It’s no wonder that so many of my early posts were about her battle and my loss. As a result of putting my experiences with Bella out there, I have been lucky enough to connect with other dog owners struggling with the loss or pending loss of a best friend. And while lucky sounds like an odd word to associate with that statement, I do feel lucky because people have shared with me the most wonderful stories of the love that they have for their dogs.
There is of course profound sadness that comes with the territory; I have often found myself sobbing about dogs I have never even laid eyes on but it’s worth it to be able to connect to the pure love we humans can share with a dog. It’s a beautiful if not painful thing, and apparently we are not alone in our ability to connect to man (and woman’s) best friend…
So while I can’t pretend to know what an elephant thinks or feels on most days, I think I can imagine what Tarra, an elephant living at in a Tennessee sanctuary, is feeling today.
You may remember Tarra from the news a while back. She is the rescue elephant who befriend a stray dog almost a decade ago. The two were inseparable and were such an incredible story that CBS news profiled them in 2009.
Unfortunately their story took a sad turn this week…
For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. Tarra clearly loved her little dog and Bella obviously bonded right back.
They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they’d become and remained, right to the end.
Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella’s body. By all indications she’d been attacked by coyotes. Whether Tarra witnessed it, tried to intervene or was too late – no one knows. All they do know is that where they found Bella is not where she was attacked.
“When I looked around and saw there was no signs of an attack here. No blood, no tuffs of hair, nothing,” said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. “And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood – as if she picked up the body.
Tarra moved her?
“Tarra moved her,” Smith said.
Steve’s theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home.
Whether it really happened that way or not, no one doubts Tarra was that devoted.
“There’s nothing we can do to take away her pain,” said Atkinson. “The only ones who can help now are the elephants. And that is already happening.”
Atkinson said the elephants are “stepping in and stepping up.” He said they’re spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice – making gestures like giving her a portion of their food.
Of course, anyone who’s lost a dog knows you can’t eat your way out of the grief – as much we might try — but still nice to know at least Tarra’s not alone in this.
It’s also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.
In rescue, people tend to have their things. Some do transport, some raise money, some do adoptions, some foster and some do all of the above. I’ve been a money raiser/money raiser/transporter who doesn’t love doing adoptions and who certainly never fostered–my beloved Bella had a certain disdain for pretty much anything on four legs.
But now, with my boy Ranger being the congenial happy-go-lucky boy that he is, I realized that I could consider temporarily inviting a second dog in my home. (Fostering is really one of the most helpful things you can do for a rescue btw for anyone considering it.)
Marvin is for Adoption
At the same time, a long-time rescue friend, on whom I have foisted many a dog, found herself with 3 spirited young pups. She has been doing rescue for a long time and had been trying to wind down her pack to just lifers–older dogs who were basically unadoptable whether for behavioral or health reasons. But as a tender-hearted sucker, she couldn’t say no to the puppies; each with a story more terrible than the next. And while they were independently quite wonderful, together, the puppy energy was driving her nuts!
In a recent conversation I could hear the exasperation in her voice–remember god made puppies cute for a reason. Feeling like I wanted to pitch in and realizing I could actually try fostering at this point, I offered to foster one of the pups with a focus on finding him a home. She was ecstatic.
Within a few hours I was driving away from her house with Marvin..the absolutely cutest 22lb poodle mix you’ve ever seen. He’s steel gray with a bit of white on his chest and a light gray soul patch under his chin. It’s unclear what’s he’s mixed with, maybe a Lhasa Apso perhaps or a Tibetan Terrier? Whatever is in there, is incredibly affectionate and smart.
This dog just loves love. He wants to be next to you, in your lap or even better in your lap curled into your armpit. He is also quite playful with Ranger and with us; not annoying so, but he definitely makes things a bit more lively in the house. And the best part is that Ranger, who can be a little aloof is learning from Marvin how to be more affectionate.
There are people interested in him already and I hope we find him a perfect home–one where he will be cherished and loved and one where he can spend a good deal of time cuddled up like the baby he was born to be!
