Please tell us your story about how an animal demonstrates love – there is a comment field below you can use.
The most moving story received by the end of February will win a rare collection of Elvis memorabilia, including a guitar shaped musical box that plays “Love me Tender”.
If we receive a sufficient quantity of stories we may contact you to discuss publishing your story in an anthology. We look forward to reading your story and thank you for participating.
This is the story of Timbo and Kura, two elephants who came to live at Tippi Hedren’s big cat (yes BIG CAT) preserve “Shambala” in Acton, California. Tippi told me this story, in the presence of Timbo and Kura, the very first day I ever met her.
Tippi had been running a big cat preserve for exotic felines rescued from private ownership and badly managed facilities for over 25 years when we met in November 1999. She explained to me that some years prior she’d received a call from someone asking her to take an elephant. Tippi (rolling her eyes) calmly explained that her sanctuary was designed for big cats, not elephants… you know the things with fur and stripes and spots and stuff like that… not trunks. The voice at the other end of the phone told Tippi if she didn’t take this elephant they were just going to euthanize it (you know – KILL IT!) Heartbroken but torn, Tippi just blurted she’d take the elephant. She had no idea how she was going to do that.
With her trusty sidekick, who is today President of her preserve/sanctuary, one time ex con, soon after this story to become known as “The Elephant Man”, one Chris Gallucci (a bear of a man if ever there was one), Tippi carved out a couple of acres from her land to turn into an elephant friendly sanctuary. Together Tippi and Chris started looking into how to care for an elephant… as one does (search Google… elephant home care for beginners). Soon thereafter, Timbo, a gigantic alpha bull, came to live at Shambala. Chris and Timbo were inseparable. Chris literally lived with that elephant day and night and when, 20 years later, Timbo passed, he literally passed in Chris’s arms. Anyway, I digress…
Mercifully, the introduction of Timbo to Shambala was an enormous success. This did not make Tippi, the preserve or Chris Gallucci any more ready to handle what came next. Another call, about another elephant – Kura. Kura had been held captive in a circus and was literally going insane. She was destroying her surrounds, trying to kill her keeper… she wanted OUT. Tippi was once again faced with the ultimatum “take it or we kill it”. Charming.
There was no space to carve out another elephant-sized enclosure so the only option was to keep the two elephants together. That might sound obvious and simple but, as Tippi explained it to me, elephants have very distinct personalities, no different from you and me. They like who they like and they don’t like who they don’t like and if these two elephants didn’t get along it could easily end in bloodshed. Nevertheless, holding their breath and praying hard they decided to give it a try. Enter Kura.
From the second Kura arrived, these two elephants greeted each other like long lost friends, perhaps family members, perhaps lovers (I’m crying now… Tippi was crying telling me this part of the story too). They wrapped their trunks around each other, oh my goodness it was something. These two were IN LOVE and it was obvious. Astonished by the reaction, Tippi decided to do some research…
These two elephants had arrived in America on the same ship from Africa. They had been taken from the same herd!! They were then separated for over ten years in very different circumstances, in very different parts of the country, only to be reunited and able to spend their rest of their lives in dignity with their every whim catered to for the rest of their natural lives… their happy ever after thanks to Tippi Hedren. For the following 20 years these two elephants were never apart and Chris was never far from their side. Now if that isn’t a love story, I don’t know what is.
Happy Valentine’s Day xx
An anecdote, not a story.
Throughout her lifetime, after an horrendous start to life, our rescue dog (Jessie) and I shared a special bond. She was terrified of most men but learned slowly that our home was her safe place to fall and that my menfolk would show her only kindness.
In her dotage, Jessie developed doggy dementia along with various physical illnesses and was sadly euthanized at age 14 years.
On my husband’s lap, as the vet administered the injection, I held her face in my hands, looked into her beautiful eyes and told her for the last time that I loved her. To our absolute astonishment, she raised her head and, as she always had before the onset of dementia but never since, my Jessie responded in kind, loudly and clearly. My heart broke and was simultaneously filled with wonderment.
