Tina's Diary ~ August 2003 : The Arrival
This page contains entries during August 2003 beginning with the day Tina arrived at the Sanctuary.
A very big "Thank You" to Tina's Crew!
These dedicated people brought Tina safely over 3000 miles to the Elephant Sanctuary! Marcella Smith (staff chauffer), Mike Knowles (truck driver), Angelia Lambert (truck driver), Scott Blais (Sanctuary director), Tony Guenther (Tina's keeper) and Paul Rowand (from BCTV Global News)
August 31, 2003
August 29, 7:30AM
August 28, 2003
Many people have wondered why Tina is so adverse to flying insects. We did not know if she had developed this dislike after arriving at the Sanctuary so we contacted Tina's veterinarian in Vancouver to find out if he had any insight. He too was unaware of such behavior in Tina's past but he promised to check into it.
August 27, 2003
Things have been rather quiet the past few days in Tina's world. She has attempted to leave the barn sort of half heartedly a couple of times. Her attempts appear to be more to please her caregivers then a real desire to go out. Both times she left the barn a solitary flying insect was the reason for her retreat. I can only imagine she either experienced a fly bite at some time in her life or simple uses the insect as an excuse to come back inside the cool barn.
August 25, 2003
Tina received the final course of her first foot remedy today. We are seeing the progress expected. She has several open sores on both front feet and the area around the outside nails is incredibly raw. This condition has been chronic due to extreme pressure on her outside nails. We are trimming her foot pads to correct an overgrowth problem which aggravates the condition and hope to see improvement shortly. It takes six months for an elephant's toenails to grow out completely. We feel confident that by the time the nails grow out her feet will be healed.
August 24, 2003
August 23, 2003
August 22, 2003
1:52 pm CT
OH BOY, drinks and showers anytime, day or night.
12:40 pm CT
August 21, 2003
Today Tina was very comfortable with Sissy. She did not turn away or avoid her advances. Actually she was the one who advanced. They touched trunks and then Tina reached up on Sissy's back and ran her trunk the length of her back. She touched, pushed and poked Sissy, who stood perfectly still. Realizing that Sissy intended to remain passive, Tina reached up and grabbed Sissy's ear and pulled on it. Sissy remained still; no response was the best response. Tina pushed on Sissy's side with her trunk and Sissy remained still. Once Tina was through testing to see if Sissy was going to compete for dominance or be aggressive, Sissy walked away and rejoined Winkie. This was a very valuable interaction. They were testing each other's limits, patience and trustworthiness. The outcome was good.
Tina split her time today between Tarra in the morning and Sissy in the afternoon. They are all very relaxed with each other now. Tina actually talks when they approach and solicits interaction. Tarra spent much of her time standing close to Tina while fiddling with a small stick, content as she could be.
When Sissy came inside the barn both she and Tina got very excited. Tina talked in her high pitch voice and then the two did their own variation of trunk pops. Sissy flip-flops the end of her trunk back and forth rapidly. It sounds just like a basketball bouncing. Tinas trunk pop is different from Sissys but exactly like Jennys. She hits the bottom portion of her trunk on the ground making a hollow, echoing sound. The trunk pop is a sign of excitement, and in this case the signal that they are comfortable and approachable. Even though most captive elephants have had a dysfunctional life, they know how to communicate with each other.
In case anyone is growing concerned about Tinas desire to remain inside the barn let me quiet your fears. Tina is calm as you can tell by watching the EleCam. She is drinking well, playing throughout the day and eating well. In fact, she has begun to eat larger quantities of hay to make up for the reduction of grain and produce. These are all good signs. Her mood is upbeat and positive. All day today she chirped. Anytime anything was happening or she wanted something to happen, Tina would chirp. A person cannot resist joining in when Tina begins to sing, continually creating a very cheerful atmosphere.
I believe that Tina is taking her time because she can. There is no need to worry about the effect of staying inside will have on her feet. The floors are covered with one inch thick rubber matting and although this is not as good as being on natural substraight, for the short term it will not be detrimental.
Tina is not counting the days inside the way we are. She is living in the moment, which is the only thing that keeps captive elephants sane. They cannot worry about the past or the questionable future, they simply live in the moment and in Tinas case it appears she is enjoying every moment of it.
Also, some have voiced concern that perhaps Tina has not gone outside because Tony, her longtime keeper is gone. I cannot know exactly what Tina is feeling but I will say she is showing no signs of depression fear or worry. She definitely knows Tony is gone but in her life at the zoo, keepers were not always there. They worked regular hours, took days off and were gone for extended periods of time for holidays. Tina does not show any negative signs, so we must surmise that staying inside is not a negative thing to Tina.
