Others who have dealt with wildfires like this before have shared their experiences with us. Many said they didn’t start processing what happened until well after the danger passed. That’s true for many traumas; you get through the event, and then, much later, you feel the feelings you expected to feel during.
That seemed to happen with some of the animals here. A few days after, most of the elephants (and, to be honest, the humans as well) seemed to get a little “off” in their own ways. The humans all felt very tired – our best guess is that the adrenaline wore off. The non-human animals all seemed very quiet and subdued – even the chickens were quiet.
Maia’s mood shifted a fair bit. We dealt with wildfires several years ago, when our only elephants were Maia and Guida. The fires were much smaller, and very little of our property burned, but they both did very well during and after the fire. They were actually quite rumbly as the firemen set fire just outside of the front gate. The thought was- if the girls felt things were ok, then things must be ok. And they were.
A few days after this fire, Maia seemed a little more than quiet; she appeared a bit sullen. She spent some time alone in both Yard 4 and Yard 5. She avoided the burned area and never crossed the creek (which she hasn’t recently and probably won’t until they are wet). We believed it was something she had to work through herself, but we wanted to give her the ability to spend time with her friends as well.
Maia and Bambi have interacted some, but this didn’t seem like a good time to push a new relationship, with the fire so recent. We asked Bambi to come into a neighboring yard to allow Maia access to Mara and Rana’s space. The three spent some time together, and it shifted things for Maia a bit. She wasn’t clingy with them, but she spent some time with both and seemed lighter afterward. After a bit, she headed into Yard 4, where she found all of the hay that Lady didn’t find the day before. She continues to seem more like her usual self as the days go on.
Photo of Maia
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marai villa saysOctober 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm
Oh, bless her Heart. I feel sad to think of her feeling sullen. Thank heavens u we’re able to allow her to connect with Rana & Mara, and that helped ground her feelings, and she appears lighter now. It is also wonderful to know, and I imagine how pleased she was to find a yummy pile of fresh hay! Don’t even worry your fuzzy big-little head, Little-Bunns, we’re all in this together. Hip Hip Hooray! Where we go one, we go all. XXOO One Herd-One path ((( ))))
SHEILA saysOctober 18, 2020 at 9:26 am
AAAHH SWEET ??MAIA! I GUESS SHE COULD BE REMEMBERING GUIDA AS FIRE TRIGGERED HER MEMORY OF WHEN ??GUIDA WAS WITH HER! LIKELY MADE HER GRIEVE ABIT QUIETLY! HOPE AS DAYS GO BY AND THE RAINS COME. MAIAS SULLEN MOOD WILL PASS! NICE SHE CAN JOIN ?MARA AND ?RANA FOR SOME CHATS‼️PTL LADIES AND ALL ANIMALS R FINE JUST A LITTLE IN SHOCK LIKELY FROM ALL THE FEAR OF ?FIRE‼️
Barb saysOctober 17, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Our little fuzzy top Maia must be processing the fire in her own way. I am hopeful that her spirit continues to improve with each passing day. Rains arriving yet?
EleComposer saysOctober 17, 2020 at 2:51 pm
Yes, they have.
Beverly Singler saysOctober 17, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Sweet baby. I went through a house fire 10 years ago and I STILL have anxiety . Nobody was injured but my house was demolished. It was awful and I hope Maia adapts to the situation. It may take a little time. Be well, darling.
Oksana Brodie saysOctober 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm
She is a beautiful elephant 🙂
Meredith saysOctober 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm
I think I can empathize with many of the variety of feelings you all, humans and other animals, are feeling there. Here in upstate New York, as with much of the US, people are unable to socialize as we are used to and we must be always on guard with inside exposure and social distancing. The pandemic is traumatic. There is no let up in sight. For me, I find myself in moods of which I am unaccustomed, and treasure any sightings of friends and acquaintances. It is very odd and I have to be very aware any of my own depression and anxiety. Thanks so much for telling us about the emotional reactions of the elephants. You first captured my heart with Bambi, and I look forward to your posts forevermore..
Sunny saysOctober 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm
Seems like Maia is passing through a lot. From saying goodbye to Guida, to the arrival of Mara, then Bambi and now the fire. But she seems strong and you are there for her, so it’s going to be ok. Have a nice weekend 🙂
julie saysOctober 17, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Thank you for being so sensitive to our dear Maia’s post-traumatic needs. As always, I’m grateful she is in the perfect hands. ?❤️
Wim saysOctober 17, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Hold on tight wonderful Maia. Memories can be a heavy load even without wildfire. She probably needs some time to rebalance. Please be safe and take your own Elephants rhythm to face every day’s problems.???
arie saysOctober 17, 2020 at 5:40 pm
That is why they call ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ ‘Post’, I think, a bit like an afthershock in an earthquake.
I am pretty confident the ‘humans’ will do everything possible to make all the animals feel completely at ease again ?❤️
Tammy saysOctober 17, 2020 at 9:50 pm
I sure hope Ramba and Guidas final resting spots were spared its been on my mind ever since……..??????
Sallie saysOctober 17, 2020 at 6:59 pm
So much to process, in so many, many ways . . . The LOVE your Team gives each of these precious girls – including Miss Maia – gives them CONFIDENCE, CLARITY and HOPE! They each know they are special and protected. They each just need a little space and time, and soon they will they will come together happily as Las Amigas Alegre!
FRANCINE FORD saysOctober 17, 2020 at 8:26 pm
They’re so much like us. So deep & full of thoughts & emotions. I wonder 8f any of the girls have experienced a wildfire before. So much like us & incredibly resilient. I love my roommates, but there are times when I could give or take them. 😉
Sherry saysOctober 17, 2020 at 10:50 pm
I believe they wonder about things just like us and are fearful at times. I hope everyone has reeled some relief now that the
fire has subsided. This was a very scary thing to go through.
Rosie P saysOctober 18, 2020 at 3:17 am
As we must all know, in one way or another, trauma in it’s many forms (including grief) affects us in different ways. It seems Maia, and the others, have to work through what happened. I am glad she is finding comfort in spending time with Rana and Mara. She is eating which is a good sign, given how much Maia loves her food! The aftermath of the fire has brought change and new smells. Home is not quite the same now. I know that all the animals have so much love and understanding shown to them and everyone will get through this and be stronger in the end. I like to think all the supporters have joined hands and formed a massive circle of protection around the sanctuary……………there will be rainbows once again and lots of smiles!
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Maia in the Aftermath of the Fire