Monday, November 14, 2011


Sometimes, even when we know something can't help but happen, it still hurts like blazes and surprises us when it does.

I think some of you all ready know the story of  Tarra and Bella, the elephant and the dog. It is such a sweet story.

Elephants are not only herd animals  with strong family ties, but they need a best friend, it is just in their nature.   When Tarra the elephant joined the sanctuary in Tennessee to live out her years in peace, she really had no BFF (best friend forever).   All the other elephants had all ready paired up and she was the odd one out.

Then she met Bella.  Bella was not an elephant but a dog, one of the rescue dogs the sanctuary took in.  Normally dogs and elephants do not mix. But then normal flew out the window and  Tarra and Bella bonded.   They ate together, roamed together and slept together. Tarra would often rub Bella's belly ever so gently with her mammoth foot. 

When Bella  received a spinal injury and was confined to the office, Tarra stood as close to the office as possible  and did not leave. For three weeks she waited.

 Bella was so severely injured that she could not even wag her tail. Then one day the staff carried her to the porch so the two heart sick animals could see each other.  That is when Bella once again wagged her tail.

Bella healed and the two continued their strange "odd couple" friendship for several years. When I first heard of this wonderful story, I couldn't help but  hold my breath in dread for  the inevitable outcome to this tender friendship. Elephants live about 50 to 60 years. Dogs Bella's size do well to reach 14. The math pained my heart knowing that someday Tara's heart would be broken.

Well that time has come.  Just days ago, Bella was attacked and killed by coyotes or a bobcat somewhere on the huge compound. The owners of the sanctuary found her body not far from the office.  While she was obviously torn up from a fight , there were no signs of a struggle where she lay.

They did find blood on Tarra's trunk.  They theorized that  she picked up Bella from where ever she was killed and carried her  body to a place they often rested together.

While I knew something like this would happen eventually from natural causes due to the lifespan conflict, I am  very saddened that the time has come and that Bella would pass in such a violent manner.

Whether Tarra witnessed it and tried to help, no one knows.  Because Bella was so protective of Tarra, she may have been killed trying to defend Tarra.  The only thing for sure is that Bella is gone and the elephant is once again alone and obviously depressed. 

Tarra has lost her dog, her best friend and those of us who have been there know the depth of that pain.

If you haven't seen it all ready, this video tells the sweet story of how they found each other.


I just hope in time Tarra finds another creature to be her friend and I so hope it is one with a long life span.

What I did find heartening is that the other elephants are now gathering around Tarra, sharing their food with her and caressing her.  Elephants are well known for their ability to morn and show support.

My heart is a bit bent today.


  1. Tears. I knew the story of Bella and Tara but hadn't read about Tara's death. I too hope that Bella finds another friend, but am glad the other elephants are supporting her right now. Thank you for sharing, even though I'm crying over my coffee right now.

  2. Did I just get those names reversed? Gah. Changing to Daylight Standard time and then moving into the Central time zone has me all messed up this week.

  3. So sad...I hope compassion from the others helps Tara get through this. Wonderful post!

  4. How terribly sad. I didn't know about these two, but I did know about a 100-year-old tortoise that adopted an orphaned baby hippo. The bond of love knows no boundaries. I am saddened for Tara and hope she finds a new friend. We all know what it is like to lose our best friend.

  5. I saw that story yesterday. It was so touching. I wondered it people can visit the elephant sanctuary?

  6. I saw this touching story on one of the national evening news broadcasts. One of my two cats, siblings, is in renal failure. She seems fine but is losing weight. I wonder how to help her brother cope with her inevitable loss. I have heard so many stories about animal companions grieving.

  7. How sad. Love is love no matter the species.

  8. I saw this the other day and just burst out crying. I hate to see anyone sad and lonely, but when it's an animal, you just can't explain what happened or really help. I recently watched a movie about a dog that waited at the train station (for years) for his master. The man died so he never do you explain that to that wonderful animal???

  9. I hadn't heard about Bella's death. Heartbreaking. Mike always says that the trouble with pets is that they do not live as long as humans (or elephants). We certainly know what Tara is going through right now.

  10. I think I had heard about this unusual friendship before, but I hadn't heard the update about Bella's death. How sad. But isn't it touching to realize that the other elephants are supporting Tarra in her grief? Thanks for this lovely post. Makes me want to visit that sanctuary.

  11. This is such sad news. I had seen the video of Tara and Bella a couple of years ago and was quite moved by their friendship.

  12. It is always sad to lose someone you love, but at least they had all those years together. "'Tis better to have loved & lost...."

  13. Thank you, Patti, for this beautiful and well-written post! It brings tears to my eyes knowing that Tara is without her best friend now. I know how painful that is myself. Here's hoping Tara finds a new friend and isn't lonely for long. It's good to know the other elephants are helping her for now.