If you read Sissys and Winkies diaries you will see that they both stayed in the barn for a month. Now look at them!
August 19, 2003
August 18, 2003
11:00 pm CT
During the late night feeding Carol noticed something different about Tina's mouth. Upon closer look she saw that Tina had stuck an orange into her lower lip. Tina continued to eat the remainder of her produce, grain and hay with the orange stuck in her lip. Pretty handy storage spot. Very cute!
August 17, 2003
2:45 pm CST
Sissy continued to inch closer until she was a few feet away. The two reached toward each other but did not touch. After several minutes Sissy returned to Winkie who waited calmly and patiently at the other end of the barn. A very positive interaction.
11:30 am Tina went all the way outside her barn door, stood there for a few minutes and then came back inside. Progress!
7:00 am When the caretakers arrived this morning Tina was in stall ONE facing Winkie and Sissy who were at the other side of the barn. Tina was dozing with her trunk draped over the bars. After a few minutes she woke slowly and reached for a long tree branch she had been given the night before. With precision she used the branch to scratch all over her body. She is incredibly relaxed this morning.
Tina is having another good day, she has been chirping a lot. She and Tarra spent the entire morning together and she almost went all the way into stall four. Maybe tomorrow.
August 15, 2003
Tina did not leave the barn today so we incorporated lots of activities in our routine to make her feel more comfortable with her surroundings and caregivers. In addition to her daily eye medication, homeopathy treatments and foot soaks, Tina engaged in trust building activities with her caregivers several times today. She seems to enjoy the challenges and interaction with her new people, not to mention the treats! Whenever we approached with a new activity Tina showed immediate interest and participated willingly.
Tonight some of you may have seen Tina on the EleCam peacefully munching on hay and playing with a long tree branch. She is making good progress.
August 14, 2003
Tina remained in the barn all day. Although we would love for her to be outside already, that decision must be hers. It is important for Tina to know we will support her in her transition and not make her do anything against her will simply because we think she will like it. If you read the diaries of the other girls you will see that some elephants take quite some time to go outside. We spend time everyday encouraging her and treating her if she shows interest in moving around the barn and heading toward the big outdoor but for now we must be patient and support her in the space she is in. Tarra continues to be a constant companion.
11:30 am CT
Today Tina was started on a series of homeopathic remedies to address the pain in her feet and her overall puffiness. The remedy, carbo vegetabilis, is given orally from a syringe. This is not an injection; the syringe is used to squirt the remedy into Tina's mouth. Most elephants start out suspicious about having this tasteless substance squirted into their mouth but after a couple of treatments they open their mouth wide in anticipation. The remedy will be given once a day for a week, at which time her condition and response to the remedy will be evaluated by Dr. Lori Tapp, one of our vets. In addition, we are using Traumeel, a topical ointment made up of calendula, arnica montana, chamomilla and echinacea. This remedy helps to relieve pain. It has been our experience that elephants respond very well to natural remedies and we expect Tina to be no exception.
August 13, 2003
Tina has shown incredible resilience considering the major changes that have occurred in her life in less than a week. She traveled almost 3000 miles cross-country, was befriended by new caregivers, moved into a new barn, and has met three new elephants. She now must figure out what all this means. She is doing very well.
Tony, Tinas long-time keeper left this morning. It was bittersweet. On one hand it would be nice for Tina to have her friend stay forever but on the other hand she is starting a brand new life and might just be able to progress faster if she leaves her past behind. We are working hard to fill the void created by Tonys departure. Our past experiences have taught us that the elephants find friendship and love in the new people and elephants in their lives.
Tina seemed a little tense this morning. Most likely it is a combination of a long trip and all the excitement associated with it. The adrenalin rush is over. I am sure her interaction with Winkie last night was also on her mind. She needs the opportunity to work through her emotional stuff and our job is to help her do that in a healthy way.
Tarra spent the entire day with Tina again today. Tina is still a little apprehensive but you can see the improvement. At least she is no longer throwing things at Tarra, who moved with the greatest care and gentleness when she walked past Tina. At one point Tina lifted her hind leg to Tarra, an elephants way of initiating a friendly interaction.
Right away in the morning Tinas weepy eye was medicated. Carol gave Tina treats as Scott applied the ointment, she is so tolerant. The medication will ensure that she does not develop an eye infection while her eye heals. Tinas eye doctor told us to expect her eye to continue to weep for some time during the healing process.
In the afternoon Tina got her daily foot soaks. It was really cute. We set up three tubs, two for her feet and one for her trunk (to play in). As Scott filled her foot buckets with apple cider vinegar, Tina added the water from her third bucket. Then she proceeded to throw water all over herself and everyone else. It is good that she enjoys her foot soaks since they are important for her foot recovery.