Russian scientists say that Moscow stray dogs became much smarter. The four legged oldest human’s friends demonstrate real smartness such as riding the Moscow metro every morning to get from their suburban places of living to the fat regions of Moscow center. Once they arrive to the downtown they demonstrate different new, previously unseen for the dog skills. Those skills can include “the hunt for shawarma” for example, the popular among Muscovites eastern cuisine dish. This hunt scene can be seen as this:
Regular Moscow busy street with some small food kiosks. A middle-aged man buys himself a piece of hot fast food and walks aside chewing it without a rush. Then just in a second he jumps up frightened – some doggy has sneaked up on him and barked out loudly. His tasty snack falls out from his hands down to the ground and the dog gets it. Just ten minutes later, on the same place, the teen youngster loses his dinner in exactly the same manner. The modern
Russian dogs are on their urban hunt.
“This method of ambushing people from their back is widely exercised by Moscow dogs”, saying A. Poiarkov, working in Ecology and Evolution Institute of Moscow. “The main point here is to define who would drop the food scared and who won’t, but the dogs are great psychologists they can do it better than us”.
Moscow ecologists think that dogs started acquiring this habits in 1990s, when the Soviet union collapsed and Moscow has fell into the hands of new class of Russian capitalists. They understood the true value of the downtown realty underestimated by previous Communist owners and became removing all the industrial complexes Moscow had in its centre to its outskirts. Those places were used by homeless dogs as a shelter often, so the dogs had to move together with their houses, so they had to learn how to travel Moscow subway – first to get to the centre in the morning then back home in the evening, just as us people.
I’ll say first that this story has a happy ending. Because it would be too depressing otherwise and who needs that!
Sunny the Bloodhound
Sunny and her parents were visiting Los Angeles from Wyoming when Sunny, who can be a bit skittish managed to get away from her Mommy & Daddy. It happened in the morning as they were packing up to head back home. Sunny was with her Daddy when another guest at the hotel came by rolling his suitcase. The noise freaked Sunny out, she wiggled out of her collar- hello that’s why I prefer martingale collars or harnesses when taking my dogs outside-and took off. Sunny ran right into the street where she was hit by a car.
Her Daddy didn’t see the actual impact but saw her go flying into the air. He then saw her land and then take off. They drove off after her; they canvassed the neighborhood; checked every shelter in the area. But nothing. She was gone.
They were devastated. This is a dog that sleeps with them every night, and goes to work with her Daddy everyday.
When checking the West Valley shelter, they happen to have been there at the same time as my rescue partner Amy who was pulling a Mastiff (more on Pasqualina later). Amy for those of you who don’t know her is the absolute best. She is quite possibily the biggest animal lover you’ll ever meet, but I’ll tell you, she doesn’t always trust or take too kindly to all people.
But when Amy heard these people tell their story, she knew they were good dog owners who ended up in bad situation. Amy went full force networking Sunny’s story to the network of LA rescuers. Sure enough, through these contacts Amy was able to keep an eye on all of the area shelters and when a Bloodhound showed up on the West Valley Shelter’s website a few days later, Amy was like white on rice calling Sunny’s owners who had gone back to Wyoming.
As soon as they got Amy’s call though, they hopped in the car and started the 1300 mile drive back to LA to get their girl. While no one should ever have to go through such an ordeal, thank god for people like Amy!
Guess Mommy wasn't too original with my name! Bella was #3 on the list!
The top ten pet names for cats and dogs has been revealed — and one name took the top prize in both categories.
Veterinary Pet Insurance, a pet health insurance provider, went through its database of more than 450,000 insured pets to find the most popular monikers of 2008.
The company found that traditional pet names, such as Fido, took a back seat to “people” names last year. They also discovered that some of the most popular dog and cat names also rank among the Social Security Administration’s most popular baby names.
Click through the galleries below to see what pet names are on the list and check out other animals that have made headlines recently.