Shirley the elephant hasn't had an easy life - but finally, things are starting to look up.
Shirley was brought over to America in the 1960's after being captured in Asia, a history of performing in the circus, and surviving a boat fire. She continued performing in the circus until another elephant attacked her and broke her leg, which healed poorly. They soon realized she couldn't perform in the circus anymore, and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo agreed to take her in.
What they didn't understand in the early 80's is that elephants need other elephants around them to be happy. According to Elephants in Canada, the proper social environment is critical to elephants - they recommend no fewer than 3 elephants living together.
Shirley had no one, except Soloman James.
Though Soloman doted on her the entire length of her stay at the zoo, he knew she needed a better life with elephants for company. That's where The Elephant Sanctuary came in. After a long, 14-hour trip, Shirley arrived.
But no one could guess what would happen next.
One of the elephants at the new sanctuary, Jenny, had an immediate and loud connection with Shirley. They bent the bars holding them apart trying to get to each other until the keepers opened them, when they could finally embrace. But why were they acting like that?
It turns out, all those years ago (25 years at that point), they were in the circus together. The Elephant Sanctuary says that Jenny was brought to the circus as an infant, and Shirley likely looked after her and was her surrogate mother.
Finally, 25 years later, they were reunited.
Watching their reaction and obvious connection is the only thing more touching than Soloman's dedication to Shirley's happiness. Don't forget to watch the video to see both, and share this with your family and friends that would appreciate this amazing story (and don't mind shedding a tear or two).