iOS app Android app More

Bella The Dog Dies; Tarra The Elephant Mourns At Tennessee Sanctuary (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 11/04/11 02:23 PM ET Updated: 11/10/11 12:23 AM ET

Tragedy struck a pair of unlikely friends who had captured the hearts of caretakers and animal lovers.

Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog began their friendship at The Elephant Sanctuary In Tennessee about eight years ago, according to CBS. Last week, Bella was believed to have been attacked by coyotes and died, leaving Tarra to mourn the loss of her best friend.

Bella and Tarra played and ate together, and often had sleepovers in a barn, according to the Leavenworth Times.

Sanctuary caretakers believe Tarra found Bella's body after the attack and carried her to the spot they often spent time together.

"The idea that she couldn't leave that body and brought it back home is just heartbreaking, but so inspiring," Robert Atikinson, CEO of the Elephant Sanctuary, told Nashville's WKRN News 2.

Once, when Bella suffered a severe spinal cord injury, Tarra patiently waited for her friend's recovery. CBS detailed the moments in a 2010 story:

For three weeks the elephant held vigil: 2,700 acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner, beside a gate, right outside that sanctuary office...

Then one day, sanctuary co-founder Scott Blais carried Bella onto the balcony so she and Tarra could at least see each other.

"Bella's tail started wagging. And we had no choice but bring Bella down to see Tarra," Blais says.

Bella was first spotted at the sanctuary in the fall of 2003, and died on October 26, 2011. The Elephant Sanctuary set up a tribute page in honor of the deceased canine. Watch one of the videos below and check out the website for more. (Warning: The videos are tearjerkers.)

WATCH:



FOLLOW HUFFPOST GREEN