Tomorrow is Lady’s 3-year re-birthday. Three years since a stunning, spunky, yet less-than-patient elephant, who used a very unmistakable way of communicating (hitting her head at you), started to realize her life was about to change, and there was a different way to be. Lady is a gem and has earned herself the nickname ‘Perfect Princess’ – mostly true, but part sarcasm. In Scott’s 35 years with elephants, he found her to be one of the most challenging he has ever worked with, primarily because of her insistence on you being uniquely present in an ever-demanding world – hard for someone running a sanctuary. It is difficult to stop thinking of the never-ending list of things that need to be done, but Lady won’t have it any other way. She has caused us all to look at ourselves more deeply when it comes to what we bring to the table in our interactions with her; but that level of introspection and taking responsibility has poured over into our relationships with the other elephants, and made us all better caregivers. While she would generally not be labeled a ‘good’ or ‘easy’ elephant, she doesn’t need those labels. Quite simply, she’s better than that.
Some may feel sorry for Lady, either due to her feet or her desire not to get physically close to the other elephants. But that’s not something we feel towards Lady. Of course, we have the benefit of being with her and not only seeing her, but feeling her presence and how strong she is.
But there are others that don’t need to meet Lady to feel this way. Many people from around the world have reached out and said how inspired they are by her or how they find strength in her. And this is one of her most beautiful qualities (although she is very pretty as well 😉 ). People have voiced that, in their struggles, they have found courage in her story, in all that she has been through and how she still finds a way to not only move forward, but also to find joy. People who have suffered abuse, trauma, or just find themselves in an emotionally difficult place look at Lady and feel that if she can heal after all she has been through, there is hope for them. That maybe tomorrow will be better.
I have always felt there is no greater strength than vulnerability and, after decades of being mistreated, dismissed, and uncared for, Lady opened herself up to the possibilities that a new life of sanctuary could offer. She has learned to trust humans, both emotionally and physically. She has allowed them to provide her with much-needed care, and even if not touching, has found solace and companionship in others of her own kind, in her own way. She is a continual work in progress, as we all should be, but even if her growth stopped tomorrow, she has already come so far from a place that was so dark.
Lady isn’t ‘Poor Lady.’ She is perfectly ‘Badass Lady.’ She has certainly taught all of us here a thing or two or twelve. So in celebration of her three years at sanctuary, which has contained a lifetime of progress, please honor Lady for a strength many of us will never truly know. The lessons she shares are often impossible to teach, because it can be hard for people to open themselves up to in a way that allows them to accept. Lady finds a path into our hearts and shares in a gentle and genuine way. She has touched those who need her without even being in their presence. For that, I am in awe and will always see her as one of the most impressive elephants I have ever known. I consider myself lucky to play a role in her life.
It is not about what you do, but the mark you leave on the world. Who you have touched and those you have helped. And in that regard, Lady’s a rockstar. – From Kat
P.S.: Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday and, although Lady is tough, she does require a significant amount of care. That is why this year we are focusing on offering Lady the gift of healthier feet. The goal is to raise the funds needed to provide a year of health care for Lady, allowing her to put her “best foot forward.” We feel it’s fitting that, since it’s her 3rd re-birthday here at GSE, we make tomorrow all about her in so many important ways. Please join us in helping celebrate all of the wonderful things about Lady by supporting her healing and comfort. https://globalelephants.org/givingtuesday/