Tina's Diary ~ October 2003

October 31, 2003

Tina spent another day inside. The good news is she occupied herself and did not engage in head bobbing which is a sign that she was not stressed. 
Tonight after the 10:30pm feeding Tina took a nap while hanging her trunk over the top rail of the stall. An EleCam viewer e-mailed to ask why she did that. In all honesty, only Tina knows. Whatever the reason she definitely relaxes in that position because she actually fell asleep. Then she discovered that there were grapes in the suspended barrel next to her. What a joy to watch Tina engage in play behavior for over an hour. She manipulated the rope and barrel, flipped it over the top rail and bounced it around trying to get all of the grapes out. It worked; she got every single one.

Tina Napping
Tina finds a comfortable place to nap

Must be one more somewhere....
Tina discovers there's something in the
blue barrel - what could it be?

Her favorite! Grapes!

So much fun
Playtime for Tina
This creative activity entertains Tina for an hour
More play
as she figures out how to get every last grape

Tina discovers the hidden grapesMaybe if I do this....

The very last grape
Tina discovers the very last grape

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October 30, 2003

Another good day for Tina and her family. Tina appears to be pain free. She continues to respond favorably to her foot soaks, medication and evening interaction with the other elephants.
Tonight was quite warm so there really was not reason for the elephants to come into the barn except to visit with Tina. Jenny was first. She went right into Tina's stall and was being gentle but forward. Tina kept her back to Jenny but allowed her to lean her head and face on Tina's back. This interaction went on for about an hour.

Then Tarra came in. She too walked directly over to Tina. Now Tina had two curious elephants on either side. Tina is more familiar and comfortable with Tarra so she allowed her closer contact. After 20 minutes of this double attention Tina crossed over stalls 3 and 4 to get to Sissy. It was so cute—Sissy appears to be excited that Tina solicited her attention. As Tina reached out to her, Sissy immediately turned in a submissive posture with her back to Tina. She placed her back foot up on the gate. Without a hesitation Tina reached down and touched Sissy's foot. Within moments they were face to face touching trunks. Their comfort with one another is obvious. Another good day and even better midnight interaction for Tina.

Jenny greets Tina
Jenny greets Tina
Tarra says hello
Tarra also wants to be with Tina
Jenny and Tarra buddy up to Tina
Jenny and Tarra seek out Tina's company
Tina and Sissy
Tina visits Sissy and touches Sissy's foot
Sissy and Tina
Tina and Sissy —a very healthy interaction
Sissy and Tina
Friendships are deepening

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October 29, 2003

Tonight Tina played with the hanging barrel in her stall. This suspended toy is a great distraction from the unavoidable boredom when indoors. In addition to pulling on the rope with her trunk she also put her mouth over the barrel, biting, pulling and sliding the barrel from side to side along the rope.
Play behavior is not only an indicator of advanced intelligence in a species, it is also a sign that an individual is comfortable and secure in their environment. An animal that is tense, in extreme pain or in anyway guarded will not engage in play behavior.
As we head into the winter months Sanctuary caregivers are challenged to keep the barn interesting for the hours the elephants choose to spend in doors. If you would like to send a "toy" for the girls please consider a boomer ball of any size, empty plastic barrels with a tight fitting lids (only containers that have held non toxic products, please), 4 or 5 inch, thick wall PVC plastic pipe with caps on both ends or thick rope to suspend toys, and used brushes from automated car washes. 
Thanks to all of you for your continued interest and loyal support.

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October 28, 2003

Tina was in great spirits all day. Her foot soaks are really bringing her great relief. We use two different formulas for her foot soaks. In the morning we use apple cider vinegar. This is a wonderful remedy that we have used on each new elephant with foot problems. The vinegar kills bacteria while the pectin acts to sooth sore, sensitive skin. In the afternoon her foot soak is a combination of calendula tea which is steeped peddles of marigolds, hypericum & arnica montana homeopathic remedies and sea salt, all mixed together in a soothing foot bath. Not only does this treatment relax her feet to allow for better circulation which stimulates healing, it also works to prevent infection.
Following each foot soak a thick layer of medication is applied to the problem areas of her nails and foot, bringing added relief.
Tina is a good-natured patient. She offers her feet willingly when asked and keeps them in the buckets for 20 minutes, enough time for the medications to take effect. Most impressive is how patiently she waits for her treats to be placed directly into her trunk.

Tina gets a footsoak

Yummy treats

Footsoaks also mean yummy treats which are given to Tina in small bite-size pieces during the time her feet are being treated.

Just the thing for aching feet
Twice a day Tina's footsoaks sooth and heal her injured feet.

