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In Memory of Our Dear Lady

We are saddened to announce that our beloved Lady passed away quietly on Wednesday evening, May 15. She was humanely euthanized after lying down and not showing any interest in getting up again. There are no records of her birth, but we believe that she was approximately 52 years old.

Before she lay down, part of her routine was receiving pain medicine 3 times per day. Someone was with her at 10pm on Monday and she was standing next to the big, beautiful tree in the first male Asian yard; she would often put her rear end against the trunk and sleep. At 6am, she was found lying down in the second male Asian yard. We checked to make sure she was alive, but she was very still and quiet and not giving any indication that she wanted to do anything other than stay where she was. 

There were some signs around her body that she’d moved a little in the night, but nothing indicated that she had tried to get up. The entire time that she was lying down, she was still there mentally, but she seemed less responsive than any elephant we’ve ever seen that was down for any length of time. Normally, you would see some dusting or ear flapping – even on the ground, they remain active – but there was none of that from Lady. She would sleep, and when approached, would open her eyes and look at you, but then go right back to sleep. She was monitored all day Tuesday, continued receiving her pain medication, but there was no change in her status. On Wednesday morning, our entire veterinary team was here, including Mateus, Dr. Trish, and Dr. Luciana, the contracted equine vet who does rounds with us every two weeks. As a group of people who work with Lady all the time, we evaluated her and sadly agreed that Lady seemed like she was done fighting and was ready to go. 

Six months ago, when her most recent bout of inflammation emerged, you could tell the struggle was different. She had a small rebound when we began a homeopathic remedy; she could bend her elbows and lie down again. But that upswing was short lived and it started to become evident that we might not see the rebound that we were hoping for. This past week we saw a bigger shift and those things that made her Lady were starting to slowly disappear. 

One of the things we tell all of our elephants is: You fight, we fight. We will always work to help an elephant who is still pushing to live. We offered Lady water, coconut water, and Gatorade but she would just take it in her nose and spit it out. She wasn’t much interested in food, and when we gave her anything to eat, most often she’d just hold it in her mouth until she fell asleep, and then the food would just roll out. She did show some enthusiasm when she was offered Froot Loops after we took a blood sample, but it seems almost no elephant can refuse them ever. 

We did not try to lift her; she hadn’t been rocking or showing interest in moving. Trying to lift an elephant, especially one who has never been lifted before, can cause great stress to the animal. But if they don’t want to stand, trying to lift them only causes more harm.. You can’t make an elephant stand in that situation. 

Part of autonomy is giving each elephant the ability to decide not to go on. The only reasons not to respect what Lady seemed to be telling us would be selfish ones. As difficult as the realization is, we all knew that this problem wasn’t going away. Even if she were to magically decide to stand up, we would be in the same place with her in a week, a month, or possibly in another few hours. We consulted with experts around the world about her care and treatments, everyone from zoos to sanctuaries to human and equine facilities; we tried traditional medicine, complementary therapies like laser therapy, homeopathy, energy work, anything to find a non-harmful remedy that might provide her some relief, but always with limited success. Still, these things are what gifted her four years at sanctuary when we initially thought she wouldn’t last even one. 

Given the state of her feet upon rescue, it is likely that Lady endured foot disease for at least two decades. Her strength and resolve and her need for emotional connection with her caregivers made her a great teacher for all of us. She always seemed to know what she wanted and it appeared to all of us that she was ready to be released from the pain she lived with for so long. She was unlike any elephant we’ve ever encountered and we don’t expect to see another like her in our lifetime. We plan to lay her to rest just outside the habitat fences, because Lady was always looking out to see what was just beyond the next hill or valley or grassy clearing. We want to honor the part of her that wanted a life that did not contain her. Now her body and spirit both know just that. 

You can leave a message on Lady’s memorial page here: https://globalelephants.org/in-memory-of-lady/

Photo of Lady looking off into a majestic sunset

Comments(57)

  1. REPLY
    Janice Murphy says

    My sweet Ladybug. I will miss you!! RIP.

