Doctor Trish, our US veterinarian, is here and has been taking time to reacquaint herself with everyone. She has years of elephant experience and she is one of the vets we consult with whenever there is a medical issue we want an outside opinion on. Her observations bring a perspective that is beneficial to long-term care, especially in the case of geriatric elephants like our residents, who have experienced emotional and physical trauma and often have complex care needs.
Mara’s progress and the increase in her appetite pleasantly impressed Trish. Last time Trish was here, Mara was dealing with a particularly delicate phase of her gastrointestinal issues. Mara was undergoing the first round of medications, as we tried to narrow down exactly what might be wrong. In those days, Mara was barely eating first thing in the morning. She might have one piece of fruit every few minutes until it seemed like her appetite would jump start. Some days it is hard for us to believe how much improvement that Mara has made when we look back, but it is wonderful for Trish to see a different Mara – one who eats a whole crate of food for breakfast and asks for more.
Because Lady’s foot issues have shifted, Trish is observing her foot soaks and treatments, looking at the state of her feet now and talking about different possibilities on where we might go from here. Trish was a part of Lady’s rescue and knows the critical condition her feet were in when she arrived, so she has a unique perspective on how things have changed since then. We’ve had long discussions and Lady has been good about allowing us to look at her feet a number of times. As we’ve said before, we must be careful about how we proceed. We need to balance addressing her issues to try and heal them, without doing so much that it causes a substantial level of discomfort or damage.
While Rana is always so good with her caregivers here, she has been known to test new people in the past. Trish isn’t exactly new, but she is not part of Rana’s daily team, so Rana has been demonstrating her typical defiant behaviors. She is generally very loving and demonstrates calm behaviors around us, but as Trish said, there is “obviously a lot going on in there,” as far as what Rana is thinking.
Perhaps the biggest change Trish has witnessed is with Bambi’s demeanor. Trish went to the zoo for Bambi’s rescue and her behaviors were pushy and pretty much all over the place. Compared to those early days, Bambi is much more relaxed and present. We have witnessed that in the last couple of weeks, Bambi has become increasingly grounded and settled and connected to what is going on around her – and her interactions with human caregivers are continuing to improve. So, with Bambi, Trish sees a completely different elephant that is growing as she becomes more comfortable at sanctuary.
Maia hasn’t made much of an appearance so far, but Trish will evaluate her and give her independent advice and observations soon. Our time with Trish is always very valuable and helps us see how we can continue to care for the elephants in the healthiest way possible.
Photo of Bambi with Rana in the background