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On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Why can’t we all just get along? That was Rodney King’s plea in the wake of the Los Angeles riots several years ago. Taking up the challenge are Tarra and Bella.

Tarra is a former circus elephant spending her final years at a Tennessee elephant sanctuary. Female elephants tend to pair off. In the wild they help care for each other’s babies. Elderly, widowed elephants continue the practice, just enjoying the company of a fellow golden-ager.

Usually that buddy is another elderly female elephant beyond child-bearing age. But in this case, Bella is a dog. A stray that wandered into the sanctuary.

A while back when the dog had to be immobile after spinal surgery, Tarra stood vigil in a corner of the sanctuary until her keepers started carrying Bella over to Tarra for a daily visit. 

Dogs and elephants generally don’t care for one another. Other stray dogs given a home at the sanctuary steer clear of the big mammals. The elephants usually regard approaching dogs with alarm.

However, Tarra and Bella aren’t bound by any such social conventions.

They don’t have any patience for prejudices. They’re pals. 

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