This morning, after Lady’s treatment, she headed into Stall 2. Meanwhile, Rana was near the barn so we opened up Stall 1 for her while we prepped the chute for her treatment. Rana, always excited for treats, headed immediately into Stall 1. Lady (still in Stall 2) seemed a little anxious but stayed in the barn.
We’ve noticed that Lady doesn’t stop and think in the moment. She usually reacts (and acts immediately) based on her first impulse. She’s incredibly intelligent and excellent at critical thinking (especially when it comes to training). In the moment, her reaction isn’t to stop and think but to respond. Even though it doesn’t feel that way, it is an improvement that Lady stays in her stall and feels anxious, rather than just quickly leaving. When she first arrived, she would quickly leave and stay away. Then it progressed to quickly leaving, processing what was happening, and then coming closer again. Now, it’s just “stay and worry.” It shows she is willing to embrace a level of emotional discomfort, which is good for emotional growth.
As Lady was processing all of her feelings and Rana’s nearness, Rana casually found a palm in her stall and started munching on it while waiting for the chute to open. Even with Rana eating and seemingly ignoring her, Lady didn’t fully settle or relax with Rana in the stall next to her, but she still chose to stay near. Interestingly, as soon as Rana went in the chute and the doors closed, Lady relaxed fully and walked over to the divider (as close to the chute as she could get) to watch Rana’s treatment. Lady is very fascinated with the other girls’ treatments right now. We don’t know if she is mostly watching the elephants themselves, or the humans, or the human-elephant relationship, or what, but she is endlessly intrigued. Rana didn’t mind the audience and ignored Lady, focusing instead on doing her treatment (& eating treats). Once Rana finished, we let her into Yard 1, so Lady headed out into Yard 2. Rana continued to be pretty relaxed and not focused on Lady, so Lady went over to the fence and ate some hay while watching Rana. Rana, meanwhile, drank some water, found another palm, and carried it over towards Lady. Rana found a shady spot near Lady and munched on her palm. They were as close as they could be while remaining in the shade, and they spent some time just watching each other.
February 17, 2020
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