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Listen to an elephant rumble

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Can a Dog and an Elephant be BFF?

For the most part animals tend to stick with their own kind, especially in the wild. Occasionally, though, when humans bring various species of animals together odd pairings will sometimes occur. Such is the case with Bella the dog and Tarra the Asian elephant.

On a sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee where elephants rescued from zoos and circuses go to retire a very unusual friendship has emerged that has caught the attention of people around the world.

Both dogs and elephants are very social animals that live in tight-knit groups. Many of the elephants brought to the Sanctuary have bonded into 'best girlfriend' pairs. For reasons unknown Tarra the elephant has bonded with Bella the dog and the two have been inseparable. They aren't just seen walking around the grounds together, they actually participate in activities that socially bonded animals normally engage in: they eat and drink together and they sleep together. Bella (the dog) even allows the enormous Tarra to 'pet' her belly with her giant foot. Tarra is amazingly gentle with the dog and Bella, in turn, is very accepting of Tarra's affections. In the video of the story (below) you can see Tarra stroking Bella on her head very gently with her trunk, a behavior often observed in older female elephants caring for juveniles in the wild.

If anyone doubts the credibility of this bonding story, the caretakers at the Sanctuary are quick to recount the story of Bella's spinal chord injury. Bella received a debilitating injury to her spinal chord that disabled her for three weeks. She was unable to move or go outside. Tarra knew that Bella was holed up inside of the Sanctuary office and she waited outside the building, inching herself as close to the facility as the fence would allow, waiting for the entire three weeks while Bella recuperated. At one point, Bella was carried outside to see Tarra and she immediately began wagging her tail. Tarra trumpeted excitedly upon seeing Bella and, straining to reach her through an opening in the fence, affectionately stroked her with her trunk. Watch the video below to get the whole story...

The Elephant Sanctuary is a non-profit organization, licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and accredited by the Association of Sanctuaries, designed specifically for old, sick or needy elephants who have been retired from zoos and circuses. Utilizing more than 2700 acres, it provides three separate and protected, natural-habitat environments for Asian and African elephants. For more information, or to sponsor an elephant, please visit their website at www.elephants.com.

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