And for a closer shot of lovely Miss Maia in all of her cheeky glory, here you go. The beauty we appreciate in Maia most is the softness in her face. Maia had become so hardened to life. Being the ‘bad elephant’ and paying the price for it while at the circus, caused her to live on the defensive. Even after arriving at sanctuary, it was still her go to response when she became nervous or unsure. Hardened and ready to hurt someone before they hurt her.
It shifted fairly quickly, her appearance became softer and her body more relaxed. She learned to trust not only in those around her, but in herself and her responsibility for who she was. But now she is not only soft, but silly, quirky, spunky and a total love.
We did the girls’ tetanus vaccine recently and although we’ve pulled blood on Maia, we’ve never given her a muscular injection. Different and unpleasant has always been a trigger for her. When Scott went to give it in her rump, she became nervous but never defensive or aggressive. She vocalized letting us know she was scared. After giving her a moment to calm down, Scott shifted to giving the vaccine in her shoulder. Maia completely relaxed and seemed surprised that the little shot was all we were going to do. Some elephants seem to prefer not to see it coming (although we always tell them), while others need to see it to fully trust- now we know which one Maia is.
Not even two years in and Maia seems to have lost her 40 year ‘go to’ response when stressed. It’s a huge accomplishment for an elephant that has been through so much, especially in such a short time. Maia is a remarkable and gorgeous elephant. Every smile reminds us how spectacular she truly is.