When I was quite young, I was bitten by a dog that I was trying to pet. Instead of crying or reacting with fear, I told my mother that it must've been abused by someone. For reasons I still can't explain, I just empathized with animals instantly. I still do. Animals teach me things about living in the moment and about being authentic.
Because I'm disappointed with humans' record as animal caretakers, I seek out assignments about animals so I can tell their stories. Recently I went to Tennessee, the unlikely home to 19 elephants who've been rescued from years of abuse or painful living conditions in circuses and zoos. Elephants need lots of space to be healthy and happy. They also need companionship, ideally with their own kind ... but sometimes they also enjoy friendship with other species.
Meet Tarra and Bella. Tarra is an Asian elephant the size of a UPS truck. Bella is a yellow mutt who was living as a stray on the land purchased for the elephant sanctuary. After the big pachyderms moved in, Bella started following Tarra from barn to field and back again. Soon the two became inseparable - even sleeping side by side every night. There's no mistaking the affection they have for each other, or the expression on Bella's face. That's why I love this picture. When you're open-minded, best friends can come in all shapes and sizes.