Stories About Shirley

Letter From a Viewer......
July 13, 2009

In honor of Shirley's 10th Anniversary, I thought it might be appropriate to relate a touching incident involving her that I observed on the ele-cam in February or March of 2005. The memory of it has stayed with me through the years.

A group of elephants including Winkie and Sissy were standing in a clearing. Shirley came into view on the cam and strolled up to Winkie. She touched the end of her trunk to Winkie's trunk tip. It seemed like a sweet gesture, but their trunks flew apart violently. The response appeared to be very hostile. Shirley quickly turned and exited from camera range. A few moments later her posterior entered the cam view and she backed up to Winkie. Then something very unexpected happened. Shirley stood with her rear in front of Winkie's face and lifted her injured leg outward, right up close to Winkie's eyes. It was amazing that Shirley could raise her severely injured leg to a height that was perpendicular to her back, and then hold it there for a while for Winkie to see. Winkie was calm then and Shirley slowly lowered her leg and walked away.

As the years have gone by I have wondered if Shirley recognized that Winkie might have been experiencing a PTSD episode, or due to the extreme closeness in presenting her leg injury to Winkie's eyes perhaps Shirley might have been aware of some visual difficulty that Winkie has. Whatever her reasons that day, Shirley clearly knew that Winkie had special needs and she lovingly interacted with her.

I admire Shirley for recognizing Winkie's distress and fear, for her love and caring for her sister, for her wisdom in knowing what to do, and for her bravery in carrying out the needed actions! Shirley truly is wonderful and every word in her anniversary tribute was visible in her actions with Winkie that day. What a blessing dear Shirley is!