As they say, an elephant never forgets. And they aren’t kidding, either. Elephants are, after all, intelligent, sensitive, and highly social creatures.
Jenny was just a little calf when she was brought all the way from Asia and dropped off at an American circus. Being torn from family and home like that had to have been a confusing and traumatic experience for the little elephant. Shirley, then already in her twenties, was an elephant at the same circus and the two of them spent a winter together before being sent their separate ways. In that brief time, Jenny and Shirley formed a very strong bond that neither was likely to forget. This became abundantly clear when the two pachyderms were reunited after almost 25 years apart.
It happened at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Not only had Shirley not seen Jenny in over two decades, she hadn’t laid eyes on any other elephant, either! After arriving at the sanctuary, Shirley was first introduced to an elephant named Tara. The staff had no idea how this would go. But they needn’t have worried: the two elephants greeted each other gently and with amazing tenderness. Early the next morning, Jenny returned to the elephant barn where her long-lost friend Shirley was waiting. Once they got close enough to look into each other’s eyes, there was a spark of recognition. Then there were trumpets and roars of joy as the two elephants greeted each other with their trunks.
Sadly, Shirley who was already elderly by elephantine standards, only lived another six years. But it’s wonderful how she got to spend that time roaming freely at a verdant sanctuary surrounded by old friends, including Jenny.
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