It is with heavy heart that I bring this news. One of my favorite muses, the story of Bella and Tarra, has come to a tragic end.
A little over a year ago I was searching high and low for inspiration for The Peace Project hosted by The Whole 9 Art Gallery in LA. I had no desire to depict something traditional or ordinary, and then I found Bella and Tarra - The Animal Odd Couple. Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog, had somehow found each other. Despite all of their differences, they became the best of friends. So much so, that when Bella become sick, Tarra held vigil outside of the clinic waiting for her return.
About a week or so ago, the staff at the Elephant Sanctuary noticed they hadn't seen Bella for a while, and Tarra had been acting strangely. After further inspection they tragically found Bella's body, most likely attacked by coyotes.
After studying these two extensively for my illustration, and checking in on them every so often on the Elephant Sanctuary's Elecam... my heart is heavy to know that Bella will be no more.
The most amazing part of the story is that they did not find Bella where she actually died. Tarra is thought to have lifted her little body and carried her away from the site, trying to care for her friend one last time. I can only hope that Bella passed on curled up in the trunk of her best friend.
It seems that the other elephants at the sanctuary are standing by Tarra and helping her with her grief. They are sharing their meals with her and keeping her company. These creatures are so amazing, to think that they are anything less than loving, feeling creatures with relationships similar to our own, would be wrong.
For more information, the news program who originally brought Tarra and Bella to us, ran a beautiful segment - Elephant Loses Man's Best Friend. You can also read the amazing letter written by the CEO of the Elephant Sanctuary and see the Bella Tribute on the Sanctuary's Website.
I know that even though Bella is no longer with us, her relationship with Tarra and their message of Peace will live on.