Beautiful Melanie. So moving.
My beautiful support dog has saved my life due to mental illness
That’s precious Claire. Can you tell me more? It sounds like there’s a beautiful story there.
I’ve never thought about this before but it’s an interesting subject. I’ve lived with all kinds of dogs over the years: Alsatian, fox terrier, scottie, cocker spaniel, boxer, and of course, two beagles. The problem in answering your question is that beagles are somewhat unique. I have two samples to draw from and they were really quite different in all but one respect, and that was their quite indiscriminate love affair with everyone they met. Each was the new best friend forever! So you see the problem?
Actually, I think both Alfie and Barney saw me as pack leader or parent. A good example, that turned up fairly often, was when they had a problem of some sort, like a burr in the paw, an upset stomach, or some such. They would always come to me to “fix it”. Is that love? Both also were most comfortable when they were touching me. For example, if I were in the living room watching TV, Alfie would often sleep at my side. If I went into the den to do some paperwork, within no more than a minute of two, Alfie would walk groggily in, flop down on my foot, and resume his snooze. In other respects they both were very independent animals, perhaps a bit headstrong at that. If they set their mind on doing something, there was no way to deter them. I have read that this is a characteristic of the breed and makes them hard to train. I have also read that dogs generally are emotionally and intellectually about on a par with a two-year old child, so a lifetime of “the terrible twos”! 😬
Not on your topic, but the point about beagles being hard to train recalls an incident with Barney that always bring a smile to my face. When he was young I took him to training classes at a local park. I’ve seen dogs obediently following commands of course, and I thought this would be great for him … and me. So, he was quite good at learning to sit, lie down, walk off leash, and so on. I was proud of him … and me, since we were a team. Anyway, we get to the last class, the final exam. Each owner and his or her dog had a simple task. Just walk in a big circle with their dog off-leash, obediently heeling beside. It was really nothing we hadn’t done before. But a minute or so in, Barney saw something in the distance that looked interesting. I’m not sure what it was, or even whether there was really anything there at all. But off he went, joyfully yoicksing as beagles will. And all the other dogs happily joined in. A mass flunk out! About 10 minutes later, Barney turned up, exhausted, with a happy grin. “Wasn’t that fun?” was written all over his face! In the event, all we got was a Certificate of Attendance.🙄
I shared a post college apartment with 2 roommates, and a roommate’s little cat. This would have been around 1974.
We had our telephone table in the front hall, with a rocking chair.
One night, my father called, to tell me that an older family member had died.
After we hung up, I started to cry. That little cat came to me, and put his paws on my knees. He cried with me for 5 minutes. He also didn’t leave me for the rest of the evening.
I can feel & hear him, even now.
That’s a beautiful story, Beverly. I had a similar experience when I was living in London. A ginger Tom (I later learned his name was Max) adopted me as his human. He had a home with his brother Archie, a very good home, but for some reason he adopted me as his human. He was no cuddle cat. Actually he was a bit of a bruiser. I saw him chase foxes and they would run from him. He would just turn up in my apartment whenever he felt like it and hang out and chill. It was during this time that Princess Diana died.
Like many millions of others around the world, I was devastated at the loss of Diana. I shared the funeral by phone with my mother in Australia and we were both in tears. Max looked at me, climbed onto my lap (which he had never before) and put a paw on each shoulder, looking me straight in the eyes. It actually just made me cry harder but it was definitely a hug of comfort, understanding my pain, and it was the first time he ever stayed with me overnight. How about that?
I just watched the last episode of the latest series of “All Creatures Great and Small”. I think this is my favorite series ever.
In the final shot, the vets and friends are toasting James’ and Helen’s betrothal in the village inn when the camera pulls away to show a sign on the door, “Animals welcome, people tolerated.”