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October 26, 2003

Tina had a good day. She welcomed her foot soaks and even offered the bottom of her feet for medication. We are all very thankful that Tina is responding so well to her medication. Although a portion of her pad has separated there is approximately 50% of the pad that is still attached. The foot soaks and mediaction will help harden the flesh of her foot creating a new callosed pad. We will try to keep the old pad intact until the new pad has formed.
Many of you are concerned about Tina's prognosis. Thank you for your concern. The good news is that Tina will recover completely, and a new pad will form. Now that her feet have been trimmed properly this painful condition will not reoccur.
The other elephants have shown an added interest in Tina since she has been in the barn for this length of time. This evening Tarra spent a few hours with Tina. Around 11pm Jenny came to the barn. She and Tina interacted for over an hour, touching and interacting with each other. Then Jenny let out one of her baby cries, signalling Shirley to come join her in the barn. Shirley looks on Jenny as a baby, which Jenny adores. All it takes is for Jenny to cry and Shirley comes running. As soon as Shirley came into the barn Jenny laid down for a nap. Tina's demeanor changed completly. She was very interested in Jenny sleeping. She reached through the stall bars and gently touched Jenny as she slept. She shared trunk touches and hay with Shirley who stood protectively over Jenny, her sleeping "baby". As Jenny continued to sleep, Tina and Shirley shared hay and interacted until the lights where turned out at 3am CT.

Tina touches Jenny's  foot
Tina touches Jenny's foot
Cali shares a stall with Tina
Cali the cat dozes contentedly

Jenny Reaches for Tina
Jenny reaches out in friendship to Tina

Jenny naps
Tina and Shirley with Jenny (napping)

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Oct. 24, 2003

Tina went outside today. She spent only a few minutes savoring the outdoors then she turned around and headed back inside the barn.

Tina outside the barn
Tina savors the outdoors

Tina has been spending the majority of her time inside the barn this past week. The reason is that her recovery has experienced a setback. We had hoped that her foot problems would be minor and her recovery rapid, but the truth is that her feet have suffered so much trauma over the years that our optomism has been met with disappointment.  We have trimmed all of the necrotic tissue away from the remaining affected nail leaving a small portion of nail which is still healthy. The process of the nail dying off creates a vunerable condition. We had hoped her feet would be healthy enough to avoid a separation of the pad from her foot, but that is not the case. 
Tina continues to be under the professional care of several veterinarians. She is on pain relievers and medicated to address this latest development. Sadly, it is part of her recovery and cannot be avoided. As her pad pulls away and separates from the foot, it exposes the tender tissue underneath. Every step can be painful, which is the reason she has not spent much time outside for the past few days. She appreciates her foot soaks which have been increased to twice a day. We are optomistic that this setback will pass and before long Tina will indeed be able to enjoy the good life. Until then, she is under constant keeper and veterinarian care.

We are doing everything possible to make her comfortable, including providing fresh cut bamboo, one of her favorite treats.

Bamboo is one of Tina's favorite treats
Tina enjoys a special treat of fresh-cut bamboo

Tina's medicine helps her heal

Tina's medicine, carefully mixed with Dole Fruit Bowl helps her heal and also enables her to be more comfortable during the healing process. It is carefully spooned into her trunk to avoid any contamination. Tina loves it!

and eases her pain during the healing process


Tina's footsoaks will help her poor feet heal

Treats during Tina's footsoaks help to make it a better experience

Standing in foot soaks for 20 minutes at a time, twice a day, is made a lot more enjoyable because of the fresh produce treats given to Tina while she patiently allows her feet to be treated.

In total, Tina's treatments cost approximately $25 per day.

October 22, 2003

Tina loses weight!



Tina spent the day inside the barn today. She was calm and content and simply did not want to go outside. When she walked across the scale we were happy to see that she has dropped a little weight. When she arrived two months ago she weighed 9500 pounds. She now weighs 9150 pounds.

Bravo for Tina.

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October 20, 2003

The weather has remained warm, in the high 70s. Tina took advantage of the good weather and followed Sissy right out of the barn this morning. This was another first for Tina.

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October 19, 2003

Sis spends time with Tina in the barn

Tina and Sissy spent time together this evening when Sissy came to the barn. Instead of Sissy following Winkie down the alley behind the barn, she entered the barn from the far side. On her way through the barn to her favorite stall and Winkie, Sissy stopped to spend some time with Tina.

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October 10, 2003

Tina had a surprise visitor today. At around 3pm Winkie wandered in from the pasture to visit Tina. Sissy was close by but did not approach Tina. It appeared that Tina welcomed the company. Winkie was curious and gentle, at first. After a few minutes of touching and leaning on Tina, Winkie began to push on her from behind. Tina remained submissive and did not push back but also did not run away. Winkie was testing Tina to see if she could be provoked. Tina remained neutral which was exactly what Winkie was testing for. The two parted company after having a very healthy interaction.

