Not long ago, we put up some additional training walls in Yard 5, which allows caregivers to safely do foot treatments with Lady in some of her favorite spots in the habitat. Though she still enjoys foot soaks, she seems to really like the option of getting care in Yard 5 – one of her favorite spots at sanctuary. Lady’s spirit seems to come alive when she is exploring, so it makes sense that working on her feet in the habitat would bring out a lightness in her that you might not otherwise see. This new development is allowing our veterinarian Mateus to appreciate Lady in a new way – seeing a different side of her than he normally would at the barn. Her calmness and easiness in the yard is also bringing out a new side in Mateus as a caregiver.
Lady is a charming but exacting elephant when it comes to working with caregivers. She’s an excellent teacher who reminds everyone to be present when working with her. She doesn’t offer her trust easily, because her past experiences with people let her down. For a while, Lady primarily trusted Kat, but has come to relax around others. It’s a gradual process for someone treating an elephant – focusing on the individual in the moment – but Mateus has always been dedicated to learning.
Though Lady still isn’t particularly interested in spending time with the other elephants, she is at ease on her own. We are always honored when she chooses to open herself up to us.
Photo of Lady in the habitat