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Bella and Tarra: An Old Story with a Message That Never Gets Old


During this holiday season, I want to help promote the message of goodwill and kindness to others by putting a spotlight on the remarkable friendship of Tarra and Bella, the elephant and dog who became best friends.

Tarra was an ex-circus elephant and Bella was a stray dog.  They met at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.  Many of the elephants at the sanctuary have illnesses, injuries and suffer from inadequate care, abuse, isolation, and stress.

Carol Buckley, one of the sanctuary’s founders wrote a book that was published in 2009, detailing the unusual friendship of this elephant and dog.  Buckley explained that elephants seek out companionship. They are social animals. And when new elephants come to the sanctuary, they usually seek out and establish one special friendship with another animal who then becomes a boon companion. These best friends are usually pairs of elephants who feel an affinity for one another, but in the case of Tarra, that special someone was a dog.

Despite the huge disparity in their sizes—Tarra, at 8,700 pounds at least a hundred times the size of Bella, an average-size retriever/shepherd mix, the two were kindred souls. They took long walks together, played in the water, and ate and slept together. The following videos shows the depth of their friendship.

For us here at Black Men In America.com, the most touching part of the video was when was under care in the sanctuary’s building for weeks, Tarra stood vigil outside the building.  To ease Tarra’s worry, the staff finally picked up Bella and carried her to the balcony where her elephant friend could see her. Bella wagged her tail upon seeing her friend.  Once Bella recovered the two were reunited and resumed their happy relationship.

Sadly, their eight years together ended with the death of Bella in late October 2011.  It was believed that Bella was killed by coyotes.  The sanctuary staff also have reason to believe that it was Tarra who found her friend’s body and carried it home to the barn where they spent much time together.

The message from this friendship is to be kind and support everyone when possible.  Happy Holidays!

Black Men In America.com
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