Elephant and dog: two unlikely animals become BFF's

Animal Welfare Specialist
Cathy has worked in the animal welfare field for more than 25 years. As a Director of Public Relations for local and national animal welfare agencies, Cathy developed and managed public relations programs, wrote press materials, and prepared staff to handle media interviews on animal issues.
Tarra, an 8,700 pound elephant, and her best friend Bella, the dog running underneath her.

BFF — the text jargon meaning “best friends forever” — may not just be the mantra of young girlfriends, but the pledge of happy elephants too.

According to a story on CBS Sunday Morning, elephants arriving at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee seek out the special friendship of a single pachyderm at the sanctuary, a best friend they can spend most of their days hanging around. 

For most of the elephants at the sanctuary, there have been adequate elephants for these friendship pairings. But what happens when there are not enough pachyderm pals to go around? What’s a lonely elephant to do? 

In the case of Tarra, an 8,700 pound Asian elephant, she decided her BFF would be a dog named Bella. A few homeless dogs, like Bella, have made their home at the sanctuary, but tended to keep away from the elephant crowd. Bella and Tarra, however, have crossed the huge divide.

In fact, Bella is so smitten with her new elephant friend, she actually lets Tarra rub her belly with her giant pachyderm paw.  When Bella injured her back and had to recuperate inside the sanctuary office, Tarra stood vigil near the building for three weeks. When the caretakers realized that Tarra was pining for her friend, they brought Bella out for a visit. Bella wagged her tail for the first time in weeks and Tarra bellowed in joy.

The two friends are inseparable, romping through grassy fields like two kids on summer break. And there is nothing sweeter than seeing two unlikely pals sharing a unique friendship. For some reason, interspecies friendships have a way of making us feel hopeful about the world.

Click here to read Steve Hartman’s wonderful story and watch the video of their friendship.