Tina's Diary ~ December 2003

December 30, 2003

Tina has developed a new pattern. Her keepers have noticed that she does not engage in stereotypical behavior when the other elephants are inside the barn. The only time she bobs her head is when she is inside the barn alone. Although it is her decision to remain inside the barn alone, that decision is a direct result of her pain in her feet. Watching her in the company of the other elephants is becoming more and more encouraging. This latest observation, which has been constant for nearly a month, is a definite sign that Tina is recovering.

December 27, 2003

As usual Bunny returned to the barn after everyone else was already inside. She did her normal trumpet, "Hi everybody, I'm home" — soliciting attention from all of the elephants, including Tina. This was a first. Bunny walked straight over to Tina. They stood head to head; Tina did not turn away. Bunny reached over to touch the tip of Tina's trunk and to our amazement Tina responded by reaching over to touch the tip of Bunny's trunk. It was a gentle interaction that lasted only a few seconds but is a definite sign of a blossoming relationship.

December 23, 2003 — Tina's Condition

Dr. Steven Scott met with Sanctuary staff to discuss Tina's X-rays. It appears that Tina has a history of osteomyelitis in both her front and back feet as well as what appears to be an old fracture in one of her back toes. This news explains a lot, but leaves even more questions unanswered. The good news is that the osteomyelitis is not active. The advanced deterioration of two bones in her front feet indicates a long-term infection at some time in her past. It is impossible to pin-point when and for how long she suffered from the active infections. What we can be sure of from the X-rays is that the infections are no longer active. At this point there is hope that her bones can and will regenerate.

Dr. Lori Tapp, DVM has been attending to Tina since her arrival. The information gained from the X-rays only reinforces Dr. Tapp's assessment and treatment plan. Tina will continue to receive twice daily foot soaks, healing salves, dietary supplements and a host of homeopathic remedies to prevent the infection from returning. This holistic approach to Tina's health has been successful in arresting her foot infections and will continue to support her body so that she can recover and regenerate the bones that have been damaged. Tina is young. There is every reason to believe that she can make a full recovery.

Tina's list of daily treatments and remedies are extensive and costly. The truth is that it costs less to properly care for an elephant each and every day of their life than to treat the diseases that result from neglect. Ignorance is only partially to blame for the foot disease that Tina has suffered. Ultimately it is captivity which is responsible for the immeasurable pain and suffering and the premature death of so many elephants forced to live their lives in unnatural environments. All of us here at the Elephant Sanctuary are determined that both Tina and Delhi will beat the odds.

Following is a list and costs of Tina's daily supplements and treatments:

Foot Soaks
Sea Salt
  $  .94
  $  .48
Apple Cider Vinegar
Pain Reliever
  $ 1.60
Digestive Aids
  $  .80
Dietary Supplements
  $ 2.80
Blue Green Algae
  $  .40
Vitamin E
  $  .75
  In-kind donation by Fenna Corry/Cell Tech
Ester C
  In-kind donation by Dr. L. Phillip Brown/Inter-Cal Corporation
Homeopathic Remedy
  In-kind donation by Dr. Lori Tapp/Misty Mountain Natural Animal Health

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December 17, 2003

Tina has really snapped out of her stuck place. The past few nights she has been very receptive to visits from the other elephants and she can be heard talking to them through the night. This night she was visited by another friend of another species…Cali the cat. Tina has grown accustomed to the cats and dogs wandering through her space. The great part is that their relationships are compatible. Tina even shows a sincere curiosity in her new family members.

Tina and Cali the cat

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December 16, 2003

Tina gets X-raysToday we x-rayed Tina feet.  Instead of using the technique we have used in the past which is to hold the film cassette against the leg, we used the same technique, film and setting used with Delhi's x-rays. This technique, where the elephant stands directly on the cassette, creates a better angle for the x-ray. Tina was awesome. She stood completely still, not at all concerned about the film cassette or portable x-ray machine. Twelve x-rays in all were taken, three of each foot. The x-rays have been processed and will be read by Dr. Scott our local veterinarian. Dr. Scott's finding will be posted ASAP.
Tina is doing well. Her feet appear to be healing, finally. No new eruptions but the bottoms of her feet continue to be sore. This discomfort will continue for a few more months at least, until the pad has a chance to grow out and protect the bottom of her foot.

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December 14, 2003

Today was a breakthrough day for Tina. For the past few days she had been inactive, disinterested and generally “stuck”. Today she shifted and spent time playing with her new ball.

It has been weeks since Tina showed a sincere interest in going outside. As result of her “being stuck” in the emotional place of not wanting to try, we are trying a new homeopathic remedy. We started this new remedy yesterday. Tina immediately began to show more receptivity to the other elephants, she began vocalizing again and today she went outside…YEAH. We are so happy for Tina.

View the slide show that documents Tina's day.

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December 11, 2003

Bunny made her first advances toward Tina tonight; it was too cute.

Jenny was napping and the ever-protective Shirley was standing over her. Bunny was nonchalantly munching on hay when she started to advance ever so slowly toward Tina, who was on the other side of the adjacent stall. Tina had her back to Bunny but was fully aware of Bunny's advances. Tina continued eating and Bunny tip-toed close enough to reach out and smell Tina’s back leg. Tina acted like she was not aware that Bunny was so close and Bunny stood ready to retreat at the slightest provocation. Not a creature stirred until Bunny apparently had accomplished what she came for and put it in reverse. Slowly she backed away from Tina without turning around and Tina never once acknowledged her presence. When Bunny was back with Jenny, Shirley and Tarra her eyes got as big as saucers and she let out a mighty trumpet. A very good first encounter. 

In an effort not to interrupt the sensitive encounter no photos were taken. But here is one that was snapped directly following.

Bunny meets Tina

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December 7, 2003

Tina has gotten quite comfortable with her relationship-at-a-distance routine with the other elephants. They have been patient with her aloof attitude, but are anxious to make friends. Tonight Jenny was insistent that Tina let her get close and personal. Tina was not afraid, but her familiar zone was being tested. She is what we call a “fixed” personality. She gets into her familiar zone and stays there. She has little desire to venture outside of what she knows and has been exposed to. Change is difficult for her. Tonight Shirley also showed a great interest in Tina. She and Jenny both were persistent about their desire to be accepted by Tina. Tina was determined not to make the effort.  Tina won again, but it is not much of a victory. The day will come when she will finally realize the benefit of relating to the other elephants; it is inevitable. It took Bunny one day to realize the joys of her ele-family life and it took Winkie three years. Each is an individual and will come around in their own time.

We hope for Tina’s sake, she comes around sooner than later.
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