Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog were real-life best friends. After being introduced at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary in 2003, the pair became inseparable. You've probably come across their story here and there over the last few years because it's just been too heartwarming not to cover or share. Unfortunately, today brings a sad development in their happy tale. Bella died last week after she was attacked by coyotes. Tarra found her lifeless body before the groundskeepers could and stayed beside her best friend, just like she had for the past eight years, until she carried Bella's body, with her trunk, back to the barn where the two of them used to hang out.
It's as if she couldn't bear the thought of Bella's body being left out in the open, all alone.
Robert Atkinson, the CEO of the Sanctuary, told Nashville's News 2 that "in her time of grief, [Tarra's] turning to her sisters for support, and that's what elephants are good at, being a herd and being there for each other." She's also been spotted near Bella's grave, which isn't surprising given elephants' incredible capacity for love, grief, and remembering.
If you haven't heard of Tarra and Bella's remarkable relationship, I'm sorry you're just learning about it now. Sounds corny, but they were truly an inspirational duo -- they were best buddies despite being 100 percent different. They were an example of what true friendship means and taught a lot of people about tolerance, unconditional love, and the amazing abilities of our friends in the animal kingdom.
OK, I get that I'm starting to sound like I wear hemp suits and grow hairy armpits, but I've always been an elephant lover. Dogs, too, but elephants have a special place in my heart. Watch any documentary on the elephant and you'll fall in love with the pachyderm, too. The sanctuary in Tennessee aims to rescue and rehabilitate elephants who have been mistreated in zoos or have retired from circuses -- such a noble cause. Tarra was the one who actually inspired the sanctuary. She was the only one there for a while until more elephants started getting rescued.
And I bet she's thankful that there are now others there since Bella has passed. What a sad, sad day. If you want to remember Bella and Tarra in their happier days, here are a few classic videos of the two. Rest in peace, Bella!
Watch them together over the summer of 2010:
What do you think of Tarra and Bella's story?
Photo via YouTube