September 5, 2010

Get a box of tissues before reading this:)

Katherine from BLES wrote:
Pang Dow is finally home!

I am so thrilled to announce the safe arrival of our newest rescue at BLES — Pang Dow Naam Chok — Miss Lucky Star.

When we arrived to pick her up, Pang Dow was bleeding from her ears and had several stab wounds across her forehead. She was nervous and moving around quickly. She stopped briefly to gobble up the bananas we had bought for her, but her unfeeling mahout rapidly lost his patience and started shouting at her to move. I was relieved to see the mahout wasn’t drunk. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the owner.

In the few minutes Pang Dow and I stood face to face, she looked straight at me. Then, she leaned into me as close as she could and rumbled. I understood and  pressed my head against hers and whispered to her, “Don’t you worry my Sweet. You are coming with us. The abuse ends today”.

Pang Dow walked onto the truck fairly calmly. The whole time I was silently talking to her, reminding her that she was going to a good place where she would make friends and be treated with the respect she deserved.  For a while, I’m sure she could hear me and was listening. But then the loud and violent outbursts from her mahout drowned out my whispers and Pang Dow got stressed and extremely agitated. She began to attack my mahouts and started to ram the front of the truck. She leaned on one side and tried to tip the entire truck over. Pang Dow then started to bite the ropes she had been secured with and was doing everything she could to break free. I put my hand through the slats of the truck and tried to reach her. She stopped and squeezed my fingers and seemed to pacify, so we tried to move the truck again. We got a few meters down the road and Pang Dow started lashing out again. Her old mahout climbed on top of her and started whacking and stabbing her. I  was in the car behind the truck transporting Pang Dow and I lost it. I rolled down my window and climbed out, standing on top of the car and screamed with all my heart for the mahout to get off OUR elephant and stop beating her. Everyone looked round at me and was clearly shocked by my outburst. Did I care? Not really. The mahout got off Pang Dow, climbed out of the truck, got on a friend’s motor bike and sped off. That was the last we saw of him.
As soon as he left, Pang Dow calmed down. We were able to drive about 10 km, but then she started attacking the truck again. It was the most heartbreaking situation to be in. I knew how much Pang Dow hated being in the truck, but we had to get her out of there. Because of her disability, walking her back to the Sanctuary was not an option. I tried to reach out to her again, but fear had taken hold of her.
I started wondering about all the horrid journeys she must have been on and the abuse she must have suffered to make her behave like this. I wondered if the movement of the truck was affecting her balance and therefore adding to her stress. I was racking my brains, trying to think of anything we could do to make this easier for her, but really the only option was to keep moving towards BLES.
It felt like we were making fairly good progress as the sun set. We had been driving for three hours and Pang Dow was ok. But, then she lifted her head up and pushed down on the side of the truck, smashing the wood and making it extremely unsafe to travel onwards. We pulled over and Pang Dow continued to twist and head-butt the truck. She was using her body weight to roll it forwards. It felt impossible. It was dark and we were in the middle of nowhere. We searched for some kind of ramp so that we could back the truck up and unload her, but there was nothing. I called the vet, who listened sympathetically, but replied, “It is late and it is Friday night. It will be hard to find a vet who will travel out to where you are”.
I made a number of frantic calls and finally got through to another vet who agreed to help. We sat and waited for what felt like the longest five hours ever and then he arrived. He sedated Pang Dow, but because it was pitch black and she was in the back of the truck, he was unable to examine the extent of her injuries. When we were sure Pang Dow was ok, we began creeping along our way again. We had been on the road for 25 hours and it was a further 8 hours until we were back at BLES.
Walking Pang Dow off that truck and removing her chain was such a celebration. Pang Dow was completely bewildered and understandably exhausted. She had a few bananas and then started to wander around and explore her new home. We walked together and as we did, it hit me. We had done it. Pang Dow was safe. The lack of sleep, the drama and stress, and the intense sense of relief rushed over me and I began to cry. Pang Dow watched me and rumbled a long, deep purr. I felt like she was saying, “You silly thing. If anyone should be crying around here, it’s me!” She pinched my hand and we stood looking at each other. She rumbled again and as a tear rolled down her blood-stained cheek, I knew she was thanking us.
It is on her behalf that I thank you. Every rescue is dramatic and full of chaos and I always think that is the worst it can possibly get. Pang Dow’s rescue was without a doubt the hardest and I don’t mind sharing with you that there were a few times when I couldn’t see a way out.
But, we did it my friends — WE DID IT! You have saved this broken elephant’s life and I want each and every one of you to know that the part you played in her rescue will never ever be forgotten. Pang Dow is here and we couldn’t have done without you.
Thank you for all you do for the elephants,
Katherine xx"


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I have read this post twice and cried both times. I am so very thankful that the rescue went as well as it could! I'm also so thankful that there are people far away from where I am in Virginia who are truly making a difference for elephants like Pang Dow!! What an amazing story and what amazing people!! THANK YOU somehow doesn't seem like enough to say!!

Sharon said...

It's so sad that she had such a traumatic ride to BLES, but she didn't know what was in store for her.

Heather said...

Poor baby. I am sure she is already choosing to forget the tough life of her past and make some new fantastic memories in her loving new home.

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