Tina's Diary

Her Memorial
Always in our hearts


August 12, 2004

A silent memorial

During Tina's silent memorial, at approximately 12:10 pm CT, a small ceremonial fire was lit. This image, captured by an EleCam viewer, has caused quite a stir. Tina's presence was strong.

Over 3,000 hours were logged in on the EleCam by the more than 16,000 viewers who shared in Tina's one hour silent vigil.



July 21, 2004

Wednesday morning at 2:45 am, in the company of me, Scott, Winkie and Sissy, our dear Tina passed away. She was calm; her eyes were soft and ever knowing. I could not help myself, I begged her to stay. But she just looked at me in her tender Tina way and I knew that her decision was made. She was going home, leaving us to feel that excruciating void that only the loss of a great love can cause.

We do not know what caused Tina's death. There were no signs of a problem until a few days ago when we noticed that she was having difficulty coordinating her movements. When she tried to put food into her mouth she would miss, hitting her chest or face instead. The effort did not appear to be painful, just awkward. After consulting with our vets, we ran tests and started Tina on a new remedy and saw an immediate improvement. Two days later her motor skills again appeared to be impaired, again her remedy was adjusted and we saw an improvement. Then on Monday she began to eat less and the stiffness in her legs was worse than we had seen in the past. She was given additional therapies, her response was good. Then early Wednesday morning she quietly folded to the floor in the barn. We attempted to hoist her to her feet but it appeared that she was unable to place her legs underneath herself, as if she had no muscle control. We helped her to gently lie over on her side on a mattress of hay. She relaxed onto the hay and then without a fight, not a groan or complaint, she passed away.

As Tina's necropsy results become available, they will be posted. Losing Tina is painful enough, not knowing why is unbearable.

We share a special love and profound grief for our beloved Tina.


July 4, 2004

11:00 PM - ~ 11:40 PM CDT
Tina hanging out, listening to the neighborhood fireworks

......knee itch maybe ?

June 9, 2004 — Preparation for Tina's New Shoes

This was an exciting day. Tina had molds made of her front feet so that Teva can make custom shoes. These will be like water shoes; lightweight and airy. The bottoms will have a thin rubber sole to protect her tender pads. The sides will be of breathable mesh material that clings to her feet like booties. If we design this shoe properly she will be able to navigate throughout the habitat, in the ponds, streams and mud wallows, without difficulty or pain. Hopefully these shoes will bring her relief while walking so that she will finally begin to explore her surrounding.

Watch Slide Show

Teva designs new shoes for Tina!

Tina the elephant to get remedial shoes
Footwear firm steps in to ease painful malady

Lori Culbert, Vancouver Sun
June 14, 2004

May 29, 2004

Time for new shoes

Dr.Tapp came for a visit today.

Tina will begin the process of being fitted for shoes in a week. It starts with a mold of her feet. Once the mold is complete it will be sent to the shoe maker.

Teva is interested in designing and creating just the right shoe for Tina; light weight with a cushioned bottom and fitted sides that breath and allow water to flow through.

This design will protect the bottoms of her feet while allowing them to breath.

Back to top





April 26, 2004 - HAPPY 34th BIRTHDAY, TINA!

10:00 p.m. What a day! It started out special and continued long into the night. Tina and Sissy had a very touching time together late tonight. This time Tina initiated the exchange and Sissy expertly helped Tina feel comfortable. Over the winter months these two girls have developed quite a fondness for each other. I have no doubt that Sissy will be the one to coax Tina out into the big outdoors soon. What a blessing they are to each other.

Watch Slide Show!

Tina turned thirty-four today, how do we know? She was captive born. All of our other elephants' birthdays are chosen for them, but this is really the day of Tina's birth. It is strange to consider if Tina might sense that this is her birthday but consider this: over the past two days Tina has broken into song on numerous occasions which causes us to wonder. Could she know this is a special day? Does her internal clock calculate a year's time? Impossible, how could this be? Well we are not saying it is so; we are only making the observation that Tina has been singing for two days now. What is she singing about? We will allow ourselves the fantasy that Tina is singing her birthday song.

