Elephants are great for all sorts of reasons. They’re huge, they’re cute, they’re smart, and they’re sensitive. One of my favorite viral videos is the one of Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog. They’re best friends at an animal sanctuary in Tennessee. Bella gets sick and is confined to the animal hospital for a few weeks, and Tarra stands guard outside, waiting for her friend to get better.
Bella & Tarra aren’t the only dog & elephant to become fast friends. At another sanctuary, this one in South Carolina, an elephant named Bubbles struck up a friendship with an abandoned black lab, who, naturally, became a fixture at the sanctuary.
The thing about these stories isn’t just that they make adorable videos. They also provide pretty good evidence for the fact that animals are a lot more complex than a lot of folks give them credit for. I happen to be of the opinion that all animals are created equal – including human animals. I don’t buy into that nonsense about humans being superior and therefore entitled to dominate animals. On the other hand I don’t have a problem with having pets – as long as they’re appropriate for your living situation. After all, cats and dogs domesticated us, not the other way around. (Oops – E is not for cats and dogs. Oh well.)
A few years ago I had the immense pleasure of meeting a lovely elephant named Noey. She lived with some other elephants in a preserve in northern Thailand, outside of the city of Chiang Mai. Noey, like many elephants, really enjoyed those little bananas that are ubiquitous in southeast Asia. (My husband really likes those bananas too. Luckily he let Noey have all the ones that were ear-marked for her.)
There’s something really magical about standing next to an animal as immense as an elephant. To see those huge round feet, to touch that thick leathery skin and that totally funky trunk, to peer into those heavy-lidded eyes. I never realized what I was missing till I met Noey.