Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Shirley and Jenny – A true story of two elephants

(Best Viewed Maximized – Sound ON for the Videos) An UNreal Creations eProd by Gary the dRAt

I have argued on many occasion the fact that animals can and do think and of course have feelings.

There is more to life than just eating, sleeping, and existing.  There is an intelligence that needs to be appreciated, not be abused.


Video: Nature (PBS) – Shirley the Elephant (Part 2)


The true story of a never forgotten loving relationship between two elephants

that after having been separated for 22 years were at last…, finally reunited.


In 2000, The Urban Elephant brought viewers the touching story of Shirley and Jenny, two crippled elephants reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after a 22-year separation. The bonding was immediate, intense and unforgettable between the two former circus elephants. But long after the cameras were turned off, the wondrous moments would continue.


The two were inseparable. Shirley quickly assumed the role of surrogate mother to Jenny, who, though now an adult, had been a baby when they first met at the circus. Their bond was so intense, it would forever change life at the sanctuary. As Carol Buckley, Executive Director of the Sanctuary describes it, ‘that was the love that started our elephant family.’ "After Shirley’s arrival, elephants who had previously been companions and friends were now sisters and aunts in the mother and daughter relationship of Shirley and Jenny. They gave the sanctuary its future," says Carol. These strong bonds would soon be needed. Sadly, on October 17, 2006, ten years after arriving at the sanctuary, Jenny died.

Jenny came to the sanctuary quite ill. She had scars and other traces of misuse and abuse from her past as a circus elephant. She had been exposed to tuberculosis. And due to an attack by a bull elephant before coming to the sanctuary, Jenny had a crippled back leg. Her caregivers suspect the leg harbored a hidden bacterial infection that flared up last year.

Carol says the bond between Shirley and Jenny was never more touching than in the last days of Jenny’s life. "The day before she died, Jenny had been down and she wouldn’t get up. Shirley stood by her and insisted that Jenny get up. Jenny just couldn’t get up. Then Jenny stood up but she had to lean on Shirley to keep up. If you looked at Shirley’s face, you could see that she knew that Jenny was dying. Jenny dropped to the ground and Shirley walked into the woods."

Jenny was on her deathbed when Shirley walked to the woods but she would give Carol and the sanctuary caregivers the privilege of one last incredible glimpse into the world of elephants before she died. "After Shirley left, Jenny started to make this rumbling noise. With each exhalation, she would rumble. It was almost like a singing. As Jenny did this, Bunny and Tara (two sanctuary elephants) came running over. We thought that was it and she was going to die. And then Bunny and Tara started trumpeting and rumbling. At a certain point, I turned to Scott (Director of The Elephant Sanctuary) and I asked him how long this was going on. He said 58 minutes! Well, she continued for another two hours. Jenny lived through the night and was even perky and silly. She passed in the morning. And when she died, she did a vocalization that I had never heard. It was like a trumpet. It was very low and got quieter and quieter. She passed very peacefully without straining or exerting herself. To experience this ritual was amazing. I had never seen anything like it."

Shirley stayed in the woods until Jenny passed. She didn’t eat for two days. "It was very hard and especially hard on Shirley. Shirley’s whole life was about taking care of baby Jenny. It was like a mom losing her baby."

Fortunately, Shirley has had some extended family members to lean on during the sad times. Shirley is very close with an elephant named Bunny — the two are like sisters. Bunny arrived to the sanctuary just two months after Shirley and they bonded instantly.

Carol says Jenny’s death was difficult for the elephants but they are recovering. The healing process may have been sped up by a new elephant, Misty, who has come in from a different area of the sanctuary. "She’s a very happy creature. She loves all elephants. She just runs around. And they love her. She’s a ball of happy energy."


At Last Sanctuary

To View Videos of Shirley’s Life

Please Click on the Boxes Below:


VIDEO clip_image006 NO. 1


VIDEO clip_image006[1] NO. 2


VIDEO clip_image006[2] NO. 3




I’ve often wondered about Shirley’s longtime keeper, Solomon James, who traveled with her when she was brought HOME to the sanctuary. Has he ever been back to see her? Yes, I know visitors are not allowed, but it seems he might have a pass. He cared for her 22 years, so certainly she’d know him and be very excited to see him, much like her reunion with Jenny. It would be nice for both if they were allowed to see and touch each other up close again.

· @onekinkstar Solomon has been invited on several occasions but has not returned to visit Shirley–it has been his choice not to do so. After saying goodbye to Shirley, Solomon stayed on at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo and continued to care for other animals until his retirement in 2007.

elephantsanctuarytn 7 months ago 4 clip_image008

· @elephantsanctuarytn Thank you so much for letting me know, and thank you . . . For The Elephants.

onekinkstar 7 months ago

· @onekinkstar You’re very welcome. We appreciate your support! For the thousands of Shirley’s fans (including Solomon) she is always just an internet connection away—and these days she can often be spotted live on the Elecam, too.

elephantsanctuarytn 7 months ago 2 clip_image008[1]

· I love Shirley and Jenny. I saw them recently on these video clips. they two are different from the rest. I don’t know about Shirley’s well being, I saw Jenny passed away in 2006. after more than 20 years, I don’t know for how long did she get to spent some good time with Jenny.

krissh14 1 year ago

@krissh14 "Grandma" Shirley is still with us and is doing wonderful. Look for more recent videos of her on our YouTube Channel, including "Summertime at the Sanctuary" and "Shirley and Tarra Playing."

elephantsanctuarytn 1 year ago

Thank Goodness For Animal Sanctuaries

clip_image009By Gary the dRAt

November 5, 2011 Posted by | animal abuse, animal behavior, animals, free range rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | , , , , , , | 1 Comment