Today, Tina had her first taste of a non-dairy product that is made to taste like ice cream. Normally we don't feed her anything that would not normally be found in her diet in the wild, but we indulged Tina knowing what a sweet tooth she has. Ice Cream was always included in the special treats that Tina received over the years at the Vancouver Game Farm. Tofutti smells and tastes like ice cream but does not contain any diary products or harmful chemicals. Made from soybeans it does fall into the category of food that is not harmful to her. As you can see, she really enjoyed it!

Watch Slide Show!

Tina has been with us for nine months, and although her recovery has been slow, it will be permanent. She has changed her eating habits to better satisfy her nutritional needs, she bonded with all of the other elephants, and she of course continues to enjoy being showered with attention from her caregivers. Now we just have to get her to appreciate the big outdoors on a fulltime basis instead of only on occasion. Several of Tina's fans have sent her birthday cards which can be view by selecting an option below.

Visit Tina's special birthday page.

Watch Slide Show! (Happy Birthday, Tina!)

Back to top


April 18, 2004

Tina had a blast in the mud today. First she covered herself, from trunk to tail with thick sticky mud. Large clumps coated every hair on her body, giving her the look of a prehistoric mammoth with a thick coat of hair. Tina thoroughly enjoyed herself and smeared mud all over every surface she touched. Everything got a bath of mud.

Watch Slide Show!


April 3, 2004

Tina decided that today would be a good day to take a walk out back . She spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the back alley pulling up newly sprouted vegetation while soaking in the sun. When her adventure was over she did not want to walk back to where she started—she wanted to enter the barn through a different door. She made her way through the barn, returning to her favorite stall in the middle of the barn. Tina continues to be curious and now more active. Slowly but surely her feet are healing.

Tina's nail when she arrivedTina's nail and foot pad when she arrived

Tina's nail today
Tina's nail and foot pad today

Back to top

March 28, 2004

Tina and Sissy are spending a lot of quality time together. Sissy is sweet and accommodating. She works hard to make all of the elephants feel loved and welcomed. Tina tugged on Sissy’s ear, pushed on her face and even poked her in the eye, Sissy never flinched. Tina was pushing Sissy to see what she would do. Some elephants would not allow another to act this way but Sissy wants everyone to be friends so she puts up with a lot to prove she is friendly and trustworthy. Each time after Tina was pushy, Sissy would take a tiny step closer to Tina demonstrating her acceptance of Tina. It was beautiful to observe. The interactions lasted more than thirty minutes and as you can see from their faces, Sissy was calm and Tina was having fun with the opportunity to act a little devilish!

Watch Slide Show!


March 27, 2004

Tina took a walk around the barn last night. Her favorite time for these excursions seems to be after dark, late into the evening. She meandered down the alley behind the barn to the outside door of Sissy and Winkie’s stalls. Winkie and Tina engaged in friendly trunk touches. Later Sissy came over and interacted as well. Finally the gate was opened and Tina came into the stall with Sissy. After sharing their normal friendly greetings Tina returned to her favorite stall.

Back to top


March 12, 2004

Tina and Sissy have a very sweet pattern developing. Each night after they are feed they meet at the common barrier. Sissy drapes her trunk along the top rail of the corral, a behavior she picked up from Winkie. Tina gently nudged Sissy's trunk until she actually pushes it off of the top rail. Sort of "I don't want that thing there." Sissy was calm and accommodating. Sissy spent quite some time getting Tina to exchange trunk touches. Tina acted disinterested but Sissy was persistent and they finally shared some intimate time.

March 11, 2004

We started Tina on a new remedy which has already shown a marked improvement. We have been waiting for this break through. The swollen areas between her toes has gone down, she is moving much more freely and relaxed. We are all very excited about this change.

Back to top


March 4, 2004

It was a warm night, stayed in the low 60s. Tina was outside in the back alley, foraging over the block wall when the lights were shut off. When everyone arrived the next morning, there was Tina, still in the back alley. She had been there all night, right outside Winkie's stall. They have become quite good friends over these past few months.


February 26, 2004

Tina's foot had overgrown and misshaped nails when she arrived . Six months later her nails are properly shaped and the healing process is nearly complete.

Tina's foot upon arriving

The photo above shows Tina's nails when she arrived.
The photo below shows Tina's right front foot looking much improved after six months at the Sanctuary.

Tina's foot healing

February 24, 2004

Tonight we spent several hours trimming on Tina's feet; they looking much better. The effected nails are growing out and the raw areas on the bottoms of her feet are finally callusing over. She loves her foot soaks and pampering so she is quite cooperative, which helps us help her. Spring should prove to be a good time for Tina.

