So (and I absolutely swear I am not exaggerating one bit) this little girl says that a few years ago the zoo had an elephant who “wouldn’t eat.”
They went back a few months later and she remembered to ask about the elephant…she was told they had to “put him down” because he got so sick.
So they have another elephant. She says “I rode on the elephant, I sat in the front and I tried to pet him but I couldn’t reach from the seat.” She goes on to tell me this elephant was “fine” and “not sick at all” but they went back once again a few months later and that elephant had died too.
She is very interested in the animals, she shows me she has pictures of a pig with her babies on her phone.
She is sad about the elephant and states “she wasn’t very old either…?”
I stand there almost sick. I feel like that was me. We didn’t have phones of course when I was growing up, but I have always felt protective and loving towards animals. I am sad for her. I say something like, “Yes, I know they do not do very well in captivity”…
I wish someone had *saved* me back then…
There is a local sanctuary for farm animals – ironically in the same town as said zoo. I vaguely say “I have never been there [that zoo], but I have been to the farm sanctuary that is in the same town.”
He asks me about it.
She loves animals and he is interested. I give him the name.
I hope someday she understands who she is inside and rejects the societal conditioning that deadens our hearts to causing these wonderful animals to suffer so much for our claims of “love” for them.