Looking at her photos still creates a knot in my chest. There are so many elephants in need of a better life, some that will never find their way onto anyone’s radar, some that have no chance of getting out of their miserable surroundings, and those that are lucky enough to celebrate the rebirth that comes with sanctuary life. Pelusa doesn’t fall into those categories, and it’s part of what makes her most heartbreaking: she had a chance, but for her, it came too late. Often times facilities don’t come around to sending their elephants to a sanctuary until elephants are geriatric or their physical issues are substantial. Pelusa never made it here, but she found a permanent home in the hearts of many.
Pelusa was one of the most well-mannered elephants we had ever seen, literally standing next to a wheelbarrow full of treats, not grabbing a single one, only tapping her keepers when she thought she was overdue for another. She was sweet and insecure but showed an inner strength, and we hoped she would have enough fight left in her to get to the sanctuary. Suz, our dear friend and elephant caregiver, went to take care of her while she waited for rescue. While there, Suz fell head over heels for her and Pelusa found her spunk again. She explored her new yard for the first time ever, started stealing hay, and got a little sparkle in her eye. As we all found a renewed faith that she would indeed make it to the sanctuary, Pelusa went down as Suz arrived one morning and never got up. Pelusa, after years of struggling, simply didn’t have any more fight left.
Sometimes we see that elephants who have been struggling physically for a long period of time, once they find a safe space, allow themselves the gift of letting go. In this case, it seems like that safe space came in the form of a human, not a place. Although Pelusa’s keepers loved her, Suz didn’t need or expect anything from Pelusa, she was there to love, care, and support. We would have preferred for Pelusa to make it to the sanctuary and be with others of her own kind, to know a love that only others of their own kind can provide. But we try to find solace in knowing the love and support she felt in her last months, not just from Suz, but from people around the world who were pulling for a new life for her.
If this is the first time you are hearing of Pelusa, please visit her page to get to know her, she was a remarkable lady. And although there is still some pain in thinking of her, she deserves for us to open our hearts up again to remember how special she was and the light she brought into the world.
June 4, 2019