  2. REPLY
    Tish Aguilar says

    Her life was a blessing. I sob for all she suffered most of her life. But I rejoice that she had found sanctuary at last.

  3. REPLY
    Sara Dollins says

    Heartbroken 💔 walk free and wild sweet lady x know you were loved x

  4. REPLY
    Cassie Raymond says

    So many tears. My heart breaks for all of you. Thank you for making her last years most likely her best years. I appreciate all that you do for all in your care. I know you’ll still be there for the other elephants, but I also know you will all grieve the loss of Lady together. Sending my deepest condolences.

  5. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Oh my. 💔I just cannot stop these tears. Ladybug, you grabbed my heart and took hold, and there you will stay. 💔🐘💔

  6. REPLY
    Juan says

    It’s sad to hear this news about Lady. Thank you for giving so much compassion and delicate care for last 4 years. We really got to know her well thanks to your updates and will miss her observance

  7. REPLY
    Tracy says

    💔
    That’s a beautiful tribute for a beautiful Lady.
    Thank you for all you do.
    😢

  8. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Oh my goodness – this is the first email I read this morning and though I’m heartbroken – I’m also imagining her free of pain and fear on the other side and THAT makes me sooo happy for her. God bless you sweet Lady. Can’t wait to meet you when it’s my turn. 🙏💝

  9. REPLY
    Rocío says

    💔💔💔💔 RIP sweet Lady.
    This new made me so sad, but she is not suffering anymore.
    Thank you to all of you who take care of these wonderful animals.

  10. REPLY
    Debra Moore says

    You run along, Lady, in the fields and streams and with your trees around you, always. Blessings to all at GSE today, I know these are heavy losses, but you know much more than I how it goes with elephants.
    I am so very sorry for this loss, but as so many have said, she was a special one in so many ways. I cannot think of a better place for any elephant than with you all. thank you for all that you have done for Miss Lady.

  11. REPLY
    Queita says

    Thank you for all the care, kindness, and love shown to Lady. May she rest well in the “over the next hill”.

  12. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Dear sweet wonderful Lady you have given everyone around you so much joy and love you will be forever missed you fought hard and long and now you are free from any pain you will be with your sisters who are welcoming you into Heaven where you can feel young again having fun with those who you’ve missed terribly! Lady you will never be forgotten God bless you sweet girl and thank you! 💞🙏🦋

  13. REPLY
    Greg says

    I’m so sorry to hear of Lady’s passing. She was loved by all and will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace! 🙁

  14. REPLY
    Maureen says

    I am heartbroken, as I know are all of you. We knew our most precious Lady was declining but it is still hard to hear this. Thank you for giving Lady her best 4 years. For giving her choices and allowing her freedom. Lady became our adventuras explorer, wandering far a field and finding her favorite spots and the very best grasses. It was her time, thank you for recognizing it and helping her peacefully go, surrounded by those who loved her the most, all of you. Rest peacefully Lady and wander endlessly in the big sky pastures with no fences and only the best grass. We love you 💔❤️🌈🐘❣️🐘

  15. REPLY
    Shelley Russell says

    I am so desperately saddened by this news as you all must be. Thank you for describing in detail her final decline. What a hard decision to make. It always is for any animal that you love and has been part of your life. I am so very sorry and am sending love and support to you Scott, Sarah , Meteus and the rest of the team.

  16. REPLY
    Karen says

    You are free now lovely Lady. We will miss you so much.

  17. REPLY
    Beji says

    Oh no no no…heaven has another angel

  18. REPLY
    Robin says

    Following Lady to her home at Sanctuary is how I learned of Sanctuary. Lady has been my in my heart since then. Thank you for giving Lady the wonderful gift of Sanctuary and caring for her, you could see how much see loved it. Lady will never be forgotten and live in all our hearts and prayers, rest in peace beautiful Lady.

