Lady’s New Oil

Lady has continued to prefer hanging out near the barn in Yards 1, 2, & 3 and enjoy her daily foot soaks in the jacuzzi.

Our veterinarian team regularly changes her foot care routine as they see how she responds to various treatments. Since her arrival, her left front leg gets a little stiff sometimes, and we had been using a conventional topical cream. The medical team recently switched it to an essential oil, and Lady has big feelings about the new oil.

To apply it, we ask her to put her foot on the fence or training wall. As soon as we start rubbing it into her ankle, she starts to lean in and close her eyes. She will leave her foot propped up for as long as Kat is willing to rub it. She seems to enjoy the oils – and the massage. We don’t know why she responds so strongly to the latest treatment; it may be the treatment, or perhaps Kat gives the world’s best massage. We plan to use this new essential oil for as long as Lady responds so happily to it.

Photo of Lady


  1. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    AHHHH !

  2. REPLY
    Melinda Barnett says

    So happy lovely Lady is enjoying her wonderful foot massages!

  3. REPLY
    alana says

    I’m sure the oil feels good but I have the feeling it’s time spent with Kat that’s so soothing.

  4. REPLY
    Sue says

    What a truly lovely post!! I am so happy hearing Little Ladybug is enjoying some oils and massage. Whatever she enjoys, I know you will continue to provide it for her!! She looks beautiful and happy in the photo above ❤️?❤️ Thank you to everyone, as always, for helping make their lives as happy and pain free as possible! Love you!

  5. REPLY
    Anna says

    LOL – I’d lean in for an ankle massage. ?. It’s a sweet feeling to know the elephants are pampered so.

  6. REPLY
    Bridget Long says

    Hmmm, elephant masseuse may be the best job in the world! This is officially my dream job. Thanks for taking such dutiful care of these beauties.

  7. REPLY
    Dawn says

    Or…the smell of the oil may be very relaxing as well

  8. REPLY
    Bella says

    Good for her. What a beautiful thing- to provide this incredible life for these amazing ladies

  9. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Oh! Most excellent!! I’m so glad to hear that Lady likes her new treatment! She’s more likely to tolerate it longer, hopefully to her benefit!
    May I ask what the essential oil is that you are using on her? (Asking for a friend, lol!)

    • REPLY
      sara martin says

      We often use Animal EO in work with our girls. We are trying a special blend from Caroline Ingraham in this specific case. They both make wonderful oils.

  10. REPLY
    Cinria abney says

    Wonderful! Who doesn’t like a good massage with a good oil? I wake up very stiff every morning so maybe I should try the same treatment ?

  11. REPLY
    Nicole P says

    Could be the smell of it too that she enjoys. But who can’t resist a massage?
    Are you allowed to use the red light therapy? Maybe it would be hard to keep her still for 20 minutes. They have larger ones she could stand next to. Helps with muscle/joint/bone pain, arthritis, blood circulation, even helps with anxiety, depression, PTSD. My mom uses it several times a week for her arthritis and it’s helping her. Best wishes.

    • REPLY
      sara martin says

      We do use red light therapy, but it’s hard to get an elephant to stay still for the 15-20 minutes we’d need for it to be really effective. Because we have protected contact between ourselves and Lady, she would have to present her foot for that whole time – and we just can’t ask her to do that if it’s not comfortable. We are working on ways that might encourage her but, of course, we have to listen to what she tells us and if it feels bad, we won’t do it. We do use laser therapy on her feet, but the duration of that treatment is much shorter.

  12. REPLY
    Bernadette M Andaloro says

    What does it smell like?

    • REPLY
      sara martin says

      The scent is sweet birch and she seems to respond well to it.

  13. REPLY
    John says

    I can just imagine what Lady is thinking; “Oh that’s good Kat. Oh just a little lower and to the right please. Oh thank you, that’s lovely. You know I’m so glad we can get together every day. Oh that’s wonderful.”

  14. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Seems like it’s soothing for her. Awe bless this sweet girl.

  15. REPLY
    Barb says

    I know how I respond to lavender essential oil (soothing). Is her oil soothing or invigorating I wonder. Happy to hear she responds to the oil and Kat’s TLC!

  16. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    Awww! Sweet Lady Bug is in elephant heaven. She looks gorgeous and healthy and happy. A remarkable
    change since she arrived at GSE. Thank you for the love and pampering you give each girl.

  17. REPLY
    Wim says

    Wonderful new help for Lady’s foot problems.
    Could it be this is wonder oil. Really hope there’s still improvement possible. ?

  18. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Good for Lady, she deserves it.

  19. REPLY
    SHEILA says


  20. REPLY
    Bernadette M Andaloro says

    So happy to hear that she enjoys it so much!

  21. REPLY
    Julie says

    Well said, Sue. I love this elephant community. I almost closed my eyes with a happy smile while reading this post! Love you all!

  22. REPLY
    Maureen Allen says

    Elephant feet are so vital; your loving, knowledgeable care for Lady’s feet touches our hearts. Are Kat’s heavenly oil-massages to keep Lady comfortable, or, I hope, to restore her feet to full health?

    • REPLY
      sara says

      We hope this treatment will do a bit of both. We use only animal-specific essential oils and we’re not sure if she is responding to the oils or the massage, or both. We’re just happy she seems to find some relief from it. Lady’s feet will never be fully healed due to a lifetime of confinement. I’m sure you have read some of our posts about what damage captivity can do to an elephant’s feet. In some cases, we can do a great deal to help ease the discomfort – but our goal is to do our best to make her as comfortable as possible and as happy as she can be. That is why we love seeing her respond with such positivity.

  23. REPLY
    bo says

    getting pampered, that’s what it is all about with the elephants who live at the sanctuary.

    ps, was wondering about Maison, can you tell us any news involving her move to the sanctuary?
    her mental and physical condition, do you think she is doing ok and are there signs she is missing Bambi even though they might not have been besties or at least it didn’t appear to be the case.

    • REPLY
      sara says

      Maison is still in our thoughts and we try to keep tabs on her the best we can. Due to the complicated legal situation we have gone through with Bambi, her current keepers are not communicating directly in the way they once were. Of course, we would love to have her in the sanctuary, but this would involve more expansion and we are currently working to finish the spaces for the Mendoza elephants. Because she and Bambi were separated most of the time and they both have dominant tendencies, it is unlikely that Maison has much of a sense of loss of Bambi – though of course we never know what they are truly feeling. When we have the funds and are ready to further expand, we have plans to bring in more elephants, and Maison is on that list. We appreciate how much you care about all of the elephants we work with and hope to work with.

  24. REPLY
    Carol Anderson says

    Lady is one happy elephant and seems to really appreciate her new life. Whats not to like? The ability to roam free in beautiful surroundings, to make decisions as to what she wants to do, the great food and the wonderful caregivers. What more could an elephant wish for?

  25. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    I also love it when my own foot carer massages my feet as it makes me feel so good, so I can appreciate the feelings that our Lady has.

  26. REPLY

    Ms Lady bug says, “Ahhhh, Sanctuary.”

  27. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Lady says, “Oh boy, please don’t stop.”

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