Back to top

February 5, 2004

During some late night foot trimming we were pleased to see that Tina's nails are now beginning to recover rapidly. The soft spongy tissue which has replaced Tina's nails for months has now grown into healthy nail. The pads also are showing marked improvement. Tina welcomes the Greentwo salve which is applied daily; it appears to be quite beneficial in the healing process.


February 1, 2004
The word is that Tina and Winkie have something going on. Tina is not concerned about displaying her ever-growing affection for Winkie in public, but Winkie for some reason does not want to let her caretakers know just how fond of Tina she has grown. Honestly, Winkie was the last elephant we expected to buddy up with Tina. Just when we think we have these ladies figured out they teach us something new.

Tina arrived at the Sanctuary three years after Winkie. It took nearly that entire time for Winkie to recover and learn to appreciate living in a herd environment. She was resigned to need only Sissy but Sissy wanted more, and painstakingly helped Winkie work through her fears and learn to trust the other elephants. Nearly six months before Tina's arrival Winkie was finally a viable member of the herd, comfortable with and considerate toward the other elephants. They were finally a healthy family...then along came Tina and we all held our breath.

All the caregivers paid close attention not to put Winkie in a position to intimidate Tina, to the extent of keeping them separate while indoors. But over the past few weeks we notice that Tina and Winkie are spending quite a bit of time together, interacting through the stall bars, standing close, gently touching, Tina talking and both being affectionate. But for some reason Winkie does not want to display her affection toward Tina while her caregivers are present. True to her nature, Winkie is opposed to exposing her weaknesses. Her behavior suggests that she perceives a lack of dominance as a weakness...where do you think she learned that!

Gentle encouragement and positive reinforcement by her caregivers whenever Winkie is "caught" being affectionate towards Tina will help Winkie become more comfortable with her softer side. Winkie will soon realize that being soft and loving is a positive trait which gains the admiration and respect not only of her caregivers but of the other elephants as well. Ultimately an individual who possesses the ability to relate in a healthy manner with other herd members can gain an elevated status in the herd. It is not "might is right," it is compassion and camaraderie that impresses psychologically healthy elephants. Tina does not care about the psychological ramifications of Winkie's interests, she simply likes Winkie.

We can't help but wonder if the fact that both Winkie and Tina spent many years living with an African elephant has anything to do with their ability to relate to one another.

Back to top

January 22, 2004

Tina took a stroll outside today. The sun was shining but the weather was a little too chilly for her liking. She followed all of the elephants outside and immediately decided that she preferred to be inside the warm barn. In her slow, methodical manner she walked around the side of the barn and down the alley which leads back inside the barn.


January 18, 2004

Tonight Tina surprised everyone by staying in the stall with all the other elephants while she played with her barrel. Usually Tina moves from the group stall to the adjacent stall when more than one elephant moves in. But tonight was different. When Tarra came into the stall Tina remained and continued to play with her barrel. Then Jenny came in the stall. After Jenny rubbed up against Tina a couple of times Tina moved into the adjacent stall. The three remained close together. Tarra banged on the barrel, dislodging the grapes hidden inside while Jenny and Tina collected the treats from the floor. Next Jenny decided she wanted to join Tina in her adjacent stall. Tina got nervous at first. She grabbed her ball and her flake of hay in an obvious "these are mine" way. Jenny did not care, she just wanted to stand next to Tina. Tina relaxed and went back to eating her hay while positioning her ball directly under her trunk for safe keeping.

Watch Slide Show!


January 15, 2004

Each night we see increased interaction between Tina and the other elephants. Although Bunny stays in the background much of the time, identifying piles of manure document that Bunny spends most of the night standing close to Tina.

Tonight Bunny watched as Jenny did her best to befriend Tina. Jenny has a reputation for being determined which is obvious from her continued attempts to engage Tina. Sometimes she is mildly successful but we know Jenny will not be satified until Tina is completely comfortable with the other elephants. So in true Jenny fashion, if at first, second and third you don't succeed; try, try, again.

Watch Slide Show!

Back to top


Tina's Diary Archive

December 2003 Diary
November 2003 Diary
October 2003 Diary
September 2003 Diary
August 2003 Diary
Tina's Diary before arriving at the Sanctuary