I think that’s a fine motto for everyone! 😏
On Saturday my dearest friend passed away suddenly, likely a stroke. She was a true blue friend and the past few years took a terrible emotional toll on her. I loved her and when my sweet husband died she was there for me.
She was a Pulitzer Prize journalist and photographer and her photography book “Sisters” was 53 weeks on the NYT book list, breaking all photography book records.
Her husband died 4 years ago and she became mostly a recluse. We talked almost every day. She had two cats and they truly were what what kept her going. The day she passed she texted me a picture of one of her cats and under it wrote “He has my heart”.
When my sister and I were twelve years old, we were planning our first overseas trip to the States. We were very excited. That was all we could think about. Of course being kids, an overseas trip is always exciting.
However, several weeks before our trip, we heard a meow at the front door. When we opened the door, there was a beautiful tabby cat swishing its tail, and staring up at us with its gorgeous, green eyes. We gave him food and water. Every night, he proceeded to come to the same spot at the front door. My sister and I begged our parents if we can keep him.
But he went away for a while, and our parents said: if he’s at the door again when we come back from our trip, we will let him in. After two weeks, we came home. Soon enough, when we returned—that same evening—he was at the front door, as though he knew we were home. Instead of giving him food and water outside, we opened our door, and our home, to him. We named him Banjo because he was so highly strung. If he was human in real life, he would have been a cool street dude. He was very street smart. He knew who to trust, and who not to trust. He did not trust anyone asides from us, his family. Though when we first brought him home, he was scared of feet, and we believed he may have been abused by his previous owners. One day, we followed him down the street, curious as to where he was going, and we found him at his old home. It broke our hearts. He was abandoned.
We picked him up, and we took him to his new home, and told him that he does not have to be alone anymore. He came to realise that we were nothing like his previous owners; we were loving, caring, and looked after him as though he was family. Indeed, he was. He had personality like no other we have ever seen. He had an old soul in him. You can see it in his eyes, the way he looked at you, like as if he knows what you’re saying. He went from a scared, feral cat, to an adorable, big sook. He was also a loving friend.
There used to be shops down the road. When we walked to the shops, he would follow us. So we let him. But he would lead. The owner stared, astonished, that a cat had followed us and we told them he is our cat. He would give us a can of food for Banjo. Then Banjo would come with us back home proudly. He always walked with pride.
We had Banjo for thirteen years. Animals do love. They love when they see you loving them. All they need is someone to guide them, and to make them feel valued, like Banjo — the stray, street smart feral who turned into a loving feline.
Banjo showed us how important it is to adopt. Since then, we have been adopting cats from RSPCA and YAPS.
I love this story! And I love why he was named Banjo!
I forgot to say my name and my sister’s name on the heading, but doesn’t matter anyway 😉 it’s both our story since we loved him so 💕
Everyone knows an elephant never forgets but did you know they are also incredibly loyal? The relationship between the elephant family is unbreakable, especially when it comes to elephant mothers and their babies. Not only do mother elephants carry their babies for 22 whole months (weighing up to 250 pounds!), they also make sure they raise their children every step of the way, protecting them to the death if needs be.
In times of danger, elephant parenting kicks into full force as a group of adult elephants stand in a circle around any vulnerable victims. And if a young elephant is taken by another herd, the whole squad round up the troops and gets together to look more threatening, heading off to get their precious little one back to where they belong.
When an elephant passes away its companions’ morn it’s death by standing silently at the body for days on end, sometimes even retuning to pay homage to the bones. And to comfort each other? They console one another with an elephant hug by putting their trucks into each other’s mouths.
FROM ORANGUTANS TO SEA HORSES
These red haired apes from South East Asia are pretty damn cute, and their loveable looks ain’t lying. With female orangutans only giving birth around once every eight years, they form an unparalleled bond with their newborn, parenting them for 8 whole years, longer than any other animal single parent. No surprises then that whilst teaching them all the skills they need to go it alone, the mother and baby make aninseparable bond. Sadly, today orangutans are on the endangered species list and the love they really need is from me and you. So, swing along to wwf.org.uk/adoption and become part of this lovable family.