Winkie and Tina
Winkie visits Tina ...
Testing the waters of friendship
... and the meeting is a good one

Tina is not disturbed
Tina does not seem to be disturbed

Maybe if I push...
even when Winkie gets a little pushy

And Tina is not disturbed!
A very healthy interaction

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October 9, 2003

Another meeting of the girls. Today Jenny left Shirley a few hundred yards away and wandered over to visit Tina. At first Tina was concerned so she started to walk deeper into the woods. Jenny, crippled leg and all, briskly walked a wide circle around Tina to sort of "cut her off at the pass."Tina stopped and so did Jenny. Once Tina was calm, Jenny approached and spent close to 30 minutes soliciting Tina's interaction. Tina was attentive and even reached out to Jenny a couple of times but never enough to actually touch her. Their relationship is right on track, progressing beautifully. After a few minutes there were side by side dusting themselves with rich Tennessee soil. Finally Jenny returned to her ever-patient Shirley who never took her eyes off her precious Jenny.

Jenny visits Tina in the woods
Jenny visits Tina

Jenny and Tina in the woods
A friendship develops


Shirley waits for Jenny to come back
Shirley waits for Jenny

Many of Tina's loyal followers have e-mailed craving more diary entries. In one such e-mail the sender recognized the great expense of time, energy and resources it takes to care for Tina and her family. We hope more of Tina's fans will appreciate this reality and consider contributing to her on-going care. The following e-mail was received from a generous woman by the name of Mavis who did indeed keep her promise to make a donation to the Sanctuary and Tina's care.

I know how busy you all are, but to those of us who visit your website each day, hungry for news of Tina's progress, a week's gap in postings on her diary is very painful!

I have gotten so much joy from reading about the work you do and have felt some guilt for not making a monetary contribution to your efforts...now that I've registered a complaint, my conscience demands that I do so.

Many thanks for the love and devotion you give to "the girls" that you share with me and others. It truly enriches my life.

October 8, 2003

Today many people e-mailed asking about Tina. Some were concerned that since there had not been news in a few days, there must be aproblem. Believe me, there is no problem; quite the contrary. Tina had several days filled with profound experiences. Now she is taking the time to process. In order for Tina to adjust to her new life she must be able to process what happens each day. She is really doing that in a big way — we know because she continue to make such obvious improvement.

When you read the last few entries in her diary you can appreciate the magnitude of what has happened in her life over the past six weeks, most profoundly in the past two weeks. Not only is she going outside every day of her own accord and returning when she pleases, she has mastered the new winter door flaps, become comfortable sharing her space with a multitude of cats and dogs, and finally been close-up and personal with five elephants. Everyone adores her. Jenny and Shirley visit with Tina each morning and then again in the evening before Tina heads back to the barn. Winkie spent some time with her the other day and were both calm and considerate.

It is rewarding to know that so many people continue to follow Tina's progress. She is sincerely loved from Vancouver to Tennessee!

October 6, 2003

This afternoon Winkie came back to the barn earlier than normal. Due to Winkie's past difficulty relating to new elephants, we have made every effort not to create a situation where Winkie and Tina found themselves in close quarters. Apparently Winkie felt it was time that she met Tina. Winkie approached Tina in the outside area where Tina has become so comfortable. Initially Tina turned her back to Winkie. She was apprehensive, but Winkie was very considerate and gentle. She reached up and touched Tina's back. Tina remained still as Winkie turned and gently rubbed on her side. Winkie was amazing and Tina sensed that she was in no danger. After a few minutes, Winkie turned and slowly walked away from Tina and returned to her friend Sissy who was watching from a few yards away. The meeting happened so quickly there wasn't even time to get a camera. Next time!

October 3, 2003

Another endearing meeting. Tonight Jenny came back to the barn just to see Tina. She entered the barn and went directly to Tina's stall. Jenny was determined to get close to Tina, who was receptive but a little tentative. Neither acted submissive nor pushy. Tina reached out to smell Jenny several times. A few minutes later Jenny left the barn to join Bunny and Shirley. A very healthy exchange.

Jenny visits Tina
Jenny and Tina

What a magical day. It started after all of the girls, except Bunny, stayed overnight inside the barn. The winter door which has rubber flaps to keep the heat in, is always open 24/7 allowing the elephants free-choice access. Tina's two stalls are in the middle of the barn. This night Sissy and Winkie were on one side and Jenny, Shirley and Tarra were on the other. All through the night the elephants interacted. Tina was comfortable and calm. In the morning all the girls got their bath and then went outside. As soon as Tina wandered over to her favorite place under the huge oak tree, Jenny and Shirley began to move in her direction. For the next 45 minutes the three got better acquanted without a barrier to separate them. It was touching. Jenny and Shirley flanked Tina, which at first made her tense up. Once she realized their intent — friendship, Tina relaxed. They shared trunk touches exploring each other throughly. Finally Tina wandered further into the woods and Jenny and Shirley went back into the pasture for a nap.