  19. REPLY
    Dawn says

    Rest In Paradise LadyLove. We will forever Love you. You fought that fight hard. Thank you Scott, Katt and all the ESB team for caring helping and loving on Lady and all the girls. We appreciate you forever. ♥️ Philly ♥️Love and Hugs sent to you all. Heartbreaking 💔

  20. REPLY
    Susan Brown says

    Ahhh beautiful, solitary Lady. It feels too soon but it’s not my timing. My heart has always been with you since you first arrived. Blessings dear Lady. Susan (Canada)

  21. REPLY
    Dawn says

    Rest in Paradise Lady. Heartbreaking 💔 You fought hard. Thank you Scott, Katt and ESB family for loving protecting helping and supporting these beautiful girls. Sending Hugs and Love from Philly ♥️

  22. REPLY
    Yanett says

    Es triste saber que ya no estará más en el Santuario, hará mucha falta pero por fin es libre y sin dolor. Gracias por amarla como lo hicieron y darle los mejores cuidados. Un abrazo desde la distancia para ustedes y para esa alma libre que ahora es lady .

  23. REPLY
    Lauren says

    So very sad to hear of Lady going over the rainbow bridge, but so glad her pain is over and she is at peace.

  24. REPLY
    Jean says

    I am so sorry to hear about Lady’s passing.
    Thank you for giving her dignity, grace and letting her be who she wanted to be. You gave her a wonderful life.
    I have followed her journey from beginning to end. I feel as though I have lost a family friend. May She rest in peace. Thank you for all you have done for this precious being.
    My deepest condolences to you and everyone that have taken care of this magnificent soul.

  25. REPLY
    Marsha says

    I am so heartbroken. RIP beautiful Lady💔😪

  26. REPLY
    Cherie says

    Thank you for all your care of and for Lady and for sharing this journey with us. ❤️

  27. REPLY
    Dawn Ambler says

    So important that Lady had sanctuary and wonderful people to take care of her. She has moved on and will suffer no more pain. Love you Lady.

  28. REPLY
    Silvana Soranna says

    Te deseo Paz y Luz, en tu viaje al cielo, hermosa Lady
    Conozco el sentimiento de luchar con ellos hasta que ellos deciden descansar!
    Eso es respetarlos en su más íntimo vibrar del alma!
    Sucede eso también, con los caballos de la ONG ACMA ARGENTINA,
    Se le dio dignidad, una gran casa verde y espacios para vagar, se la consideró en cuerpo y alma.
    Ahora, cansada pero siempre agradecida a sus amorosos cuidados, no pudo más y se fue a descansar para siempre.
    Todos te amamos Lady! Abrazo a Guida y a Pocha. Cruzaste el arcoiris rodeada de AMOR!

  29. REPLY
    Peggy Quentin says

    Boa viajem Lady. Saudades de Lady.

  30. REPLY
    Marsha A. Firman says

    I am heartbroken to hear this. She was a very special lady. RIP dear Lady💔😪

  31. REPLY
    Kit F. says

    I’m so saddened to hear of Lady’s passing. RIP Lady you are now free of pain. You will be always be remembered and greatly missed.
    My deepest condolences to Kat, Scott and the entire team at GSE. Thank you so much for giving Lady a wonderful four years.

  32. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Like everyone else, I am heartbroken that Lady has left this realm. While she lived, I kept hoping for a miracle.Thanks to everyone who helped make her sanctuary life good. Oh, I am just so sad even though I know she is an elephant angel right now in heaven with no more pain. Love forever to all.

  33. REPLY
    Carole Kramer says

    Such a sad sweet end for beautiful Lady. It is good that she is no longer suffering pain. She knew and made her wishes clear she was finished with this life. Deepest thanks to ESB for your wisdom and exquisite care for dear Ladybug. It is a terrible loss. Heartbreaking. Condolences for all. 💔

  34. REPLY
    Carole Kramer says

    Such a sad sweet end for beautiful Lady. It is good that she is no longer suffering pain. She knew and made her wishes clear she was finished with this life. Deepest thanks to ESB for your wisdom and exquisite care for dear Ladybug. It is a terrible loss. Heartbreaking. Condolences for all.

