Cuteness Overload: Abandoned Baby Elephant Is Saved By Dog

It is widely known that dogs are man’s best friends. But, the protagonist of this beautiful story took that premise to a whole new level. He is determined to be everybody’s best friend, including elephants and rhinoceros! Let’s read this adorable story about this four-legged real hero!

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

#25. Abandoned Baby Elephant

After being abandoned to her luck by her herd, this tiny baby elephant survived on her own for several days, without food or water, and without any hope of survival. Luckily for her, a group of rescuers found her while she was probably having the worst of times.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

This rescue team dedicated themselves to saving animals that were left behind by their own heard for being considered too weak. When they came across this poor elephant, they understood that she was in dire need of help. They tried everything to improve the elephant’s quality of life, but they did not expect an unlikely bond to be forged.

#24. Tracking Down The Family

It has been scientifically proven that for a wild animal to grow up healthily and without complications, the best is to grow up and live with its own herd. Once this elephant was found, the rescuers, together with several experts on the field, tried to reunite the baby elephant with her herd, but what happened next will break your heart.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

The experts located the herd in the Hluhluwe’s Bonamanzi Game Reserve and they took the baby elephant for them to reunite, hoping he would be accepted by his own family. However, the rescuers were very disappointed with the results, as the poor creature continued to be rejected by the herd. Therefore, the rescuers took the elephant back to the refuge with them, and this marked the beginning of a beautiful story.

#23. Off To Rehab

When they found her lying alone in the desert, the elephant, who was named Ellie, was approximately one week old. The rescuers took her back to the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve in Zululand, South Africa, for her rehabilitation. The little elephant was only two weeks old by the time his rehab began.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

At first, though, Ellie was named Ubuntu, but she did not seem to respond well to that name. After careful consideration, they decided to name her Ellie. The rescuers performed a battery of tests on her to know how  Ellie’s health was, but they discovered something else.

#22. Fighting For Survival

After performing a few tests and a thorough examination of the elephant, they discovered that she had a very complicated disease, and that was the reason why her herd had abandoned her. She had no hope of survival, but luckily for Ellie, her rescuers would not stop until she was cured.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

In her physical examination, the rescuers found that Ellie had an infected umbilical hernia, which is fatal for 99% of the animals that suffer from it. The rescuers were convinced that Ellie would survive, but they were fully aware they were dealing with an extremely complicated disease.

#21. Help!

The rescuers worked against the clock every single day for a whole week to make Ellie as healthy as she should be to face her disease. The baby elephant was kept in isolation, to avoid contact with contagious elements.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

After a few days, the rescuers and veterinarians found out that the umbilical hernia infection was not the only ailment affecting Ellie. Instead, she had another problem in her system that complicated things much more.

#20. Severe Symptoms

Ellie’s vets and rescuers discovered that the baby elephant had developed an intolerance to the milk that she was being fed due to her system battling the deadly infection she had in her small body.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

As a consequence of the milk intolerance, she was not eating any food, and if this were not to change, her system and strength would not improve. Vets requested different types of milk, but Ellie rejected them all.

#19. Slow Recovery

After several hours of brainstorming, the staff at the wildlife reservation created a special formula that contained what Ellie needed: protein, minerals, and coconut oil. Fortunately, she started eating. She wasn’t giving up!

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

After a few weeks of eating, Ellie started to feel better and showed signs of improvement. Rescuers saw this as a very positive sign that the baby elephant was fighting to live!

#18. A Life In Solitude

But soon afterward, the happiness vanished when the baby elephant started to show signs of depression and disinterest. One of the experts treating Ellie, Karen Trendler, realized that the elephant was not showing interest in any activity or food.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Luckily, it did not take long for them to realize what really happened to the elephant and why her spirits were so low. As she had been abandoned and left motherless at such a young age she felt completely alone.

#17. Traumatic Life

As they travel in very numerous herds, elephants are considered to be one of the most social animals out there, and they create very important bonds with their family at a very young age.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

As Ellie had been abandoned, she could not develop any bond or connection with any member of the herd, and as such, even though her physical state improved, her psychological state began to worsen.

#16. No Bonds

Thula Thula, the rehabilitation center where the baby elephant was taken care of, serves as a center for many other species of sick or abandoned animals, such as rhinoceroses.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Other animal species that the refuge takes care of include buffalos, leopards, zebras, hyenas, and even crocodiles! Any endangered animal you can think of, Thula Thula rescues them! Nonetheless, Ellie still did not want to bond with any other animal.

#15. Duma, The German Solution

The rescuers at the rehabilitation center didn’t know what to do to make Ellie feel better, but they came up with one last idea, and it proved to be the most effective! They introduced her to Duma. Can you guess who she was?

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Duma, an adult male German Shepherd, was a former police dog with a very kind and tender nature. As a last effort, the rescuers and veterinaries did not hesitate to bring them together. But they never expected what was about to happen!

#14. Love At First Sight

When Duma and Ellie met for the first time, the baby elephant was standing in the sandpile at the center of the rehabilitation center. As incredible as it may seem, as soon as Ellie saw Duma, her mood changed completely and she started to shine.

Photo Courtesy of Best Life.

According to Karen Trendler, one of the rescue center’s volunteers, the impact of Duma’s appearance in Ellie’s life was massive. In her words, “the little elephant started to get a little bit of interest in life again“.

