February 10, 2012
On February 9, 2006, there was cause for much celebration when Billie and Frieda, the last two of the eight Hawthorn elephants finally arrived at their new home in the "Caravan to Freedom" rescue. A paperwork oversight delayed their departure by a few hours, and when at last they were safe in their Sanctuary everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Lota's suffering was not in vain; her legacy ensured liberty for all of her herd sisters. Perhaps it was predestined that the last two of the Hawthorn Girls found Sanctuary on the anniversary of Lota's passing, February 9.
For many years, Billie's front left foot held the remains of the chains that tied her to her past. Despite early and repeated efforts since she arrived in 2006 – Billie simply did not trust anyone to get close enough to remove the short ankle chain. It became known as her "bracelet" and the rattle of it as she walked became a tell-tale sign she was approaching. In Spring of 2011, through Protected Contact training and through the diligent work of Caregivers to earn her trust, Billie was finally freed of the chains that tied her to her former life as a circus elephant.