We often get asked if the elephants just know when and where to come for treatments, and the truth of the matter is that, for all of the food and encouragement we give them, they are the ones who decide if and when they are ready for check-ups.
On this particular day, Lady had already eaten breakfast. Our caregiver Shirlei had gathered up the things needed for Lady’s treatment and drove over to where Lady’d been last seen in Yard 5. This video shows that she had ventured off to one of the creeks there. The area has a holding pool that fills and creates lots of soothing mud. Maia and Guida used to love it. Some mornings, you would see all sorts of marks in the mud from where their bodies had been rolling and squishing. It’s obvious that Lady likes it as well. By Shirlei’s account, Lady seemed to have been playing for a while.
In typical Lady fashion, as soon as she knows someone is recording her, she often ceases doing what she’s doing. Once Shirlei’s camera came out, Lady stopped playing in her puddle. But instead of coming for treatment, she wanted to walk up the muddy hill and go play somewhere else. Clearly she was enjoying herself and was not in the mood for any foot treatments. That’s one of those moments where we as caregivers say, “Okay – we’ll see you later.”
Shirlei did go back after lunch to see what Lady was interested in doing. At that point, the rain had stopped and perhaps foot care and some extra food sounded like a nice idea. So – do the elephants always come for treatments? No, they don’t. Sometimes the excitement of a good mud puddle takes precedence.