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After 35 Years Apart, Senior Elephant Remembers Her Old Trainer During Emotional Reunion

Lea Lomas

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Is it just an old wives’ tale that elephants can remember everything?

Kirsty, an Asian elephant, was rescued in the 1970s and transferred to Calderpark Zoo in Glasgow, Scotland, which closed in 2003.

At Calderpark, Kirsty bonded instantly, and incredibly, with zookeeper Peter Adamson, her loyal trainer.

For many years, the duo of Kirsty and Peter learned together while having fun at the zoo. Peter fed her hay and cared deeply for her. Then, in 1987, they sadly had to say goodbye when she was relocated to Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England.

Years passed. Peter lost track of his beloved elephant friend, Kirsty, but he never forgot their friendship. Kirsty also desperately missed Peter. But the Chester Zoo gave Kirsty a new friend, Judy, who has become her lifelong elephant companion.

Kirsty and Judy were inseparable, and that’s why they were transferred together to Dublin in 1994. The charming pair was extremely popular in Ireland, and they even endured a heat wave in 2003 at the zoo. When they left in 2005, the zoo invited visitors to say goodbye to Kirsty and Judy. In 2016, people even suggested that a new baby elephant born at the Dublin Zoo be named in honor of Kirsty.

The Dublin Zoo transferred Kirsty and Judy to Germany’s Neunkircher Zoo, which has operated since the 1920s, because the Irish zoo decided to dedicated more space for elephant breeding than serve as a retirement home for older elephants.

Peter often thought about Kirsty. It had been more than 30 years since Peter last saw her, and he decided that he was going to find her. And nothing was going to hinder Peter from finding his elephant friend. After all, Kirsty was getting older and so was Peter. An Asian elephant’s average life span is about 48 years, and Peter had no idea if Kirsty was even still alive. 

Searching online endlessly, Peter eventually discovered some information about Kirsty. Yes, Kirsty was alive and healthy, and, strangely, she lived in western Germany where Peter was soon to vacation. Coincidence? More like fate.

Peter contacted the Neunkircher Zoo staff, who arranged a special meeting. Peter worried that Kirsty, now 52 years old, would not remember him although he knew that elephants have sharp memories. In fact, some elephants can cross paths once and remember each other years later. Scientists say that elephants — warm and friendly creatures — have far better memory skills than their animal counterparts. Elephants can even recognize themselves in mirrors.

Surely, with a bounty of scientific evidence about elephants’ brain powers, Kirsty would remember her old pal, Peter.

Elephants don’t have the best eyesight, but Kirsty did remember Peter, apparently by his voice – or maybe his scent. When Peter approached Kirsty, she sniffed him.

“Do I smell the same?” Peter asked Kirsty.

The pair shared a tear-jerking hug-filled reunion as Peter stroked Kirsty’s trunk, and, in return, Kirsty curled it around Peter. Elephants are loving, and they don’t shy away from touch. Now that the pair has reconnected, Peter plans to visit Kirsty often.

Never believe that elephants cannot remember. Kirsty is proof. Elephants never forget.

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Animals

Cat & Rescuer Become Globe Trotting Companions on This Adorable Instagram Page

Leslie Tander

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There’s an interesting phenomenon in the animal kingdom which animal rescue people are known to talk about from time to time. It’s the fact that even wild animals, when in danger, trapped, or starving- will sometimes allow human rescuers to approach them and offer no resistance as the rescuers place straps and harnesses around the troubled creature.

Of course, anyone who has rescued an animal is likely to tell you that their furry beneficiary formed a fast and tight bond with them. Another interesting phenomenon is the fact than many animal rescuers report that their animals express gratitude toward them- as well as a high degree of trust- rarely found among animals of any kind.

This is especially true of cats and dogs who are particularly well adapted to be amenable to human beings. So when Mike Usher discovered an orphaned cat, trapped in the wall of his elderly uncle’s home- he promptly rescued the animal and began taking care of her.

Mike said, “I didn’t know how long she had been in there. My uncle had been in the hospital for a number of weeks, and Gracie- that’s what I’ve named her- was very thin and frail when she let me pull her out of the wall.”

Mike nursed Gracie back to health and she was at full strength in just a few days. After that, she would not leave her rescuer’s side for a moment- not even long enough for him to go to the bathroom. But this created a bit of a problem for Mike, who is a photojournalist and has to frequently travel for work.

He was getting ready to go out on assignment, but Gracie would not be content to stay at home. When Mike tried to leave she would mew furiously, and scratch at the door and windows. That’s when Mike decided to try an experiment. He went back inside, scooped her up, put her on his shoulder and began walking around the yard to test Gracie’s ability to trust him.

Before long, he was jogging under low trees and weaving between branches. All the while, Gracie clung to him, gently, without clawing his head or neck. That’s when Mike knew that he and Gracie were about to become a team.

Since then, the man and cat duo have been traveling the world, documenting Gracie’s travels as she braves everything the road throws at them. Their exploits are recorded on the Instagram page called Gracie Goes Adventuring. In this wildly popular photo/video log, the two explore beaches, woodlands, and even the waters together.

