Daily Good: Media That Can Fuel Kids’ Souls: Bella & Tarra

Many of us have seen the classic Stuart Brown National Institute of Play viral video of the polar bear and sled dogs making the rounds many times over as the quintessential ‘odd couple’ that turns the predator/prey instinct on its ear…

It’s worth using as a childhood ‘teaching moment’ about stereotypes, unexpected outcomes, friendship, and compassion in life lesson mode.

So it’s no surprise that THIS week’s elephant sanctuary story of the unusual pairing of Bella & Tarra (Steve Hartman’s CBS News/ Assignment America) tickled my ‘awwww’ synapses once again as an animal lover of all creatures great and small. This dedicated pairing of unlikely friends (an 8700 pound Asian elephant and a dog) is proof positive that love and adoration comes in all sizes and shapes of beings, with unconditional support and affection taking on many contexts.

AND…get this…Not a single cynical snipe in the comment section from humans yet either, so you can TELL it’s a winner and people are seeking out ‘happy news’ in this challenging economic New Year! (video/photos and “EleCam” after the jump, kids! Hat tip to Bill Daul of NextNow Collaboratory)

Yah, that’s her elephant trunk petting the pup…she’s even rubbed her belly with her giant hoof, evidently…Talk about TRUST! Bella & Tarra are more than a wee bit devoted…

As Steve Hartman describes:

“When it’s time to eat they both eat together. They drink together. They sleep together. They play together,” Buckley says.

Tarra and Bella have been close for years — but no one really knew how close they were until recently. A few months ago Bella suffered a spinal cord injury. She couldn’t move her legs, couldn’t even wag her tail. For three weeks the dog lay motionless up in the sanctuary office.

And for three weeks the elephant held vigil: 2,700 acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner, beside a gate, right outside that sanctuary office.

“She just stood outside the balcony – just stood there and waited,” says Buckley. “She was concerned about her friend.”

Then one day, sanctuary co-founder Scott Blais carried Bella onto the balcony so she and Tarra could at least see each other.

“Bella’s tail started wagging. And we had no choice but bring Bella down to see Tarra,” Blais says.

They visited like that every day until Tarra could walk. Today, their love — and trust — is stronger than ever. Bella even lets Tarra pet her tummy – with the bottom of her enormous foot.”

The lesson to be learned here is summed by CBS News at the end when Hartman says animals harbor “…No fear, no secrets, no prejudices, just two living creatures who somehow manage to look past their immense differences…” concluding:

“Take a good look at this couple, America…Take a good look, world. If they can do it, what’s our excuse?”

Indeed. Brava to that one, folks.

And yes, I know, many will say I ‘project’ and ‘anthropomorphize’ being such a strong animal advocate, (as do many kids, I might add!) but follow this live EleCam (kids will love!) and I think you’ll feel otherwise.

Here’s to a New Year of media that inspires…And helps kids think about a greater good and a bigger picture beyond themselves aboard this very small planet of ours. Enjoy!

Bella and Tarra: Dog & Elephant Inseparable Dedication: (2:45 video) Amazing!

Bonus Points on the Retro Media Tie In:

    Check out the hilarious positioning on the homepage of the Hohenwald, Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary retirement community for the animals:

    “They loaded up their trunks and they moved to Tennessee…” …”Hills there are. Watering holes. Country stars.” 😉 Love it.

    (Visual Credits: Lead elephant graphic, Flickr Serif Group Discussion Users/’BunnysMom’ link on visual)


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