Elephant and dog: two unlikely animals become BFFs

Category: ,

As Seen With - Cathy Rosenthal

Encourage Kindness to Animals!

Highly-acclaimed children's books for your child or organization

Elephant and dog: two unlikely animals become BFFs

Updated Dec 21, 2021

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.


Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

10 tips for selecting the right dog – for you – at an animal shelter

Know what qualities you want in a pet before you go to the shelter. You can see him through the cage door just begging for ...
Read More

Respectful and non-intimidating engagement with new dogs

Dear Cathy, Your suggestions to James C. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who was having problems bonding with his daughter's dog, were good ones, including bringing ...
Read More

Poor economy hurts dogs and cats too

A poor economy means that more pets are ending up in animal shelters than ever before. Shelters all across the nation report rising populations, as people surrender ...
Read More