In the photos and short clips, we see Gracie get a bit nervous at times when Mike wades into the water with her on his shoulder. But it’s clear that she trusts her human implicitly, and follows him through thicket and brush, swimming, climbing, exploring and napping furiously.

While all cats crave adventure, few will experience the scope of sights, smells, and exotic napping locations that Gracie enjoys as a result of her alliance with her globe-trotting rescuer. They truly are a sight to behold.

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Animals

4-Year-Old Girl Nurses Baby Squirrel Back to Health After Deforestation

Lea Lomas

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Squirrels are one of nature’s most charming and amiable creatures. Despite their hilarious demeanors and their winsome mannerisms, most people regard them as nothing more than wild, rat-like creatures to be avoided. While they may not be tamable, once in a while, we hear a story that seems to confirm that even squirrels can appreciate warmth and kindness- especially when it comes from a child. They are, after all, mammals just like us.

This brings us to the story of Jessica Franklin, a four-year-old from South Carolina who was caught on camera playing mommy to a lost baby squirrel. According to folks from the neighborhood, a nearby grove was recently leveled in order to make way for a new shopping center that was going in. For several days, the animal inhabitants from the grove had been seen streaming across people’s yards, apparently in search of a new place to call home.

So it wouldn’t have been a surprise to find neighborhood children chasing the animals or watching them. But what did catch Jessica’s mother by surprise was to find her young daughter developing a very close bond with one of these little wild creatures.

In the viral video, the mother approaches Jessica from behind. The little girl is singing, facing a sun-drenched window, back to the camera. Then we peak over the little girl’s shoulder and find that she is gently cradling a baby squirrel in her hand. She stroked the little creature’s head and neck while singing what sounded like a country song to the animal. Jessica’s mother, not wanting to disturb the adorable scene, did not say anything or intervene.

According to the parents, Jessica later said that she had found the squirrel cold and alone in the morning behind their house in the back yard. She said she knew that it was too young to be away from its family and that it would not be able to find food on its own.

Jessica ran inside and retrieved some spinach and carrot pieces for the animal, coaxed it into her hands and immediately assumed the role of mother for the lost little thing.

Jessica’s parents chose to do the graceful thing and allowed their daughter to build a little shelter for the squirrel in their garage. This contained a bed, a food dish, and had a flap door that allowed the squirrel- which Jessica named Stuart- to escape the wind and cold.

Every day for two weeks, four-year-old Jessica dutifully fed Stuart. Before long the little tree squirrel became strong enough and confident enough to strike out on its own. Jessica’s parents had explained to her that squirrels are wild and that eventually Stuart would go looking for nuts and be free.

So on the morning Jessica found Stuart gone, she knew that it was because he was healthy and strong. Jessica’s mother said her daughter only cried a little bit and said she was glad Stuart was happy.

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Animals

Devastating Hurricane Dorian Leaves a Young Pup Buried Under the Rubble

Lea Lomas

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Storms are very scary things. They are loud, destructive, dangerous, and, sometimes, deadly. Hurricane Dorian- said to be the worst tropical storm to hit the Bahamas- is no exception. The Category 5 storm has ripped its way through many homes and lives. So far, there have been a minimum of 60 confirmed deaths. 

Unfortunately, the number of missing people is an entirely different matter. People are not the only beings to go missing, though, due to storms. Pets often suffer as well. Can you imagine experiencing such devastation- possibly losing your home and belongings, maybe being separated from loved ones, and losing a beloved pet?

Thankfully, just as people have been dedicated to finding humans, others have been dedicated to finding pets. The Big Dog Ranch Rescue from Loxahatchee Groves in Florida has been working in concert with the Bahamas Humane Society, and has been specifically focused on locating and rescuing dogs.

At this time, at least 139 dogs have been rescued, transported, and given life saving care. While they could have stopped at such a large number, they went even farther. To make sure not one furry life was lost due to lack of effort, the Big Dog Ranch Rescue put new technology to work in the form of a drone.

This drone has the ability to penetrate the upper layers and see what lies underneath thanks to infrared detection, and that is exactly what it did. A month after the terrifying storm hit, the Big Dog Ranch Rescue was able to rescue a one year old pup that had been trapped under the heavy debris for all of that time. 

Trapped underneath a collapsed building for such a long period of time would seem hopeless to most, but this brave pup clung to life with nothing but rainwater to drink. When rescuers saved him, he was unable to walk, but that did not keep his sweet tail from wagging joyously at the sight of his heroes. Just like the story told, he was named “Miracle” and is on his way to a full recovery. When he is fully recuperated, he will be eligible for adoption.

Rescuing both human and four-legged survivors is important, and those dedicated souls continuously working to do so are well worth the admiration. Though you may be unable to physical assist in any search or recovery, you may consider donating resources to these causes. Survivors- whether human or animal- need assistance and supplies, so if you can spare anything, even small amounts can make a difference. The shelters housing survivors can always use

Additionally, bear in mind that these rescued dogs and other animals will be looking for loving homes. If you or someone you know feel you can provide such a home, reach out to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue about how you might go about adopting one. 

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