The care and feeding of an elephant



At the circus, when you first see an elephant, you want one. Once you take a ride around the tent on its back, you tell yourself that one day you will buy one. You can see everything from up there.



When you grow up, everyone seems to have one. The circus does that to you. Elephants never forget and neither do the people who go there. But you, you don’t buy an elephant. You admire and enjoy other people’s elephants. But what would you do with one if you had it? Elephants can’t travel with you around the world. You would have to buy the entire circus, and you can’t do that.



Then one day, you stop traveling and you buy an elephant. You are thrilled and dismayed at the same time. Elephants require a lot of care. Depending on their size, they can eat up to 300 pounds of food each day. You have to provide water for drinking, at least 20 or more gallons per day, and extra water for daily cleaning. Their feet cannot be neglected, and unless you have training, you have to hire a vet to check them for you. Finally, you must consider waste. With elephants, dung happens. Regularly. When you least expect it. And at the most inconvenient times.



I’m not complaining. I like my elephant. I’m doing my best to take care of it and learn all its quirks. At the end of the day, when I come back from work, it’s there waiting for me. I climb on its strong back and enjoy the view, trusting it to carry me into the future.



Because that’s what a homeowner does, right?



Front photo courtesy of fir0002 |   
Back photo courtesy of SuperJew

28 thoughts on “The care and feeding of an elephant

  1. Even when it is a small elephant, the vet bills can be quite steep. Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the circus, but it would be nice, sometimes, to be able to sit back and just munch on popcorn, rather than always making the acquaintance of yet another new vet for one ailment or another. Thankfully, I also happen to live with a couple of clowns, so that makes the days a bit more tolerable. Almost. Mostly.

  2. Ah, I wish I had only one elephant. Ours had babies. They are smaller and we gave them different names (like Orchids, Art Collection, Garden, and Family Heirlooms) but they also require a lot of care, especially mental and emotional. It wasn’t a circus in the beginning but it is now.

  3. Our elephant is just finishing a skin/cosmetics treatment, lovingly administered by family specialists. Her pretty mauve-and-plum make-up is nearly completely restored, and some troublesome cracks and scars and injuries have been treated. Now when I come home to her, her eyes have their old welcoming sparkle and I remember how much I love her! Worth any amount of trouble. May your elephant be the same for you!

  4. Great post as usual. I downsized to a much smaller elephant. Someone else does the maintenance and poop patrol duties now. This compact model comes with a very small trunk, but then again, at this age what do I need a big trunk for anyway? Just remember what W.C Fields had to say about elephants, “…nice to look at but you wouldn’t want to own one.” Oh wait…you do! May your days be filled with happy pachydermic memories.

  5. I loved this story, year stricken… because it is told so well, and is familiar to so many of us. And as you probably noticed, I’m engaged in similar sport… trying to move my elephant down the road to greener pastures. If someone were to offer to take him completely off my hands, I’d be relieved. But over the years, we’ve gotten so used to one another, that it would seem unforgivable cruelty to put him down… and then I’d have to justify myself in front of all the ‘animal rights’ people too. But reading your story, I had momentary relief, as I nodded my head and smiled.

  6. I am anticipating the acquisition of an elephant. The above is pretty much exactly how I think it is going to be. I love my parents’ grand old elephant so much – even though it causes them lots of trouble and expense – and I want a little one of my own.

  7. Mad Queen Linda

    Funny how everyone seems to want an elephant. From everything I saw or read, everyone is supposed to want an elephant. So, I have an elephant, and find that I am not everyone. I would gladly surrender the elephant for a bit of breeze.

    • We tended other people’s elephants all our lives and never considered buying our own. We didn’t have the time or inclination. Since we have finally settled in one place – in our sixth decade – we decided to invest in one.

      I can certainly understand your feelings. They can tie you down to one place.

  8. As the mother of 3, our elephant never seems to be big enough. We have a very large elephant, and yet there are always more things to put on her back. When my out of state friends arrived last year for Christmas with their 3 children, they left their elephant behind, and our elephant was very crowded indeed. But we were glad to have her.

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