Guillermina Adjusts to Footwork

Guillermina and Maia have similar energies in many ways including, as we are finding out, during foot care sessions. Maia is well known for her sleepy demeanor during footwork and it seems that Guille is starting to approach her mani/pedi time with the same attitude. 

Although Guille doesn’t fully fall asleep in the way that Maia sometimes will, she does put her foot up and then slightly doze off, crossing her trunk over so she can lean on her shoulder to snooze. She’ll tilt her head and close her eyes most of the way – which is an interesting way for an elephant who normally has so much spunk to behave. 

As for her feet, they are in okay shape. She just needs to get used to the process, since she’s never had much training with foot presents to speak of, and no footwork at all. Because she walked on concrete and now walks on natural substrates, her nails are not significantly overgrown. Her cuticles need some work, but we’re going slow in that area, since they can be sensitive. Her pads are what is in the worst condition. As we’ve seen with some of the other elephants here, they are overgrown, with multiple layers of pad alternating with dirt and debris trapped in between. Her feet aren’t like Lady’s, and nature will help with some of the issues, but she will need to get her feet into good condition first. So far, she’s doing really well, if only a touch lazy. 

Photo of Guille at the training fence for footwork


  1. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    poor baby that’s terrible the way some so called Humans treat Animals it looks like in the picture that she’s getting more comfortable with you all

  2. REPLY
    Carey says

    mightily impressed that she is doing this and you have got her to do this so quickly. How funny that she and Maia get sleepy during it, I wonder how those big filing tools can make an elephant sleepy, that’s so curious! Does anyone know how this could be relaxing?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      The other girls tend to be very calm, so it may just be that they get used to the routine.

  3. REPLY
    Carey says

    Ps I see what you mean about her pads/soles, and you are shortening her toenails so that the sole gets more wear and that nasty layers of dead skin is worn off by all her walking on natural ground I’m guessing. So interesting

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Her toenails don’t really need much work. The pads will take a much more gradual process.

  4. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    This is a great example of why so many of us look forward to your posts every day! I so love knowing that Guille is like Maia during her footwork. It’s great to know it’s not stressful for her. these details make it so much fun to read, and we’re learning so much about the girls, elephants in general, and elephant care at sanctuary. It’s hard to imagine that Guille’s feet are not as bad as Lady’s, it looks so awful. (I’m trying hard not to think of her as “poor Lady”) Sara, you knew we were all going to be asking that question when we saw the photo of her foot–so thank you for answering it for us in advance!!

  5. REPLY
    Meredith says

    Is the pad like on a dog, or a horse or cow? The dog’s pad is fully exposed and is always making contact with the ground. Horses’ and cows’ “pads”, protected by hoofs, are more sensitive and do not heal easily.
    I would think elephants’ pads would wear naturally in the wild. I’d like to understand more about the nature of the ongoing healing for Guille.
    I continue to be horrified by the neglect to which so many of these creatures are subjected.
    Thankful every day for Sanctuary!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      An elephant’s foot is more substantial than a dog’s pad, but obviously don’t have any type of hoof to protect them. They can be sensitive at times, but they are tough enough that we use farrier’s tools to trim them.

  6. REPLY
    Nancy says


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