Thursday, May 28, 2009

Namaste Sweet Ned and Bunny

I've been wanting to post about events at the Elephant Sanctuary but felt overwhelmed at the time with being sick and losing Moochie and didn't want all my posts to be so sad but sometimes that is just how life is.

The Sanctuary lost two sweet elephants the same week I had to put Moochie down.

Bunny, at 57 was the second oldest elephant living at the Sanctuary. She made her transition on May 14. She has the unique distinction of being the only elephant at the Sanctuary that has died of natural causes (old age). Here is what the Sanctuary had to say:


May 12

Bunny, true to her nature, is moving slowly in her process, spending less and less time consciously with us and more time in a deep sleep. Her fluids have been reduced to a slow drip to allow for an intravenous port for her pain meds. She continues to breathe through her trunk but also has begun to snore periodically. Caregivers are doing their best to hold silent vigil so that Bunny can slip away when she is ready. We honor her process and know that this is Bunny’s passing which will be done in her time, in her way. Shirley and Tarra (elephants) continue to remain close and are at peace. Seeing Tarra and Shirley share this experience is a gift for all of us. We know that both are helping each other and we cannot help but recognize the gift this is for Tarra, having Shirley lean on her in this emotional way.

May 14

Bunny has blessed this planet with her presence for 57 years. Her humor and gentleness has touched literally thousands of people. In Evansville, IN she was friend to three generations of families that grew up knowing Bunny. Today Bunny left us to join those who have gone before her. Her passing was beautiful to behold. Caregivers held the space for Bunny to transition in her own time her own way. Being present during an elephant's transition is indescribable, a cherished gift; always a profoundly touching experience. With a caregiver at her side Bunny took two long breaths, closed her eyes and passed. Namesta sweet Bunny. The joy you brought can never be measured; your wisdom always remembered


Ned at the very young age of 21, was with the Sanctuary a very short time, just since last November. USDA confiscated Ned from a small circus that was charged with animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act. He was a TON underweight. Just when the Sanctuary thought they had turned a corner with Ned, his stomach would act up again. Here are diary entries from the Sanctuary:

May 13

Every day that Ned is with us is a gift, of that we are sure. To look upon his emaciated body, to know that no matter what he eats he experiences difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients is difficult to do day after day. Every day feels like a stolen one for him. This morning when caregivers entered Ned’s barn, he was lying on his side on the floor in obvious discomfort. Throughout the day he was made comfortable with fluids, pain meds and anti-inflammatory. The vet team struggled to determine how to help Ned since his condition remains undiagnosed, so we tried to mask the pain and get him back on his feet. He remains under constant veterinary care and 24 hour caregiver’s supervision.

May 15

Ned was with us such a short time and now he is gone. When he crossed over there can be no doubt that he was in the company of his sister-elephant Bunny who passed away only 12 hours before him. Although these two deaths were unrelated on a physical level, on a deeper level they could not be more related. Ned passed away at 3:47am CT in the company of a caregiver. He passed without a struggle, just two deep breaths and a sigh and then he was gone. We feel cheated by the little time we had with Ned but cherish every single moment we were allowed to care for and get to know this most amazing boy/man elephant known as Ned. We love you Ned, Namaste sweet boy.

Ned’s passing is especially difficult because of the amount he suffered throughout his young life, how much he missed out on and how little time he had in sanctuary. A part of us is relieved because he no longer will experience the abdominal pain that plagued him for so many years or worry about how horrible he might feel tomorrow. No one would begrudge him letting go of his diseased body even if it meant we never again could be so fortunate as to watch him glide through the pasture or camouflage himself in the woods behind his barn. He deserves to be free from pain.

Ned’s necropsy was performed today by the expert team from Georgia State University. Upon gross examination it was found that Ned suffered a multitude of problems, all centered on his abdomen. The most obvious of his problems lay in his intestinal tract which was seriously diseased with ulcers, much like the ulcers humans develop, and scaring in the area where most of his nutrients would be absorbed if his tract had been healthy. Although Ned did have a scant 4 handfuls of sand in his gut, sand impaction was not one of his conditions. The further into Ned’s intestinal tract the team worked, the more amazed they were by the damage they found. A full necropsy report will be issued to the Sanctuary once all of the samples are processed, but stress is believed to have been a factor in the disease of Ned’s intestinal tract, long-term stress. Another very troublesome finding was the condition of Ned’s pancreas. Before he died our vet team suspected that Ned might be suffering from a diseased pancreas and prescribed diet recommendation to address such a condition. Upon necropsy the team explained that Ned had suffered from his condition for a long time and that by the time he arrived to the Sanctuary his condition was terminal.

Luckily he was able to live his last few months under the attention of caregivers and veterinarians and savor what little time he had left. Ned was one lucky boy to be surrounded by so many people who sincerely cared about him, including the thousands of supporters who loved him unconditionally from afar. Thank you.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm grateful that there are such loving people caring for these amazing elephants.

KGMom said...

The Sanctuary is such a wonderful place. I am so glad I support it financially. And, all because a student of mine wrote about it--that's how I first learned of it.

Hope you are all recovered physically.

Dog_geek said...

Oh, so sad about Ned - I was hoping that he had turned the corner and had a great life ahead of him.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.