#13. Revitalization

After trying to improve the elephant’s quality of life for several months, it seemed like they had finally found the one thing that cheered her up and gave her hope to recover and live a long life.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Ellie’s depression went away, and she and Duma became best friends! The change was not only positive for Ellie, but also for the pooch. Her behavior changed too and she was always waiting for the moment to play with her elephant buddy.

#12. The Parent She Never Had

As time passed by, the volunteers realized that not only had Duma adopted Ellie as his best elephant friend, but he had also assumed a sort of paternal role. Duma was like the parent she had never had, as the Shepherd followed Ellie wherever she’d go and protected her all day.

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Each time Ellie went to one of her regular check-ups with the veterinaries, Duma would go with her. If Ellie was taking a bath, Duma would take care of her from a safe distance. He became her personal bodyguard.

#11. Inseparable

Everyone was surprised at the positive change that Ellie had undergone, as for the first time since her arrival at the rehabilitation center, she seemed happy and felt alive. She was invigorated and had forgotten about her initial traumas.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Every person at the center took a liking to the unlikely friendship and shot videos of them playing every once in a while, as it was an amazing sight! But the future of Ellie was still at stake. The volunteers knew that feeding an adult elephant was too costly, so she couldn’t live there forever, but where would she go then?

#10. Release

At first, the caretakers’ idea was for Ellie to regain her full health and strength, and once she was fully recovered, they would release her into the wild. They hoped that if she were healthy, she could be taken back to the herd that had abandoned her in the first place.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

But now that she had developed such an important and incredible bond with Duma, this did not seem an appropriate option, as they did not know if it could impact negatively on both animals.

#9. No Need For Change

But on the other hand, the fact that Ellie and Duma had developed such an important bond made the team realize that it wasn’t necessary to release back into the wild because the truth was she had fully adapted to her new lifestyle.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

During the following months, Ellie’s caregivers performed more tests on her and closely monitored her recovery. It seemed that Ellie was undergoing a very fast recovery, in part thanks to Duma, in part thanks to the rehabilitation team, and in part thanks to herself, of course!

#8. What Was Wrong?

But even though things were going great for Ellie, life sometimes takes the most unexpected turns. Sadly, Ellie’s health took a downturn when everyone least expected it.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

On a fateful day in January of 2016, the rescuers and veterinaries at the rehabilitation center made a terrible discovery. They realized that Ellie was a bit down and looked depressed. She had suddenly started to feel bad for the first time in weeks.

#7. Emergency Call

Ellie was showing signs of decompensation, and the vets knew this was a symptom of the infection she still had in her body. But after everything they had accomplished, the caregivers were not willing to give up!

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Karen Trendler, Ellie’s particular caregiver, posted a message in all of her social networks requesting IV colloids for the baby elephant. Fortunately, everything that Trendler requested arrived, but it was not enough.

#6. Farewell

Despite all the help they received from around the world, Ellie the elephant’s life came to an end. Five months after having been rescued, she passed away, without pain, and surrounded by her rescuers and Duma’s love.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

The Thula Thula reserve announced on their webpage and their social media the terrible news and they received hundreds of lovely messages. Without a doubt, Ellie will always be remembered as a fighter.

#5. Ellie’s Spirit

A few days after the tragic story, the rehabilitation center posted a new message: Ellie has been returned to the wild buried in a special place at Thula where her spirit can roam with the herd.”

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

But the workers at the rescue center were overwhelmed with sadness and were still deeply moved about Ellie’s sudden death. Their only comfort was that, in the end, she had found happiness thanks to her friend, Duma. However, now the dog was the one who was feeling alone.

#4. Ellie And Duma’s Legacy

Nonetheless, Ellie had become a source of inspiration for all the staff members in the rehabilitation center. Even though she had faced so much pain and desperation, the baby elephant had always been kind and tender to people and animals alike, and she had really struggled hard to survive.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

The story of Duma and Ellie will always be remembered, and according to the workers at the center, it’s the most tender animal love story they’ve ever witnessed. However, now they had to take care of Duma, who showed early signs of depression after being left alone.

#3. Duma To The Rescue!

Thula Thula seems to be a friend zone for animals, where they can befriend other species and create lasting bonds. Fortunately for Duma, she made a new friend in no time. Once more, the Shepherd took a liking for another unexpected species, a baby black rhinoceros.

Photo: Courtesy of Karen Trendler

The baby black rhinoceros also had a tragic backstory, but instead of being abandoned by its herd, he had been left orphan after a group of hunters killed his mother and his father. But here was Duma to fill that empty void… Duma to the rescue!

#2. A New Friendship

The staff members at the Thula Thula rehabilitation center were hoping that Duma would play the same role he had done with little Ellie. In other words, they were hoping he would assume a paternal figure and lift the spirits of young Nandi, the rhinoceros. The German Shepherd became the main emotional support dog of the center.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

At first, Nandi, the baby rhinoceros, was having a really hard time adjusting to his life alone in the center, and even though he was not showing any signs of loneliness as Ellie had done, Duma was there to play with him and help him to recover!

#1. Dumandi

Sadly, black rhinoceros are (or are rapidly becoming) an endangered species because of poaching, or illegal hunting in the deserts of Africa. Luckily for Duma, Nandi would grow up in a lovely place far away from any danger.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life.

Duma and Nandi are best friends to this day and their story is truly inspiring. A round of applause for Ellie, Duma, and Nandi, who have proved that love has no limit, and another one for the brave team who runs the center, as these stories wouldn’t have been possible without their admirable effort.

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