Puppy/Pachy Love

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Hat tip to my lil’ sis, who sent me a link to this video the other day.

CBS News reports on “The Animal Odd Couple”:

The so-called “odd couple” in this story is Tarra (an elephant) and Bella (a dog), both residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

I say “so-called” because interspecies friendships aren’t exactly unheard of; heck, according to the AVMA, 43,021,000 American households “own” dogs, 37,460,000 “own” cats, 4,453,000 “own” birds and 2,087,000 “own” horses. While many of these relationships are more akin to that of master/slave, these numbers still allow for quite a few cross-species friendships between human and non-human animals. Personally, I count Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee and Jayne among my bestest of friends.

Oh, but wait! In common parlance, humans aren’t considered “animals” – so interspecies friendships in which one half of the pair is human doesn’t register as an “odd” “animal” couple. Well, allow me to deconstruct further.

When 37.2% of U.S. households include at least one dog, and 32.4% include one or more cats, there’s bound to be some crossover. Interspecies friendships, in fact, aren’t as uncommon as you might think, human-animal relationships aside. Just Google “interspecies friendships” and you’ll get an idea of how rich and social the lives of non-human animals can be, especially when lived without human interference (such as isolating them from other non-human animals).

Of course, pachyderm/canine relationships are still somewhat odd, inasmuch as domesticated dogs and elephants don’t normally come into contact with one another. But you get my drift, yeah? – Namely, just because we (as in, the collective “we”) don’t take the time or effort to recognize the complexity of a species’ needs, desires and interactions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

We simply choose not to see the “humanizing” characteristics in non-human animals:

Because Dog forbid we recognize how closely animal sentience mirrors our own.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Dulary finds sanctuary, and your columnist, in Tenn.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: May 3, 2007 1:08 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Dulary finds sanctuary, and your columnist, in Tenn.

The Philadelphia Daily News printed an opinion piece about the arrival of Dulary the Philadelphia Zoo elephant at The Elephant Sanctuary. Please write a letter to the editor of The Philadelphia Daily News thanking them for publishing the piece. Send letters to views@phillynews.com.

Read “Dulary finds sanctuary, and your columnist, in Tenn.” online.

Dulary finds sanctuary, and your columnist, in Tenn.


Stu Bykofsky

HOHENWALD, Tenn. – After teasing staffers and press for more than four hours, at 5:27 p.m. CDT yesterday, a former Philadelphian named Dulary became the latest pampered permanent pachyderm guest at the Elephant Sanctuary here.

She left the Philadelphia Zoo at 8 a.m. Monday for the 900-mile drive to Hohenwald in a specially designed trailer she proved reluctant to leave, despite the encouraging welcome from Tarra, the first elephant at the 2,700-acre sanctuary, which opened in 1995.

It was Dulary’s first trip off the grounds of America’s First Zoo, where she arrived 42 years ago from Thailand as a 1-year-old infant. In all the ensuing decades, she never got to commune with her own species – Asian elephants.

(More below the fold…)

DawnWatch: Joanna Burke, beloved member of The Elephant Sanctuary team, is killed 7/21/06

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Jul 23, 2006 5:21 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Joanna Burke, beloved member of The Elephant Sanctuary team, is killed 7/21/06

Many in the animal advocacy community have already heard the devastating news, that Joanne Burke, a handler at Carol Buckley’s wonderful elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, was killed on Friday, July 21, by Winkie.

The news was in the Saturday edition of many papers and on the USA Today website. The USA Today story, headed “Elephant kills handler in Tennessee sanctuary,” opens:

“A 36-year-old woman whose love for pachyderms led her from her native Maine to rural Lewis County, Tenn., was attacked and killed Friday morning at a preserve for aging elephants, authorities said.

Also, a man who handles the 22 Asian and African elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary was injured and hospitalized late Friday at Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tenn.”

(More below the fold…)