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The Lady Limit

Lady

Lady has a “Lady Limit,” which is what we have named her limit on new things and how much you can ask her to do. To her, this line is clear and set, although it shifts every day. Our job will forever be trying to figure out exactly where that line is.

With our other residents, we are comfortable trying new things. If they don’t work, we try something else; or we wait a few days and try again. With Lady’s trust issues, trial and error need to be approached differently. If we try something new and Lady doesn’t like it, or if it doesn’t work well, there is more potential for it to set things back with her. And with some elephants, a step backward puts you months back.

When working with Lady, we have to start slow (and stay a bit slow) when building up to anything new. As part of this process, she has been perfecting her “stink eye.”

We joke about it, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s a good thing she is giving a stink eye. It’s certainly not a great thing because it tells us she isn’t thrilled, but she is learning that all she needs to do is shoot us a dirty look, and we get the message. We are watching, listening, and respond accordingly.

This is all part of her learning to communicate again. Historically, she would hide her discomfort, displeasure, frustration, or combination of all three until she hit that limit. Then she would lash out and hit the bars seemingly without warning. Now we are demonstrating to her that showing her emotions on her face is enough to communicate her needs.

After years of trying to communicate and either being ignored or not understood, captive elephants tend to give up trying to communicate with humans, or they resort to extreme gestures to demonstrate their feelings. That’s why we are celebrating her “stink eye” – It’s part of the process of relearning to communicate in a much healthier way.

We want to get to a place where she doesn’t even have to give us the stink eye. We prefer to understand where her boundaries are and work around them, but it may always be part of her repertoire, just reserved for special occasions.  😉

Lady has a right to her concerns and clear boundaries. The concept of new hasn’t always been kind to her. To be clear, we aren’t asking for anything extreme. We are giving Lady basic medical care for the abscess on her face (which is clearing up nicely), overall body checks, bathing, scrubbing, tick picking, and working on her feet. The reality is she needs more. It is part of our job to try and extend her comfort level with things, encouraging progress, which facilitates more comprehensive care.

The hope is that Lady realizes she feels better after we do these things; and that she will understand that everything we do; we do for her. We want to ensure she has the best quality of life. For now, we are learning about her, how she communicates with her humans, and how to earn her trust.

Photo of Lady being her happy self.

February 1, 2020

 

Read More About Lady Here →

Comments(13)

  1. REPLY
    susan says

    She is such an adorable girl. Thanks for sharing. Love you all!

  2. REPLY
    Barb says

    You spared us the “stink eye”pic but we are hopeful that that “stink eye” is a thing of the past soon. We know how you love and respect Lady and just want to make her life better and healthier.

  3. REPLY
    Carol says

    precious and amazing…both human and pachyderm!

  4. REPLY
    Carol Anderson says

    Lady must be deliriously happy in her new home. Traveling around her new areas with fresh grass, ponds, freedom and finding food left for her. Her feet must be feeling somewhat better also. I am thrilled that she is doing so well.

  5. REPLY
    Julie says

    So cute. She reminds me of Shirley at TES in Tennessee.

    • REPLY
      Kelejan says

      Me too, Julie.

  6. REPLY
    Rachel says

    I give that stink eye too…it’s called my ?%@*# face 😉 But in all honesty, my look can be sooo misunderstood – it’s one of those things I to try to pay attention to but more often than not it’s just how I look when I’m focused. I appreciate Lady’s communication style – she’s learning to trust again – and I’m a huge fan of your response to her. She’s fortunate to have such loving, insightful caretakers. Hurrah to the best of humanity! Makes my heart sing…

  7. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    You are all so wonderful in the way that you treat each elephant as an individual and not just any old elephant, one size fits all.
    I am sure she is beginning to realise that you are communicating with her, and that most likely this has never happened before and to her it is like learning a foreign language that she is picking up bit by bit.
    I try to put myself in their shoes; if I was meeting humans for the first time, I need to learn the language of speech and body. I expect this is the first time that anyone has bothered to “talk” to her.

  8. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I am so glad you understand elephants and their needs. We need to love and care for them everyday and they may not ever
    trust again after what (who knows) they have experienced in their lives. Maybe by all of our good deeds for them everyday
    they can learn to trust humans again? I hope so and ever grateful to GSE.

  9. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    I agree, the Stink Eye is an improvement from acting out! If she could, she probably would give you a teen age eye roll. Your patience and understanding of her tolerance is admirable. She will grow to love and trust you, as you love her. Thank you so much for this update.

  10. REPLY
    Sheila says

    WELL I THINK THIS LIL LADY 🐘BUG HAS NOT HAD MUCH CONSISTENT CARE TO HER BODY IN MANY PAST YEARS SO SHES LIKELY FEARFUL AND BECOMES RESISTANT! MAYBE SHE NEEDS MANGOS AND 🍉WATERMELLON TO ENTICE HER! OR LOTS OF TREATS TO GET HER COMFORTABLE! WELL I SURE HOPE HER MUCH NEEDED FOOT CARE CAN CONTINUE WELL! MAYBE PLAYING NICE TUNES TO LADY WILL CALM HER

  11. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    This is one of the reasons why I support ESB. You give these traumatised beings time to adapt and to learn that not all humans wish them harm. Each one an individual, each with its own needs and fears. Gentle in approach and gentle in mind as these abused ellies find themselves, maybe for the first time in their lives, allowing them to grow and be who they really are. It’s the meaning of love.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  12. REPLY
    Muriel Servaege says

    Thank you to Lady’s caretaker. Those elephants have been harmed so much without scruples that it’s wonderful to see they can still recognize and trust people who love them.

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