The Cowboy and His Elephant: The Story of a Remarkable Friendship
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In the late 1980s, a female baby elephant was born on the plains of Southern Africa. In a "cull," her family was slaughtered. Only the newborn female's life was spared. Terrified and bewildered the young elephant was transported to America to be sold.
Bob Norris is a cowboy with an enormous empathy for animals. Handsome as a movie star, he was the Marlboro Man, with his face appearing on billboards around the world. But something was missing. When the hurt, vulnerable little elephant, Amy, came into his life, an incredible bond between the most unlikely of friends was forged.
Bob adopted Amy and through close observation, gentle training, humor, and endless perseverance, this accomplished horseman gradually coaxed Amy into overcoming her mistrust of humans, and her fear of the world. Amy became a beloved member of the Norris family, and partner to the ranch hands, but Bob knew from the start that the ultimate goal was for Amy to regain her confidence and her independence - even, if it were possible, to go back to the savannahs of Africa.
Amy may have left the cowboy's life, but she never left his heart. The Cowboy and His Elephant is a story of mutual friendship, of genuine love and compassion, and foremost, this is an American story with roots that run deep in the values and traditions of the American West.
The Lone Ranger. The radio dramas were much more than entertainments. Bob was listening to the adventures of other men and boys living lives that he wanted to lead. He wanted to be a cowboy. Around campfires later, Bob would talk about that point at which the fantasy of the cowboy meets the reality. The virtue of self-sufficiency was at its core. “I don’t want to sound corny, but,” was how Bob started out. He was serious, continuing, “As a cowboy you have to rely on yourself. You get in
on her crate.” As a rancher and horseman, Bob believed that “no better word was ever spoken of a man than that he was careful of his horses.” He added goats to that list, and dogs, cats, and cows, “any damn thing except rattlers and ostriches,” he liked to say. Now he included one baby elephant on this list as well. On a day when the sun was warmer than usual and the sky was bright he paused a moment to watch as Jackson chased Amy around in her paddock. She was terrified, Bob guessed, because
replied without hesitation, “Let me answer you this way: You don’t.” Bob laughed nervously. “That’s helpful.” “You have to make a decision about her. She’s too big for you to handle, and she’s getting bigger every day. Right?” “Right,” said Bob. “And you want her to go somewhere that’s as good as your place.” “Exactly,” said Bob. “You want to entrust her to the very best. You want to know the people who will care for her.” “That’s right, if I can,” said Bob. “I’m not going to let her go to
one was Buckles. Tall, dark, and brooding, he wore colored silk turbans and military jackets, with brass buttons and gold-fringed epaulets. She was small and seemed as light as air in her gossamer veils, sequined pants, and halter. They started their married life in 1959 with a “fleabag outfit” that called itself the Tom Mix Circus. The owner’s wife was nicknamed “Catfish” Claire, and his mother was called “Mud.” He changed its name to Bernum[sic] Brothers and put up pictures of P. T. Barnum,
discipline; Durga, a submissive and docile younger female with cherubic features and long eyelashes, just wanted to get along. Moore studied their traits and saw a reasonable reflection of himself. As African elephants they were a misunderstood species. He felt the same about himself. The African elephants had a reputation for being unmanageable. Moore’s parents thought of him that way and had told him so. The elephants were stubborn; Moore’s teachers had chosen to use the word “intractable” to