The Odd Couple
One of YouTube’s latest phenomenons features an unlikely pair bound by a BIG love. The video—now viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube—is a CBS Evening News with Katie Couric piece on the animal kingdom’s oddest couple, a rescued mutt named Bella and her best gal pal, 34-year-old Asian elephant Tarra. The girls became fast friends at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, a non-profit pachyderm refuge founded in 1995 by Carol Buckley and Scott Blais. At 2700 acres, it is the largest natural-habitat sanctuary of its kind, providing a place of peace for sick, old or needy elephants. In addition to the 17 endangered African and Asian elephants that call the sanctuary home, many homeless dogs and cats have found respite there as well.
It is one of these sanctuary dogs that formed an unlikely but enduring friendship with Tarra. Bella, who now spends her days lounging in the shade of Tarra’s belly, was taken in by the Sanctuary when she was found guarding a bulldozer on recently acquired land. Perhaps this bulldozer-attachment pointed to an inherent draw towards the large, for an elated Tarra soon won Bella, the subject of her affection, over.
But their love was to be put to the test. In April 2007, Bella became incapacitated with a spinal injury after chasing wildlife and the friends were torn apart for several weeks while Bella endured strict bed rest. The inconsolable Tarra silently held vigil under Bella’s window until caregivers finally relented and carried Bella out to her. The reunion became a daily routine until Bella was well enough to return to her rightful place in the barn stall she shares with her elephant best friend. For more on the Elephant Sanctuary behind Bella and Tarra’s inspiring friendship, visit elephants.com.