomed, showing her soft side to elephants
and caregivers alike, she is a dear. Her devotion to Minnie is an important
element of Minnie's recovery. Seriously impacted by alarmingly depraved
happenings in her past, Minnie appears to be the individual who has suffered
the deepest psychological wounds. We are thankful for each increment
of recovery, as we know that Minnie deserves to be free of the horrendous
burden that has been heaped upon her. We are confident that a full recovery
is possible. Today, as always, all of her dear friends huddle around
her with gentle touches, chirps and trumpets, baskets of goodies and
pounds of patience, letting her know just how much she is loved!
It was cold today but that did not dampen Sissy's anniversary. She and
Winkie are such caring friends—Sissy with her soft, sensitive smile,
gently supporting Winkie in all she does. Winkie has really been showing
a softer side lately and we know that Sissy is a huge part of that. Sissy
makes Winkie feel safe and secure. As the years fly by we are eternally
grateful that Sissy was able to endure years of brutality and not lose
the sweetness that is her very essence. Her rescue seems like only yesterday
but what a joy to know she has been with us for eight years today!
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
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!
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.
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
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
What an exciting day! Some rather severe weather raced across Tennessee
in the usual flash style. The weather comes on fast and strong, and is
gone that quickly. Today we started out sunny, then rain, then winds
and hail and then a torrential downpour, which resulted in flash flooding— which
is always a welcome occurance at the Sanctuary. We welcome the water,
as we don’t have any areas that experience dangerous flooding—but
we do have many creeks, streams and ponds that spill over their banks
with such weather, and the girls love it! Today Sissy and Winkie christened
Dulary’s pond. They decided they weren’t wet enough during
the downpour and hail storm, so they made their way down the trail to
the pond, and slid right in. Winkie took a couple of dives under water,
rolling all around, while Sissy was her soft self and mostly waded. When
they were done, they stood along the edge of the pond and coated themselves
with red mud—which is still coating Winkie’s nose pink.
January 5, 2008
I hope many of you saw Minnie on the elecam this morning and boy I wish
we had had a digital camera handy. Today, Minnie actually broke a thin
layer of ice that had formed on the upper pond and went for a swim. I
wish you all could have seen her; what an active diva!
Below are screen captures from the ele-cam of two intrepid girls enjoying
a winter dip in the pond.