  35. REPLY
    Elizabeth says

    I am so sad to hear this. I know this must feel so heavy for all of you- you are in my thoughts. Thank you so much for the good years you gave her. She was so loved and will be so missed.

  36. REPLY
    Terry says

    I am wiping away big buckets of tears. Lady was the beacon in the Light House. She shed her Light upon us all. Her independence, courage, resilience, and big brave heart most certainly touched my heart and the hearts of so many others.

    I spill sad tears over all the years Lady endured in captivity which resulted in her life being cut short. I honor and respect her decision to be set free with the help and assistance of her care team. Lady trusted everyone at ESB with her life and also with her passing. What an honor and tribute to everyone who watched and cared for Lady at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. Without all of you, Lady would have never enjoyed 4 years of sanctuary life and freedom.
    Fly on sweet Lady and watch over us!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  37. REPLY
    Zoi says

    RIP my sweet girl. Now you’re back with your mama, after learning that not all humans are cruel. I’d like to share this video about our beloved Lady and how her life was until she came to the paradise where she spent her last four years. https://youtu.be/9os41DJQ9qE?si=i9GaMxdxfsdIlUgz

  38. REPLY
    Dorothy Ann Kewley says

    R.I.P beautiful girl, you are now young again and can travel the clouds at peace and no pain, with love from me and my rescued animals Xxxxxx

  39. REPLY
    kathy says

    I can picture her standing at the rainbow bridge and seeing her mama and her dear Aunties all waiting to welcome her home at last. Rest in power Lady, you struggles are over. Thank you for all the love and care you gave Lady.

  40. REPLY
    Lynn Kantor says

    Rest in peace beautiful Lady. Such a mark you leave upon us who loved you. Thank you for sharing your journey. May we all keep going knowing that our Lady fought for her life with such grace, kindness and generosity of spirit

  41. REPLY
    Marsha A. Firman says

    RIP dear Lady. After all the pain you endured in your life aim glad you had four years of love at Sanctuary.

  42. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Dear Lady, you are not suffering any longer. You were well taken care of at your home, Global Sanctuary. You were deeply loved by all and your elephant friends, too. RIP

  43. REPLY
    Kristina says

    While I’m so very sad to hear sweet Lady needed to leave us, I’m sure the team that cared for her and loved her daily is grief-stricken…have no doubt you gave her the best years of her life, beautiful years, and gave her a peaceful passing when she was ready. My heart goes out to all of you.

  44. REPLY
    Carey says

    All I can say is a huge warm thank you for all your understanding of her, I’m so glad she finally got the chance to roam in nature and was so determined to do what she so craved. As you say, with her feet in that condition, it was amazing that she was with you as long as she was. She must have had an indomitable spirit, and she triumphed over her disabilities and pain, and you can feel proud that you gave her more time, more health, more understanding. I’m very sorry for your grief. This part of your work recurring as it is must be very hard…

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for those kind words. Lady changed us in innumerable ways. She won’t leave our thoughts any time soon.

  45. REPLY
    Maria says

    I am so very sorry Scott & Kat..I literally had to stop reading for a second bc I started to cry so hard..I cannot imagine the horrible life she was forced into before she came to live her intended life with you guys at GSE..thank you for loving and caring for her and showing her that not all humans are evil and heartless
    Rest in heaven with your natal herd Ladybug..no more pain and you have your family again..we will never ever forget you..we will miss you prettiest princess🌸💜🌺

  46. REPLY
    Maria Cristina Hatz says

    Lady doce e amada siga em paz livre na sua jornada rumo a NOVA TERRA 🐘🙌🙏
    Lady eternizada na minha vida🐘🙌 Queridos irmãos do Santuário meus profundos sentimentos e pesar neste dia tão triste e transmitam o meu acolhimento as irmãs elefantes que continuam conosco gozando vida digna e feliz no santuario🐘❤️

  47. REPLY
    Susan McKee says

    Father of all creation, thank you for your gift of Lady and the wisdom and growth she inspired. As we loved her well, we sadly let her go. Receive her Lord, into the eternal home of your presence. There, one day, in peace and restoration, may all creation live in harmony. There, may we rejoice with Lady. 💞🙏

  48. REPLY
    ML says

    Dearest Lady. People hurt you. People helped you. People love you. You now rest in the hearts of all those who cared about you, and cared for you. May your new Paradise be all you wished for.

