BENEFITING: Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
Although my girl Winkie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 11th, my birthday tradition continues (8 years, going strong): Let's Feed Sissy! Not only was she Winkie's best friend, but she also is a former Texas girl.
Captured in Thailand as a calf, Sissy first appeared in the United States on exhibit at Six Flags Over Texas amusement park in 1969. By year’s end, Sissy was sold to the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, TX, where she spent the next three decades as the focal point of the zoo; while there, she survived a record flood after being submerged for a day and a half with only her trunk above water allowing her to breathe. After a tragic incident involving the death of a zookeeper, Sissy was moved to the Houston Zoo and later the El Paso Zoo.
Sissy’s condition was videotaped and leaked to the local press. The El Paso community spoke out and the decision was made for Sissy to be retired to The Elephant Sanctuary. She arrived on January 26, 2000. Reserved and cautious at first, Sissy carried a tire with her for security everywhere she went, a behavior left over from the many years she spent alone at the zoo. She soon began to venture farther out into the habitat, socializing with the others. After several weeks, Sissy was observed lying down in the habitat… incredible news, given that Sissy’s previous keepers had not seen her lying down on her own in years.
A few months later Winkie (also labeled "dangerous") arrived, and the two became fast friends. One day, Sissy put down the tire and, although she periodically will interact with tires when used as enrichment, she no longer requires one for security.