At 6pm the EleCam followed Joanna and Scott as they walked through the pasture picking fresh ceresa and china grass for Tina. These plants are favorites of the elephants and grow in great volume throughout the habitat. Earlier today Tina was offered a handful of ceresa and she gobbled it up. Until she goes outside her caregivers will continue to pick fresh grasses to add variety and quality to her diet.
By late afternoon Tina finally settle in. She played with sticks and toys and thanks to the recipe provided by her keepers from GVZ, she enjoyed one of her favorite frozen treats. Her progress has been very good and we look forward to her full acclimation and recovery.
August 12, 2003
Tina literally made a friend overnight. She spent the entire night and all of today with Tarra. Their trust and friendship is blossoming. Tarra was not satisfied to occupy an adjacent stall; she wanted to be in the same stall as Tina. It was really cute, because several times Tina would block a doorway as Tarra tried to pass. She was not aggressive, but quite effective. When Tarra tried to come through Tina would just back up and block the way. Tina would finally tire of this game and allow Tarra to come on through.
When Tarra exited the barn at 12 noon, to everyone's surprise, Tina followed.
Without a hesitation and with complete confidence, Tina simply walked down the 150-foot corridor along the outside of the barn and stood on the hill overlooking the Sanctuary habitat. She was calm and curious.
Tina and Winkie say "Hello"
At 8PM Sissy and Winkie returned to the barn for the evening. All three shared trunk touches through the corral. Tina made an intimidation gesture toward Sissy who in response turned her back to Tina and assumed a submissive posture. When Tina made the same move at Winkie she was caught by surprise. Winkie is not one to back down so she lunged back at Tina. It was comical because Tina was caught by surprise and took a few steps back. Then in a rebellious response she picked up a trunk full of hay and threw it at Winkie. OK, these two got off on the wrong foot, but with time and space they will grow to understand and respect each other's individuality. That is the glory of the Sanctuary; there is space for the elephants to develop healthy relationships in their own time. In the meantime, if two elephants are not able to relate in a healthy manner they don't have to spend time together.
When I left the barn at 3am Wed morning, Tina and Winkie had forgotten their power struggle and were peacefully munching on hay.
August 11, 2003
8:00 pm CST
3:12 pm CST
11:00 am CST
Monday morning - at the Sanctuary
8 am CT
7 am CT
Penske provided a brand new truck and it running perfectly.
The arrival time is pushed back by an hour as result of the truck exchange.
August 10, 2003
Tina has settled
in, eating her hay very well, enjoying the showers and pampering
from her CREW. Today was basically uneventful until Mike detected something
not quite right with the truck. It just seemed to be missing a beat. Not
willing to take a chance with such precious cargo in tow, Mike rolled
into a Penske Rental dealer in Omaha NE around 8PM.
the road again...
10, 3:30 AM Mountain Time
August 10, 1AM Mountain Time
A late night pick up of hay in Elk Mountain. Shorty Richardson was very accommodating, agreeing to leave several bales of hay for Tina at the gas station where the crew stopped.
The hay is excellent and Tina was pleased. She immediately began eating the hay and has not stopped.
Since Tina is an animal that needs to consume 150 pounds of food each day, primarily hay, this is good news.
stopped off at a rest stop in Evanston, WY. Tina is doing well, she
drank and is eating. We are half way though the trip and will be picking
up Tina's new hay in a few hours.
7:00 AM PST
August 9, 2003 (report from the road by Scott)
stopped for the night in LeGrande Oregon. Unfortunately, there are two
conventions and a few weddings that have totally booked all of the hotel
rooms within a 100 mile radius, so we are all bunking down in the vehicles,
Tony and Scott in the trailer with Tina. Super 8 motel has been
very generous to let us park under their willow trees for the night
and letting us use their facilities. It must be fate as I sit
in the lobby there is an elephant carving on the TV and a Ganesha [the
elephant-headed god, who is the Lord of Beginnings, Remover of Obstacles and
the Protector of all that is new] on the wall. We came to the right
August 8, 2003
PM Pacific Time Tina stopped for a drink of water and a bite
to eat (hay and produce) at a rest stop. Odd sight for most travelers.
She is settling in.
1:45 PM Pacific Time It took less than an hour for Tina to clear customs. All of her paperwork was in order. Canadian CITES, USFW and USDA made copies of the permits and documents and gave their stamp of approval.
Tina is now officially on her way!
In at last and ready to go.
AM Pacific Time
backwards ??? No......
trailer and CREW arrive in Vancouver, BC