Tarra The Elephant Mourns The Loss Of Companion Dog Bella

Nov 1, 2011 by

Tarra The Elephant Mourns The Loss Of Companion Dog Bella

From A Place To Love Dogs

Happier Days

For those who have not seen this video from The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, it is a heartwarming story of an unusual bond between Tarra the elephant and her best friend Bella, who just happens to be a dog.

The Sad Event

Sadly, on Oct. 28th/2011 The Elephant Sanctuary announced the passing of its beloved dog, Bella, companion of The Sanctuary’s first elephant, Tarra. Bella, the stray who came to The Sanctuary in 2003, became half of the world’s most famous animal duos. Tarra and Bella’s devoted relationship warmed the hearts of everyone who heard their story. The unlikely duo of an elephant and a dog reminded each of us of the importance of loving one other, despite our differences.

The Search Ended Tragically

“We noticed Bella was not with Tarra at breakfast on Tuesday and later that morning she still had not appeared. Tarra and Bella have always spent short periods apart as one goes off exploring briefly on their own, but this longer absence worried us deeply and a search of the property was started. The search ended tragically when Bella’s body was found close to the barn that had long been home to Tarra, her five sisters and Bella. During the time of the search our usually social Tarra chose to remain alone, watched over by concerned caregivers,” recounted Robert Atkinson, CEO.

Carrying Her Home

Caregivers, even more watchful of Tarra than usual, noticed blood on the underside of her trunk. Further evidence surfaced that lead staff to believe what likely happened that fateful night. “The most probable scenario is that during the night Bella strayed from Tarra briefly and was set upon. Tarra arrived too late to save her but was able to stop further damage being done to Bella’s body. With deep sadness and deeper wonder we come to comprehend what likely happened next—that Tarra picked Bella up and carried her home,” said Rob Atkinson.

A True Friend To The End

Every effort was made to provide Tarra with the opportunity to allow her to come to terms with Bella’s death. “We expected Tarra to visit Bella, as elephants in their grief pay great attention to the bodies of their dead, but to our surprise Tarra stayed away,” said Steve Smith.

Rob Atkinson concluded, “our poor, brave, loving girl knew what had happened to her beloved Bella and, in the dark hours of the night as she carried her body home, had come to terms with her death. Tarra was a true friend to the end, and Tarra’s sisters and caregivers will continue to take care of her, as she and Bella did each other.”



  1. Thank you!

  2. Jake Andersen