  14. Oh Dear, Dear Dear....This is so heartbreakingly sad...! I knew about Bella and Tara---A most heartwarming story if ever there was one....This is a terrible tragedy and I too pray that this dear sweet Elephant will find another friend---As you said, we all know the pain of this kind of loss if you have ever had an animal "friend".....
    Such sad news, Patti---it brought tears to my eyes....I'm glad the other Elephants are being so tender with Bella....

  15. This is so sad. I hope Tara will find comfort in the care of the other elephants and that she finds a new friend to share her life with.

  16. Animals, they break your heart. Dianne

  17. Oh, how sad. Did you show that video before because I think I've seen it some place. It all came back when I saw it. But poor Tara and how sad on the video showing her standing by the building waiting for Bella and how happy she was when they carried Bella out. Humans or animals, I guess we take little bits of happiness whenever or where ever we can. Thanks for the lovely post.

  18. What a sad story! But a true reminder that we can love each other no matter how different we are.

  19. I saw this yesterday on the news and was saddened also.

    Anyone who doesn't believe that animals feel and have emotions should see this story.

    I have seen it over and over again with my horses. When one of them passes away, the rest grieve right along with me....

  20. I loved the story of Bella and Tara too. Elephants are one of my favorite animals and my heart goes out to sweet Tara.

  21. Interesting. And a good moral to all us for this friendship.

  22. Aw. Sad to hear this. I had heard the initial story, and thought the same as you. Poor thing. Off to hug my 4-legged babies.

  23. I've got tears in my eyes. I had heard the story of Bella and Tara before, but had not heard of Bella's death. I hope Tara finds another BFF.

  24. RV Vagabonds,
    It had me crying too. It just isn't fair.
    Don't feel badly about reversing the names, seems I spelled Tara wrong, should be Tarra.

    Elephants amaze with their compassion and caring. They are wonderful animals.

    I too had heard about the tortoise and the baby hippo. I love it when animals teach us how to get along.

    They do not allow visitors except in special situations. They want the animals to live as normally as possible. That sanctuary is amazing outside of the bleeping coyotes.

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I feel for you. I have been through it and they do grieve. Just give them extra love.

    Linda in NM
    That is so true. We humans are still learning.

    It does break you heart for they just don't understand. I just hated seeing that story.

    I guess the thing to do is get parrots. They have very long life spans.
    I just hate what happened to Bella.

    I was so pleased to see the other elephants actually bringing her bales of hay and touching her with their trunks. They are special creatures.

    I guess the only good thing is that they did have several years together. What dear creatures.

    Yes they did and they were great years.

    I just hope they keep it up long enough for her to adjust.

    I know Naomi, I shed quit a few myself. The caring of the other elephants was so moving.

    That is my hope too. Perhaps they will adopt a new elephant who needs a friend also.

    Yes they do.

    It was on CBS news quite a while ago with periodic updates. You might have seen it there.
    That was an awesome sight for sure.

    Mom of 12
    The children and animals will show us the way.

    I tried to find the video that I saw Sunday but couldn't. This one shows the sweetness of their relationship.

    Me too and the more I learn about those wondeful animals, the more I marvel.

    Yes. In this world that is leary of any one a bit different, this story is a great example of how we should be.

    It does make you want to pull them close.

    mark and amy,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You are not alone in your tears today.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    That is my strongest wish also.

  25. I love this story about Bella and Tara. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  26. I feel so sad ...I couldn't watch the video. I am glad her fellow elephants are rallying round but it is heart wrenching to read how Bella died.xx

  27. oh my goodness, this tears at my heart. We all need a friend like Tara or Bella...someone to carry us through to the end. Thanks so much for sharing this...

  28. My heart is bent too, now. I saw that video last year and found it heartwarming and very special. I am devastated to know that Tara is once again without a special friend.

  29. How very sad. I knew of this pairing, but I didn't realize that Bella had died. The pain of losing a best friend is now on Tara's shoulders.

  30. Oh Patti, this is so very sad. It was such a beautiful story of friendship. I hope Bella can find another friend soon. I'm glad the other elephants are offering comfort.

  31. Thanks for this beautiful love story! It's amazing that animals so different like these two bond. I once saw a photo series of a young hyppo, a mere baby, who lost his mother and who became friends with an enormous turtle, almost his size.
    Beautiful, isn't it, that animals can do what we can't.

  32. Patti, that is so sad. I'm glad that the other elephants have reached out to include her now; maybe that will be the answer. You did a wonderful job on telling their story in this post. Thank you.

    Hope your week is a great one,

    Kathy M.

