In Memory of Guida

Rescued October 11, 2016
Died June 25, 2019 at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil
Necropsy determination- probable death from stroke
Approximately 44 years old.  Ex-circus elephant.

Guida was a punk and a joy, and her recovery at ESB absolutely blew us away. When we first met Guida, we were concerned about her future at the sanctuary. She had become so disconnected, so lost in a world of stereotypical swaying, that we were unsure of what it would take to bring her out. True to who we now know is Guida, within her first 24-hours she decided to give Maia (who she’d never gotten along with) a second chance and embraced everything sanctuary had to offer. While we worried about how frail she was, she immediately showed us she was stronger than we could have ever imagined.  And she blessed us with allowing us to take part in what a phenomenal being she was.

It was hard to imagine a chink in her armor, as she has always been so full of life. But yesterday we found her ‘stuck’ in a spot she shouldn’t have been stuck in. It was a somewhat narrow cow trail, and she simply wasn’t willing to lift her one foot to cross over the other. Guida is our girl that chooses to take the difficult paths; this was completely unlike her and the obstacle was much more in her head than in reality. We’re not sure why she felt she was stuck, but we helped her get out just by widening the path a tiny bit with sticks, and verbal encouragement, and she finished going down the trail.

Then she seemed to believe she was stuck in the stream, which was only a couple of inches deep and a couple of feet wide. Her body was clearly exhausted; her legs would slightly buckle from time to time. We used the backhoe to help her out when we saw she wasn’t going to leave on her own. During that process, she would take a step or two, and then lean on a dirt mound to rest for a bit, take another step or two. When she did get out, she laid down. We placed an IV, started her on several meds, and pulled blood with the hope she would allow her body to rest and recover so she could rise on her own. But, after some time, her breaths became more infrequent and the silences extended until everything simply stopped. Just like that, Guida was gone from this world, and it immediately felt all the more empty for it.

There was something about Guida that made it impossible not to fall in love with her. She had a playful, silly side; a sweet, affectionate side; a charming, stubborn side; and eyes that drew you in and you felt like you could see into each other’s souls. And there will never be another like her.

The Reality of Losing Guida is Hard...

The reality of losing Guida is hard, and honestly, we’re trying not to let it sink in just yet. It’s easier to be there for Maia and Rana if we don’t allow ourselves to drown in the loss just yet, and the loss is much more significant for them. Maia came to the sanctuary as an angry girl, an identity that is far behind her. The greatest reason for that change was Guida. She allowed herself to be vulnerable to an elephant who had repeatedly hurt her in the past, to be her friend and help gently guide her to deal with her emotions and allow her inner beauty to find its way out. Maia is who she is, in part because Guida chose to make Maia’s recovery as much of a priority as her own. Maia lost a piece of her heart, and we can’t help but weep for her.

As we sat and talked about Guida, I posed a question to Scott, not knowing if he would have noticed the same thing. Each elephant is so different, in appearance and personality, but when they are down, and their body is failing, they all begin to look the same. In Guida’s face, you could see many other elephants that have traveled down the same path. He said It’s because it’s their spirit you are witnessing at sanctuary. The glow, the life, their inner self that shines through and becomes who they are on the outside as well as the inside, that is who they look like. As that soul dims, they start to look more like an elephant.

We would like to say thank you to all of you who helped give Guida her sanctuary glow and allow her nurturing spirit to shine through for all of us to see. Thank you for bringing her to life.

Maia and Guida

Maia and Guida

The bond between friends cannot be broken by chance; no interval of time or space can destroy it. Not even death itself can part true friends. —John Cassian

Maia and Guida

Tributes to Guida

Please leave your thoughts, wishes, emotions or whatever pours into this Memorial Page for our beloved Guida.