Bugsy’s Story and Animals Learning Proper Boundaries

Bugsy, one of our sanctuary dogs, came to us in the saddest of conditions. We found him on the side of the road and didn’t even know what kind of animal he was; his fur (or what was left of it) was in such a tragic state. We investigated and found that he was a small dog who was covered in mange and some sort of silver spray. When we brought Bugsy home, we had to keep him separated from the other dogs because of the type of mange he had. He actually wore canine surgical shirts because of how bad his skin was. Nevertheless, he was a very good puppy. 

As one of his duties, Bugsy took it upon himself to become Kat’s protector. If she ever had to go into the wild areas past the house to place food for the antas during their rehabilitation, Bugsy would follow her out through the gate, and Kat would make him sit and stay; she never wanted him to actually come upon a wild anta, since we don’t want wild animals being comfortable with dogs. Although our dogs are lovely, there are many that would not welcome a large tapir. But Bugsy always waited patiently for her to reappear, and the two of them would walk back to the house together. This was the beginning of his education on how to live in a world with both humans and wild animals. 

We ask all of our domesticated animals to be aware of where they are and where they should be, and they do. Much of the time, the animals that live near the house are off doing dog or cat or goat or lamb things, and don’t take time to care much that there are elephants nearby – because the elephants aren’t part of their daily routines. When Bugsy came to live with us, he was young (probably 4 months), so he picked up right away that elephants don’t “play” in the same way that puppies do. Should he ever be with you on the road, on the 4-wheeler, or at the barn, he learned to keep a safe distance between himself and the elephants. In fact, all of our dogs seem to be able to intuit what we need from them when elephants are around. We rarely have to say a word. On occasion, we might put a hand up to signal the dogs to stop or move back, and they walk away. 

The dogs do occasionally come out to the habitats with us, but only because they have learned to give the elephants proper space, and they do what the humans tell them to do. The other members of our animal household don’t enter the habitat. Milo will still sometimes run alongside the 4-wheeler with the dogs, but only for quick trips to the water holding tanks. For the most part, the domestic animals here go about their daily lives without thinking much about elephants (if they do at all). They are used to the sounds elephants make, which can echo up the hills to where they are. But, for the most part, they live their days out as normally as possible.

The first photo is of Bugsy with Maia in the background. The second photo is Bugsy in his first days at sanctuary, with the silver spray still on his body.


  1. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    He has grown into a very handsome, happy boy!

  2. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Look at his smiley fave ❤️They are very smart ❤️
    I love the harmony between them all 🥰

  3. REPLY
    June Ross says

    Who on earth would treat the dog in this manner! What the heck is the matter with our human race?
    Not nice at all. I am so happy you found him and to see the shape he is in now. WONDERFUL! Love ya Bugsy!

  4. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Dogs are angels sent from heaven to help humans in everything they do. 🥰🐾🥰

  5. REPLY
    Andy says

    Thank you for healing him, and he now has a wonderful life.

  6. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    Three square meals a day and a safe place to sleep, plus plenty of friends around to play with…….What MORE would a dog like???? Maybe a dog playground? Or some potential mates?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      He has plenty of dogs and cats to play with – and he’s not lacking for land to romp around on. (But we don’t plan on raising puppies any time soon – so no to that!)

  7. REPLY
    Suzanne eaton says

    Our sanctuary is a haven for all sick and injured animals. What a difference love, food and medicine makes. Thank you for all You do.

  8. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    Your work with and love & respect for all animals is beautiful 💙 Bugsy looks so happy and healthy now 🥰

  9. REPLY
    Angie Gibson says

    Sweet Bugsy❤️ You can see the relief in his eyes at being found and in your lap of safety and then above, you can see the gratitude and utter contentment in his eyes “on the job” out in the habitat! These fur babies know who save them and they just love you so much in return 🥰

  10. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Some things are just meant to be. Bugsy finding his way to GSE for healing, love and his furever home is one of those things. 🐾♥️🐘

  11. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    Poor baby Humans are selfish and Evil some are but look at him now loving home and safe plus the People at the Sanctuary are the best

  12. REPLY
    Sherry says

    It is great see and learn how you care for all of the animals!
    Thank you, sanctuary!!

  13. REPLY
    Wim says

    A lot of love and care reveals there’s an angel living in there. Blessings to Bugsy!

  14. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Catching up on emails after a long trip and this one was the only one I took the time to read twice, looking at the before and after pics again. My heart lifted with the news of Bugsy’s healing and finding his beautiful forever home. I’m going to stop going through emails for now and enjoy my lifted spirit. Thank you. 💕

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Wonderful – we hope your lightness lasts all day. We can all use a little more of it these days.

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