There is something about "odd" animal pairings that touches our hearts.
Whether it is a moose apparently in love with a cow or a mama cat caring
for ducklings, we are impressed by this cross-species connection. At
times even size doesn't seem to matter -- as with the deep friendship
between Bubbles the elephant and Bella, a black Labrador retriever. They
take walks together, go for long swims, and even play fetch.
They live together at Myrtle Beach Safari, a 50-acre animal preserve in South Carolina. Bubbles came to live there back in 1983 after ivory poachers in Africa left her orphaned and alone. At over 30 years old she is getting a bit "long in the tusk." The people at the park worked hard to make sure that she became a happy and healthy pachyderm despite the trauma of her early life. She has done some work too -- appearing in the movie "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," a music video with Janet Jackson, and she has done some advertising spots.
Back in 2007 a contractor was hired to build a pool at the park. When he finished the job and left, he abandoned a black Labrador puppy there. Bubbles and the dog, now named Bella, found each other and the two souls, both abandoned by the circumstances of their youth, formed a firm and loving bond.
Bella seems unimpressed with Bubbles' resume and is just happy to be in her company as much as possible. Bubbles loves to spend time in the water, but doesn't like to do it alone. Before Belle came along she would only stay in the water as long as one of the trainers was with her. Now that Bella is a part of her life the pair spends hours enjoying the water together and Bubbles seems quite pleased with being used as the dog's diving board.
One of the trainers points out that Bubbles will only put up with his companionship for just so long, but when it comes to Bella, Bubbles is happy to be with her all of the time. Perhaps that is because Bella's only expectation of Bubbles is that of someone to received her loyal doggy love.
Even in those quiet, contemplative times Bella will curl up on one of Bubbles' legs and the pair share some silent contentment. They seem to have a deep, spiritual bond -- each like a sister from another mister. But whoever said that soul sisters have to be human?