When Lady is not feeling well, her mornings tend to be more of a struggle than her afternoons. On Saturday, when Scott visited her, she seemed plenty tired. Lady actually fell asleep and took a standing nap against the fence. Not wanting to wake her, Scott decided to find her later. Sunday she appeared brighter and lighter, but this morning, she seemed a little ornery.
So far, Lady has been staying in the smaller yards by the barn and got some foot soaks this weekend. The caregivers assess where she is at with each interaction, which then dictates how each treatment goes, depending upon Lady’s mood, location, stiffness, and desire to participate. If she seems extra sore, they may not ask for foot presentation and instead just work with topical treatments above her nails.
The swelling in her right leg seemed to decrease over the past week but today it went back up a touch again. We’re not sure if she is laying down to sleep at night; we haven’t seen any evidence in the way of dirt on her face or a little nest in the grass. But we also can’t see her all night on the observation cameras, and the last thing we want to do is go down to check on her and wake her up, so it’s impossible to know if she’s taking some weight off her feet. Lying down would take some pressure off her sore limbs, but sometimes when an elephant is afraid they may struggle to stand up again after lying down (which is generally an ungraceful task), they stop trying temporarily. For example, the elephant Pelusa (who, devastatingly, never made it to sanctuary) didn’t lie down for five years after a single incident where she needed assistance to stand. But even if Lady opts not to sleep on the ground, she does have multiple sand piles in the small yards that she could lean on to rest if she chooses and, of course, the fences would help bear her weight as well.
Because we didn’t see any positive change in Lady’s comfort or swelling when switching her medicines, we’ve revised her protocol back to what she was taking in the past. We are working on a couple of short-term things that might relieve some discomfort, both holistic and traditional. In the long term, all we can do is work with different combinations of medications for inflammation and pain to see if any positive results emerge. While Lady is clearly still sore, she is moving faster than she was over the past week; that is likely a positive for her mental state, since it allows her to more easily seek out the young grass she so loves. We will continue to update you on any changes to her status and our approaches to caring for her.