  33. A sad but beautiful love story. More commonly I've know several cats/dogs companionship. I just finished Water For Elephants which is now a movie. I really feel sorry for any circus animal and shudder when I think of their sad fate at the hands of their often cruel handlers. I'm glad circuses are in decline. That goes for humans too who become objects to gawk at because of life has dealt them.

  34. Retired English Teacher,
    Even knowing she has passed doesn't deminish the story. It was a beautiful friendship.

    The video is only about the beauty of their friendship. The recent events are heart wrenching.

    I agree, while it is painful, it is also beautiful.

    I have visited some of the follow up stories about the pair. Seeing them together just warms the heart.

    She has the broad shoulders but she is now back where she was 8 years ago. Alone. I do hope she finds a friend.

    Me too Kay, me too. I am wishing really hard for that.

    REader Wil,
    Animals don't judge difference like we do. We really could learn.
    I heard about the Hippo story also. So sweet.

    Oregon gifts.
    I sure hope the others can help her with her loss. Elephants have very caring adn supportive natures.

    Tarra had been a performing elephant and was retired. The sanctuary takes in retired zoo and circus elephants. They do not put them on display but let them just be elephants. A wonderful place.

  35. Oh gee I hope she finds another buddy too, that is so sad, my Butter helped bring my Binky out of his shell, most folks don't realize that animals have feelings too.

  36. This story touched my heart when it first broke. The bonds of nature will never cease to amaze me.

    I do pray that Tarra finds a new soul mate. Soooo sad that she had to witness Bella's demise.

    Thanks for bringing this heartwarming story to us.

    God bless and have a marvelous day sweetie!!!

  37. What a sweet, sweet, story! Animals are amazing and their loyalty and love surpasses species. Loved the post.

  38. OMG What a beautiful story. Proving that true love really is blind. Love is love.

    I've lost close friends in my life and the pain is unbearable.

    What a sad ending. :(

  39. My heart melted when I first saw this story. I have always loved elephants and the way they mourn and care for one another. I am moved to tears over a documentary I saw in which an elephant had a stillbirth. They way she nudged and tried so hard to bring the baby to life just breaks my heart every time I think of it.

  40. You knew it was coming :(
    Such beauty and such sadness
    Thanks for the story.

  41. It is very sad that Bella is gone. However, it is sweet the other elephants are understanding while she is grieving.

  42. What a heartbreaker. My daughter has a dog named Bela and I was going to send your blog on to her until I got to the end. She would be devastated !

  43. Linda Starr,
    Yes they do. I have seen it happen in my rescues and with my horse.

    I know, when it came out several years ago, I thought it was just the sweetest story.
    I hope that also.

    They certainly can teach some of us a lesson in acceptance.

    LLCool Joe,
    I am so sorry you have felt such pain Joey.
    Loss is not species specific.

    NCMountain woman,
    I too have seen documentaries on elephants that are astounding expamles of how they care. Beautiful animals.

    Mary Sheenan Winn,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Sorry I didn't have a happier post. I try to remember the beauty.

    Amber Star,
    The elephants social structure is an amazing and caring thing. That is why abuse of such wonderful animals should be severely punished.

    That might be too tough for her. I once had a dog that was the image of Bella and that makes the story that much harder for me.

  44. Oh! How sad! I didn't know about this touching story and I have tears on my eyes... I am so sorry to hear about Bella's death...

  45. Love your blog name. Great blog.

    New Follower.


  46. 'Just poppin' in to wish ya a delightful weekend! :o)

  47. What a heartbreaking story but I am so glad that Bella and Tara found each other even for such a short time.
    My heart aches already and then reading this story I really cried but I am glad that you shared it with us.
    I just had to come by for a minute to check on you my friend and to thank you for all the support you always give me. Christi will recover and I know she is getting stronger each day from all the prayers sent her way.
    I am sorry that your heart is a bit bent today over this story but it sounds like the other elephants are maybe embracing Tarra a little more. I hope so.
    Lets pray there is another Bella in all of our lives. Friends are what keep us going
    Love ya

  48. sonia a. mascaro
    Thank you so much for stopping by. Sorry about your tears, it made me cry also.

    Welcome to TNS and thanks for following. I will check your blog out.

    Why thank you and back at ya.

    Grandma Yellow Hair,
    Aw Maggie, you don't need any more tears. I should have put a "sad" warning on the post.
    Take care lady. Things will get better.

  49. I hope Tarra will be able to move on soon. Hopefully the other elephants will help her. If I don't get back for a while, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you will be spending it with some family and or friends.

  50. That is so heart wrenching. We seem to feel the loss as badly as the big fellow. Here's hoping his own will give the affection that is being craved. It might be a better match but then who knows?