Monday, March 16, 2009

On Elephant Sanctuary, Unlikely Friends

On Elephant Sanctuary, Unlikely Friends
CBS Evening News: Steve Hartman Looks At What Difference A Couple Of Tons Makes - Or Doesn't - For Two Old Friends


(CBS) When elephants retire, many head for the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald,Tenn. They arrive one by one, but they tend to live out their lives two-by-two.

"Every elephant that comes here searches out someone that she then spends most all of her time with," says sanctuary co-founder Carol Buckley.

It's like having a best girlfriend, Buckley says - "Somebody they can relate to, they have something in common with."

Debbie has Ronnie. Misty can't live without Dulary.

Those are pachyderm-pachyderm pairs. But perhaps the closest friends of all are Tarra and Bella.

That would be Tarra the 8,700 pound Asian elephant. And Bella. The dog.

"This is her friend," Buckley says, scratching Bella's tummy. "Her friend just happens to be a dog and not an elephant."

"Bella knows she's not an elephant. Tarra knows she's not a dog," Buckley adds. "But that's not a problem for them."

Bella is one of more than a dozen stray dogs that have found a home at the sanctuary. Most want nothing to do with the elephants and vice versa. But not this odd couple.

"When it's time to eat they both eat together. They drink together. They sleep together. They play together," Buckley says.

Tarra and Bella have been close for years -- but no one really knew how close they were until recently. A few months ago Bella suffered a spinal cord injury. She couldn't move her legs, couldn't even wag her tail. For three weeks the dog lay motionless up in the sanctuary office.

And for three weeks the elephant held vigil: 2,700 acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner, beside a gate, right outside that sanctuary office.

"She just stood outside the balcony - just stood there and waited," says Buckley. "She was concerned about her friend."

Then one day, sanctuary co-founder Scott Blais carried Bella onto the balcony so she and Tarra could at least see each other.

"Bella's tail started wagging. And we had no choice but bring Bella down to see Tarra," Blais says.

They visited like that every day until Tarra could walk. Today, their love -- and trust -- is stronger than ever. Bella even lets Tarra pet her tummy - with the bottom of her enormous foot.

They harbor no fears, no secrets, no prejudices. Just two living creatures who somehow managed to look past their immense differences.

Take good look at this couple, America. Take a good look world. If they can do it - what's our excuse?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

English Language Unity Act - Bill # H.R.997

I just took action on this issue and thought you might find it interesting too.

Click on this URL to take action now

Congressional Legislation
English Language Unity Act of 2007
Bill # H.R.997

Original Sponsor:
Steve King (R-IA 5th)

Cosponsor Total: 121
(last sponsor added 10/03/2008)
7 Democrats
114 Republicans

About This Legislation:

H.R. 997 would protect English as our common language by making English the official language of the United States.

ProEnglish supports this bill because it would:

  • Protect English by giving it an "official" status in law that it has never had before.
  • Repeal the "multilingual mandate," Executive Order 13166,which currently requires federal agencies and funds recipients, including state and local governments, to provide translations and interpreters for non-English speakers in their native language.
  • Reform U.S. naturalization requirements by directing the Department of Homeland Security to develop a standardized English exam that would be given to candidates for naturalization.
  • Enable taxpayers to sue the federal government to stop bureaucrats from violating the law.