It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Southern California. My client, Joanne Smith who is an elephant trainer, invited me to the elephant park. As I drove up the long drive way and entered the locked gates the first thing I saw was five beautiful animals. All were female and each had different personalities. They ranged in age from 27 – 49 years and weighed 4 tons each.
Rosie, the frisky one, was scooping up dirt and spraying it over her entire body. I was told this was done to discourage flies and to keep her body cool. Did you know that elephants have over 100,000 different muscles in their trunks? It was a surprise to me!
I also learned that these giant animals are gentle and loyal. They are highly intelligent and trainable. Joanne has had a passion for her elephants starting at the age of one. Her first elephant is stuffed and its name is “Elphy.” She still has Elphy and places it adoringly on her bed. The ears are chewed up and the trunk a stub but never the less Elphy is in her life.
Joanne also has alopecia areata and has been a customer for many years. Today she chose the Gripper™ Cool due to the heat in Southern California and its amazing grip capacity. When Joanne is traveling with the Circus, attending a wedding, or training the elephants for movies, she is often seen hanging upside down in the mouth or on the trunk of one of the elephants.
I found it special when Joanne told me she uses fallen elephant hair to make jewelry. Interesting that she has no hair of her own but cherishes the elephant hairs. This special note just adds to the story and the day.
When it was time to go I was sad to leave these beauties. They had a rough exterior but underneath I felt inner warmth that I can’t describe. It was a new lesson for me. Never judge someone or an animal by its exterior.