  49. REPLY
    Sandi Paquet says

    Love to you all and especially love to Lady, she was so special and I’m so glad that she got to live out her life there in Sanctuary with the best care she could have ever had. I love the way she would roam around and now she has unlimited space to do just that. Sad day, but special one too because of all the memories she’s given everyone and the fact that she’s free and pain free too. She won’t be forgotten. I’m going to put a picture of her on my elephant calendar, as a remembrance of her. Love the sun on the horizon, perfect picture of her just going that way. Thank you for all that you do, you’re so appreciated.

  50. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    Lady rest in peace no more pain Scott Kait Sara and everyone else at the Sanctuary Thank you all for giving her and the rest of the Elephants Freedom

  51. REPLY
    Pam says

    I am thankful for the rescue of Lady that suffered a long captivity and so much mistreatment. Despite her pain she was free to explore her new world and she did so bravely. I’m sure her discoveries brought her delight, maybe for the first time feeling emotions that helped her heal and have the desire and strength to go on. I’m glad that those who cared for her and she knew and trusted were with her at the end and that she was not alone. God bless you all for your love for all in your care.

  52. REPLY
    Vicki Bowen says

    Dearest Lady: With tears running down my face, I type how much so many people loved you. I am so glad you were able to experience Freedom in sanctuary. May you now walk with all those who went before, pain-free and blissful.
    Rest In Peace, beautiful Lady.

  53. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Oh Lady, I am glad that you are no longer in pain. I am even more glad that you managed to wander all through the Asian Male yards on your last journey. It must have been beautiful scenery.

    I already started one post here, so I want to be brief before I somehow lose this one by back buttoning while I’m full of tears for all of us.

    I just found out about Lady’s passing and am still reading the email about everything. Before I leave a more detailed, thought out post for Lady’s memorial page I just wanted to say: I am so sorry and would like to offer my condolences to everyone at The Sanctuary. She has been a part of your daily lives, and I cannot imagine how each of you must feel. It is so hard when it is a pet, I cannot imagine how such journeys and decisions feel in this Sanctuary situation. Thank you, thank you for everything you did for Lady, including sharing her with us in the irreplaceable ways that you did.

  54. REPLY
    Anella Stewart says

    Through tears, I’m still trying to process the loss of my beautiful adopted Lady Bug. She bravely persevered through all her pain, but eventually just couldn’t go on despite heroic efforts by GSE staff to keep her as pain free as possibile. I’ll always remember her spunky mannerisms and desire for endless exploring for the ‘greener grass’ in her new found heaven. It would appear that her desire for solitude might have come from her fear of not being able to escape from an unwelcome situation due to her foot condition. So many thanks to Scott, Kat & GSE staff for making the last years of her life so enjoyable & as painless as possible.
    Rest in peace sweet Lady; you’ll be so missed. xoxo

  55. REPLY
    bo says

    oh so so so sad…
    we all have loved her, you the team in her forever paradise, and we, the Elephant lovers from all over the world.
    she’s had a wonderful life in her Paradise thanks to everyone from your team.

  56. REPLY
    Jeannie Ulrich says

    RIP Dear Lady. Thanks to all of you at GSE for helping make her last years most likely her best ones. I am sure that your hearts are heavy as is mine. I like to think of Lady as pictured in this post, moving into the next life with a spirit of adventure and free from pain. Condolences to all of the GSE team who loved her and cared for her daily. I hope good memories of Lady help ease the ache in your hearts. Thank you for sharing Lady’s journey with us.

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