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The Elephant

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CBS recently did a wonderful story about an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. Elephants, being social creatures, usually pair-up and spend all of their time with their new friend.

Except, that is, for one elephant named Tara, who has found a friend in one of the dogs that lives there. The elephant and the dog are inseparable and are always side by side. They do everything together; eat, sleep, play, and drink.

The founders of the sanctuary observed this behavior and knew they were close, but didn’t really understand the depth of their friendship until the dog suffered an injury and had to recover in the sanctuary office for three weeks.

Tara held vigil. For the entire three weeks.

She had 2700 acres to roam, but chose to spend her time pressed against the fence closest to where her friend was recovering. It is one of the sweetest, most touching stories I’ve ever heard.

I told my wife, the consummate animal lover, and she watched the video on YouTube. Then she told some of her friends about it. The first reaction from one of them was this: “That elephant is sure going to be sad when the dog dies.”

So much good, so much love, so many wonderful feelings related to this story and this person chose to see the dark side.

It occurred to me that this is a perfect example of how we each choose our own attitude about a given situation. We can look for the good or we can look for the bad.

When we are suffering from a serious illness, or are caregiver to someone who is, it is important we keep the most positive attitude possible. Focusing on the negative makes our situation seem worse than it really is, causing tremendous unnecessary stress. There are enough real things to be stressed about; why manufacture something to that doesn’t have to be there?

This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike. For more thoughts on caregiving, coping strategies, reducing stress, and just plain fun subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.CaringAndCoping.com Need a speaker for an upcoming event? I have a program that will knock your socks off! www.ThePPP.org/speaking#handle

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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