The sadness of animal humane society girls is all too familiar.
In the spring of 2012, I was living in a tiny apartment with my husband and daughter in the small town of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on the island of Java.
We were fortunate enough to live near a very close animal shelter, and in a very short time I learned how much this group cared for the animals that lived in their care.
We went on a weekly walk, and one evening, I walked past the cage that housed a female elephant named Amor.
Amor was just beginning her fifth year of life when we first met her, and she had a big smile on her face.
She was just starting to mature, and as we walked her along the road, I felt like she was just a little bit more at ease with the world around her, even though she was very much not.
She seemed to be so relaxed and happy.
She would smile, wave, and wave at people who passed by, and at the very end of our walk she would give me a big hug and smile.
I just smiled back and kept walking.
I knew then that she would be one of the happiest animals in the world.
As she grew older, she grew more withdrawn, and her eyes grew wide and her ears started to droop, as if she was being taken for a ride.
After several weeks of watching Amor slowly fade away from my sight, I decided to try and get her to live her final days in a cage.
One day, when I was trying to feed her, she would get up and start crying and say, “I want to live in a human cage!”
It was a very touching moment, but I knew she wasn’t ready to die yet.
I decided I would give her some time to get used to the idea of being a human being, and I asked her what kind of cage I would like to put her in.
She looked at me with an incredulous look on her beautiful face and said, “The cage that will protect her.”
I said, Thank you so much for saving my life, Amor!
I wanted to make her feel so good about this.
But I quickly realized that she had not realized just how important it was to her that she live a life of comfort, security, and love.
After a few days, she finally relented, and we set up a cage in the backyard of our house.
She came home one day and sat down on the floor, and said with a big happy smile, “Mom, I love you so so much.
I love your cooking and cleaning and taking care of my dad.”
Then she looked at my feet and said in a deep voice, “Please, Mom, let me play outside!”
I quickly went to the bathroom and came back with a towel and put it on her feet and walked outside, just as she asked me.
When I walked up to her, I said to her with a warm smile, Thank You so much!
She just stood there for a moment, stunned and then just sat there, staring at me and I looked up at her with this big smile.
She still did not understand what I was saying.
I looked down at her and said again, Thank God for you, Amori!
I quickly put the towel back on her and walked back inside.
She just sat down again, still staring at my face.
When we were home, I looked at Amori and asked her, “Amor, do you want to stay in a new cage?”
She looked back at me, and then said, Oh, please.
I could just see tears welling up in her eyes, and so I asked, “Do you want us to put Amori in a separate cage with you?”
She didn’t understand, so I continued, “No, Mom.
I don’t want to put a human in a different cage with her.
We have to keep her safe, just like any other animal in the group.”
Then, I got up and walked towards the cage, but Amori was so far away that I couldn’t even see her.
I told her to come outside, and when she opened her eyes I saw Amori staring at her, so she followed me.
As soon as she came outside, Amora jumped up and ran towards me.
She ran up and hugged me, holding my arms tight.
I said quietly to her mother, “What’s wrong?”
She said, Mommy, don’t worry.
She wanted to know what was going on, so when I told Amora to stay with me, she didn’t resist.
She didn, in fact, go inside and hide in her cage until I went back inside and let her out.
As Amora ran out the door, Amors mother came out of her house and started walking towards Amor, but then I realized she was actually just waiting for