Many avid EleCam viewers e-mailed to say they had seen this incredible sight. One person gave permission to post her e-mail.

Good Morning

What a way to start the day....I am sooooo excited. I just could't believe my eyes. Tina in a herd.!!! Phenominal.!!!! What a breakthrough!!!!!>

The way the girls approached her, one on either side was incredible. It was like they were saying, OK Woman, you have been here long enough now, you need to know your family and you are simply just not going anywhere, we've got you surrounded. LOL. Tina certainly didn't seem too concerned. And also, the way Tarra kind of stayed off to one side, close enough that Tina could still feel her companionship and comfort but far enough away that Tina had to deal with the girls by herself. I swear that these are the most intelligent animals I have ever seen. They seem to have almost human- like thought processes.

This might sound kind of strange and I really don't know how to explain it, but as I am watching them right now I can "feel" them, not like I am physically touching them, but in a spritual way. They seem to draw me in. Do you know what I mean or am I rambling again.

You have a wonderful day!!!!!!!

Tina, Jen, Shirley
Tina, Jenny, and Shirley — without barriers!

Tina, Jenny, Shirley
Jenny and Shirley patiently befriend Tina...

Tina, Jenny, Shirley
...and get even closer!

Shirley reaches out to Tina
Shirley reaches out for Tina

Jenny's a happy girl
Jenny's a happy girl

In the evening when Sissy and Winkie returned to the barn, Tina was already inside calmly eating her dinner. She had eaten most everything when Sissy slowly approached. They stood side by side sharing the last of Tina's cabbage, they could not have been calmer. Then Tina reached up to investigate Sissy's head and ears. Finally she gently laid her trunk over Sissy's head. This was a gentle display at dominance on Tina's part. Sissy was not concerned, she is quite comfortable being the submissive one; all she cares is that they are friends. Once Tina saw that Sissy was comfortable with being dominated she began to pull on her ear and stick her trunk in her ear. This went on for less than a minute. Sissy is amazing at shaping the behavior of the other elephants in a passive manner. She is fine with being submissive but she is not ok with being picked on. Her solution is to walk away leaving the other elephant realizing that she will not use aggression as a form of communication. Although she will agree to be submissive she will not stay around and be mistreated. It is always awesome to watch Sissy at work.

Tina shares a cabbage
Tina and Sissy share a cabbage

Tina has a new friend
Tina has a new friend

Tina and Jenny
Tina and Sissy

After Sissy walked away, Tina headed toward the rubber flap door leading outside. She played with the flaps and then went right outside, another first — outside at night. For the next 20 minutes she played with the flaps and then went back inside the barn.
What a day!

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October 2, 2003

This evening Tina walked through a new obstacle; rubber door flaps. She acted like she had done it a million times but the truth is this was her first. No problem.

Tina navigates the rubber flap door
Another first for Tina - navigating the rubber flap door

Straight on through without a hitch

Almost through
Right on into the warm barn

Nothing to it...!
Absolutely nothing to it!

What a brave Tina!
What a smart, brave Tina!

Tina was amazing today. She was calm, chirped (a happy sound) every time Tarra approached and seemed much more aware and interested in what was happening around her then she has previously. She had a couple of bouts of head bobbing in the afternoon but spent nearly the entire day neuroses-free.

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October 1, 2003

What a wonderful day. Tina did not bob — such a wonderful thing to watch, bob-less Tina. She had a wonderful night last night with her family; they were all in the barn, except Bunny. She interacted with Jenny until 4pm. Long night for the staff but well worth the benefit for the girls. Today was bug-free, cool and Tina seemed to be so calm and content. Tarra spent a majority of the day with her and again tried to get her to play. This time Tina was less resistant. It might just be a matter of time until Tarra convinces her to engage in play behavior. This evening we spent a couple hours trimming Tina's feet. We spent most of that time on her back feet and found her hips to be rather stiff. This is not surprising for an animal that did not get enough exercise for many years. Shirley and Jenny came back to the barn again tonight. The were interested in interacting with Tina and although she did get too close she walked through two stalls to get to them. Tina was much calmer today and showed very little aggression. She postured with her head a couple of times but got no response so she stopped. Jenny spent the most time interacting but Shirley was able to actually touch Tina through the bars. They all remained calm and interested. Another wonderful day for Tina and her family.

Jen reaches out to Tina
Jen reaches out to Tina
Tina and Jenny
Tina seems more comfortable with Jen
Tina meets Shirley
Shirley meets Tina

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