Sanctuary Magic: Night Feeds

Night feeds have become a special time at the sanctuary. Even when the girls are being silly, there is a relaxed and peaceful feeling to them that can’t be recreated during the day. Even Scott, who is traditionally a morning person, loves these moments.

We go down every night to make sure Mara gets her extra meals, and she is a slow eater, so it takes about an hour for her to finish. She was eating well that night, so we decided to reserve a bit of hay for her and allow her to have her fill without the other girls trying to “share” her dinner. As Mara ate, she would pick up a big trunkful, with some resting on her trunk while she chewed. She was letting everyone else know that she wasn’t up for sharing that night and the other girls didn’t push her; they let her have her fill.

On our nighttime visits, we need to wear headlamps because things are completely dark. There was a very light rain – the kind that is so light, you can barely feel it – and, because we were not close to the pond, we could just barely hear the frogs. Mostly what we heard was the methodical and cyclical chewing of the elephants.

When you place your headlamp on the front of the 4-wheeler to have a more diffuse illumination, the light beams straight up and you are reminded of the vastness of the sanctuary. The further up the light goes, the lighter it gets until it just disappears into the sky somewhere; there are no city lights or big buildings – just this single beam. The little drops of rain were falling down, and, in the lamplight, they looked like soft snowflakes.

Of course, bugs are drawn to light and bats follow behind. We watched for about 15 minutes as bats of all sizes would sweep across the beam of light, diving for their bug dinners. We turned back to Mara every few minutes to check on her and eventually we saw that she only had a couple more bites in her trunk. We put some more hay on the ground for her and put some directly into her nose so she could keep it, and then we rode home and let them be.

In moments like these, we are reminded of how lucky we are. What we do here is a lot of work, but these simple moments reinforce to us how special all of this is. We say often that elephants force you to slow down. When you are working on “human” time, you can often rush and get distracted and forget to be present and in the moment. Elephants don’t abide by human time. They remind us to just be. We built this sanctuary for them, but we thank them for reminding us that we are really the lucky ones.


  1. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    Heartfelt and Heartwarming ( :

  2. REPLY
    SHEILA says


  3. REPLY
    Tammy says

    ✨ Beautiful ?

  4. REPLY
    Karen Fedorov says

    What a lovely telling about a beautiful night. Thank you,

  5. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    I can almost picture it but to actually be there surrounded by all that beauty of nature and its inhabitants must be quite spectacular.

  6. REPLY
    Pam says

    More magic at sanctuary. Somehow much is received when you care for/help another being. Like I’ve said before, there are rewards big and small if you just recognize them and this sounds like one of those times that you received. It fills the heart with gratitude and thank you for sharing that with us.

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    Wim says

    This goes straight to the heart. There’s no time like Elephant time they keep on showing us what life’s all about. ??

  8. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Beautiful, descriptive scene that placed me next to you. Heartfelt thanks.

  9. REPLY
    Deb says

    What a beautiful life you have!! I look forward to your blog, you write so vividly that I almost feel like I’m there. I’m very thankful the girls are spending the rest of their lives with you. And I’m so happy the Mendoza4 will be loved by you as well.

  10. REPLY
    Beji says

    What magical moments you get to witness. Thank you for sharing them with us. I know sometimes, I can almost imagine that I’m there

  11. REPLY
    Julie says

    So happy for you and the girls! And really appreciate all of the work you do for them!! Thank you for the even more beautiful post than usual. ?❤️

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    Bonnie says

    You all have know idea how wonderful you all are for doing what you do for these Elephants Thank you

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    Katie Howard says

    Very nice! I’m right there with you! So glad the elephants remind you all to BREATHE ☺ They are why you are working yourselves to a frazzle, after all ♥

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    Nishant Bhajaria says

    “The further up the light goes, the lighter it gets until it just disappears into the sky somewhere; there are no city lights or big buildings – just this single beam. The little drops of rain were falling down, and, in the lamplight, they looked like soft snowflakes.”

    This is so beautiful.

  16. REPLY
    Gayle says

    Such a beautiful description of your sanctuary paradise. A loving place for the animals in your care and a serene piece of nature for the humans to appreciate and enjoy. Win-win! Thanks for sharing this sweet moment with us.

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    Sallie says

    What a wonderful, exciting experience are these “Night Feeds” that you do for the girls. I know personally, that elephants do incredibly enrich one’s life! But you all are giving them each, new and exciting experiences to remember, cherish and share with each other. Kinda like a group of Girls Scouts, keeping track of their adventures in a mental notebook! Carry On with more! Can’t wait until there is a cozy log fire and marshmallows. The visuals of these “Night Feeds” are endless in their potential!

  18. REPLY
    Carmen Lucia Souza says

    What a beautiful post!!!!!
    From the bottom of the heart!
    Thank you for sharing so sweet feelings.

  19. REPLY
    John says

    You all are amazing. Thank you for providing those of us following the sanctuary such a great feeling of love and joy about the “work”, and I’m sure it IS a lot of work, you’re doing.

  20. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Wonderful descriptions. Wonderful Elephants. Wonderful People.

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    Irene says

    Beautiful! I can just imagine being there and enjoying the peace and serenity! Thank you for sharing this moment with us! ♥️????

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