On a recent afternoon, Trish accompanied Scott to the barn for some basic footwork treatments. Maia tends to be very cooperative with us in most situations. But, sometimes she may want to take a break and just spend a few moments in her thoughts or, perhaps more often, use the opportunity to relax in the chute for a little nap. She does this with all of her caregivers; Maia is easy to work with, but she might also show playful or coy behaviors – deciding if she wants to participate in the moment or wait a few minutes and do it on her time.
You have seen photos of us holding an elephant’s nose during treatments. Once they offer it, we then ask for a particular body part to examine – often the feet. On this particular day, Scott was holding Maia’s nose while Trish was doing a bit of foot trimming, and Maia was doing well, as usual. But when Scott and Trish attempted to swap places, Maia would put her nose out correctly, but not lift her foot. Perhaps for fun, or because she was a bit tired, Maia leaned her head against the enclosure and started to doze. She was clearly comfortable, but not ready to cooperate.
In moments like these, Maia is not being resistant – just a bit cheeky or silly and obviously relaxed. Kat and Scott have seen Maia behave this way a number of times, but it was the first time that Trish has witnessed this side of Maia. After giving Maia a few minutes of intermission, Scott tried again and Maia decided she was ready to finish. It’s possible that Maia was having a little fun – but just as likely that she saw it as a cozy moment for a snooze. Either way, it was a funny moment and a reminder that these elephants will always keep us on our toes.