As the weather shifts each year from the dry season to the rainy season and then back to the dry season, our footwork on the elephants also shifts.
We are currently in the middle of the rainy season, which means we are using our rainy season routine. For our elephants with healthier feet, very little changes. We do more footwork on them in the rainy season than in the dry because the rain makes their nails and pads much softer. Significantly more changes for Lady due to the condition of her feet and her complicated routine.
In the dry season, everything is so dry. We need to use lots of topical conditioners for Lady’s cuticles and nails to keep them moist to prevent them from cracking or breaking. In the rainy season, it’s the opposite. Her feet are routinely wet from the mud and rain. As her muddy feet dry out (which usually happens multiple times per day), the mud helps draw out impurities and helps her feet dry. We also use more drying foot soaks this time of year.
We regularly get asked for updates on Lady’s feet, but her feet issues are a life-long condition. It’s a hard question to answer because her feet will never be “good.” They will cycle through different issues for the rest of her life. Regardless, she is almost always more than willing to soak her feet in the jacuzzi and be hand-fed treats. She seems pleased to prop her feet up on the bars and let us file and trim away, to do what we can to maximize her mobility and minimize her discomfort.
Her rainy season schedule is to do rounds of trimming every few weeks. We alternate between her front feet and her hind feed, so there are breaks on each foot between cycles of trimming. We are very observant of her front feet as we work on them. We frequently will trim one tiny section and ask her to put her foot back on the ground. Scott will crouch down, squinting to evaluate it from a few angles to determine where her weight is resting. Then, he will ask her to present her foot again to make another minuscule adjustment. We will do short sessions like that several days in a row until Scott is satisfied, and then we will give her a break. It’s a long slow process, but it’s the best way to do it. Her foot trimming is not done for aesthetics it is done for health and comfort.
Photo: Lady giving us her cutest scrunch face. And the ‘goo’ on her cheek is ointment we use around the outside of her old facial abscess.
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Nannette Stone saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 3:46 pm
She is getting wonderful foot care, sadly there’s no total cure for her, but she seems so much more comfortable
Kelejan saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 3:59 pm
You say elephant think of us as puppies. I think of you as Angels.
Carol saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 4:12 pm
Lady is sooo blessed to have you guys and the painstaking care you give her poor feet. We are very grateful for all you do.
Beji saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:09 pm
She’s so pretty. I’m sad about her feet but it sounds like her pedicures give her comfort. For the rainy season, someone should invent elephant galoshes or wellies! Best foot forward, sweet Lady!
Wim saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:10 pm
Perfect pictured Lady. Complete footwork story it must be a complex job to perform daily. So wonderful they get all possible attention and treatments. ?
Julie saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:19 pm
Thank you, dear, for making the effort to keep us informed. I bet more cheerful posts are much more fun to write. But I’m sure others in the elephant community crave, as I do, for health updates, otherwise I may fill in worse prognosis unnecessarily. Thanks again, much love!!
Bella saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:52 pm
There is a special place in heaven for all of you. You are beyond being wonderful. You are angels
JoAnn Merriman Eaton saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:56 pm
Lady you are blessed with caring, experienced caretakers. The detailed and honest status of Lady’s feet are always appreciated. Thank you GSE
Carey saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:59 pm
Thank you for the info, very interesting to hear, and strangely I was thinking about Lady just earlier and wondering how she is. I hope that she is more comfortable more often now. She sounds like a dream to work with, did you guys train her to present her feet? She must be so trusting of you…
Kat Blais saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 6:18 pm
Lady did not have training for medical procedures before she came, so it all had to be done here, but it took some time. She had significant trust issues, and the biggest first step was just allowing us in and opening up to trusting us. With Lady, everything is slow, but that’s absolutely fine.
Debbie Sides saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 6:06 pm
Bless her and her footsies. I’m sure she feels so much better since she’s been there. Such a happy little girl??
Nancy J Shaw saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 8:10 pm
HAHAHA I did laugh out-loud !! She is sooo cute !!! XOXOXO
Sunny saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 9:25 pm
Oh My Lady ?
Katie Howard saysFebruary 1, 2021 at 11:43 pm
Lady, Lady, Lady. You are so fortunate – now. We all wish your past life didn’t leave you with these problems! But there is no better place for you now and we’re so happy you are holding your own. Keep exploring!!! ❤️
FRANCINE FORD saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 1:23 am
My Fair Lady-bug, enjoying her pampering. She deserves it after I saw pictures of the state her feetsies were in when she first came to Sanctuary. Poor old girl. Sometimes my feet give me fits too. What I wouldn’t give to have my footsies bathed & nails trimmed. What treatoes does Ms Lady get? She’s so cute! Thank y’all for taking such good care of the GGs (Golden Girls).
Kat Blais saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 7:44 am
It’s mostly a mix of fruit and vegetables. Larger pieces for bigger rewards for sensitive areas. Her favorites are cabbage, pumpkin, and giant chunks of watermelon.
Patricia saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 3:53 am
Cutie patootie big girl angel! I wish you didn’t have those foot problems, but how wonderful it is that you have loving humans to make them feel better. Lots of kisses to you, sweet Lady!
Carol Anderson saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 9:28 am
Lady has done so well in the short time she has been at sanctuary. It is thanks to your good care and just being in such a large natural area for her to discover.
Tammy saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 11:59 am
What an adorable picture of Lady just look at that smile she’s beaming with happiness from beautiful ear to ear even though her tootsies will always bother her they’re so much better now with all the incredible TLC given at ESB ? ? ?
Sallie saysFebruary 2, 2021 at 1:28 pm
The incredible Miss Ladybug! Ta Da!!! She is soooooo smart and clever – and what a memory! She knows the mani-pedi moves so well, it makes one think that she understands English and probably can speak it . . . She is an amazing, lovely elephant, and obviously a great pleasure to work with. And obviously VERY happy!
Ercie saysFebruary 3, 2021 at 3:40 pm
Can we get comparison pictures of her feet now and when she arrived so we can see any difference.
Kat Blais saysFebruary 3, 2021 at 5:35 pm
We generally don’t share photos because there is an understanding necessary that most people don’t have. No matter how we try to explain it, it doesn’t come through. Most of the time people just see the bad, so it doesn’t serve a good purpose.
Sallie saysFebruary 5, 2021 at 8:56 pm
Just have to say Kat, I am very relieved to read your comments. It makes very good sense, to keep this information via photos, private. I certainly would not want my feet issues made public Before and After a Mani-Pedi! This definitely is between Lady and her Caretakers, which she also sees as a social opportunity! What a good attitude she has, knowing she can look forward to her little yummy rewards!
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