If anyone knows about the art of seduction, it’s seahorses. To spark the romance male and female seahorses flirt by holding tails and swimming snout to snout whilst changing colours to show each other their feelings. Once they’ve done the deed, the male seahorse takes one for the team and carries the litter with the female sticking around until birth, visiting every morning and working her charm to ensure the male continues to nurture their eggs until they hatch. Oh to be a sea horse, right ladies?!
As animal communicator and animal medium I constantly hear about the love shared between animals and their humans. Receiving their unconditional love is so profound and indelibly etched in our hearts. The story I’d like to share is about my Maine Coon cat Paddy. He joined me when he was 4 months old and he picked us as his family !
The bond we shared was like soulmates – he was my shadow following me and being with me everywhere in the house. He used to sleep on my pillow and gently massage my hair making paddy paws. I used to take him for walks in a dog harness and he was bigger than a lot of the dogs we met – he liked dogs and used to play with a friend’s St Bernard till the dog got to about 80 kg. If I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk he would run to the front door ready to have his harness put on.
My neighbours used to cat sit when I was away, and said he was really pining for me. I gave him a little sister and you could just see him thinking “what did you do that for ?” I think he wanted me all to himself, but he was very intrigued with his sister and they developed a close relationship and I was glad they could keep each other company while I was at work.
He used to come and help me in my perfumed rose garden – He’d hop on my back while I was leaning over pulling weeds and would “snoopervise” my work. He was a sensitive new age cat – he loved the roses. There was only one place on my kitchen bench where I could have a vase with the roses in that they couldn’t knock off. Invariably I would get home and there would be a rose lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Paddy would look at me as though “it jumped out all by itself”.
Paddy and his sister moved with me up to Queensland where they had both come from. They loved the new house and being able to spend time outside with the garden having a high fence. They hadn’t seen a pool before and must have wondered what was going on when they could only see my head !
Not long after we moved I started studying animal communication, and Paddy and his sister were my build in teachers. They were extremely patient with me and taught me about communicating with words and pictures. Once I was able to talk to Paddy, he shared about our past life connections, which was fascinating. Our souls have known each other for thousands of years, and he had spent several lifetimes with me. No wonder he picked to come and live with me. He also taught me a lot about spiritual concepts, and healing. He loved crystals and essential oils and reiki, and would lie in my arms literally for hours having healing, but also transferring healing to me.
Our relationship deepened with having two way conversations. The love we shared was profound. Early on I couldn’t imagine having to say goodbye to him, and hoped that he would be able to pass over on his own accord when he was ready.
Towards the end of his life Paddy became less mobile, and I told him that I was happy to keep looking after him as long as he wanted to stay, but he had to tell me when it was time for him to go. The dreaded night came where he didn’t want to eat and drink and made weird noises that I’d never heard before. I knew he was telling me that it was time. I syringed him water so that he wouldn’t be dehydrated, and spent a long time with his favourite crystals and giving him healing to assist his transition. He wasn’t able to pass over on his own, and I learnt that it is a great act of love to assist our beloved animals to pass over when it’s their time. The vet nurse took some lovely photos of our last cuddle.
I was devastated at losing this most amazing soul wrapped in fur. I know I am really fortunate that I can communicate with him on the other side, which gave me some solace. He also visits on an energetic level and plays with my hair as he did as a kitten, so that I know he is there.
Incredibly he has come back in a new body to be with me for another lifetime, and I’m so grateful that he has done this. It isn’t every animal’s destiny to reincarnate in our lifetime, but it is such a gift that we get to have that relationship all over again. The soul endures, and the love we share with our animals endures.
What a stunning, touching, moving story Annie. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us and for putting into writing so beautifully.