When Tarra was twelve we participated in an elephant training course offered by Smokey Jones and Gary Johnson. Gary had purchased two wild caught baby elephants from Africa. For a fee, keepers were invited to attend the course to learn how to train an elephant.
When we arrived Tarra joined Gary’s elephants. A short distance away stood a tiny African calf, chained and alone.
Tarra and I stayed for a week. During this time the baby elephant was trained several times a day. She was kept separate from the other elephants. Tarra never had an opportunity to meet her close up and personal. But I did. I still remember thinking how tiny her trunk was and how she hardly uttered a sound the entire time I was there.
When her training was completed she was loaded up into a trailer to begin her life as a performing elephant. She was the namesake of a newly formed circus.
Nearly twenty years later our lives came full circle when Flora arrived at the Sanctuary. Without question she had grown into one of the most magnificent elephants I had ever seen. As she gracefully stepped from the trailer onto sanctuary grounds, I flashed back to the first day we met and thought…another miracle.