“Every living thing in nature re-sponds to kindness,” says Amer-ican cowboy and real-life Marlboro Man Bob Norris. For Norris, this kindness extended not only to horses, dogs, and even a bear, but also to an orphaned baby African elephant who was brought to the United States after her entire family was killed by hunters.
What started as a request from an elephant importer to temporarily board six baby elephants in Norris’s horse stall turned into a unique and unforgettable friendship. After five of the elephants were sold, Norris worried about the plight of Amy, the less assertive runt of the bunch and the only elephant remaining on his cattle ranch near Colorado Springs. He had recognized her vulnerability from the start and now wondered who would protect her in her uncertain future. His compassion and empathy for the sick, abandoned elephant grew as he continued to observe her.
“No creature Amy’s age should have to live with such dark, horrible memories, and nothing happy to replace them with,” Norris told his wife Jane. And so he bought Amy himself and nursed her back to health and happiness. Thus began their magical bond, one that would last well beyond the time they were able to spend together.
Whether he was showering her with entertaining toys like oversized harmonicas and rubber balls from Toys “R” Us or building her a man-made wallow, it seemed there was nothing the smitten cowboy wouldn’t do for his pachyderm pal. While Norris is left with once-in-life time memories of his dear friend Amy, Malcolm MacPherson’s moving account of this relationship between man and beast leaves the reader with an indelible impression of the power of love. “She meant more to me than I can ever say,” says Norris.
Malcolm MacPherson / Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Press)
For more information on animal welfare and pet tips check out Premier Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Rescue Advocate Wendy Diamond at www.wendydiamond.com and www.animalfair.com.