Monday, January 21, 2013

Modoc. The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer

Those Amazing Animals (Amazing Animals Week)

My daughter and her boyfriend just got a puppy, a mini Wiener dog, and I gotta say he’s the cutest little guy!  He’s so tiny and soft and calm. He’s just adorable with his long snout and those floppy ears.  Whenever she comes over I get to hold Waldo and cuddle with him, and I’m amazed how good he makes me feel. There’s something about the way pets look at us, trust us, and love us unconditionally that makes us open up our hearts to them.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always an animal person. I don’t like cleaning their poo. I don’t like them slobbering or jumping on me and leaving hair all over me.  I especially don’t like it when it’s not my dog.  So, when the kids were little and kept begging me for a dog, I kept telling them I was allergic to animals.  Funny how that was since I never sneezed or scratched once when I was around my sisters’ dogs.  The kids never caught on. Or if they did, it didn’t matter anyway.  We weren’t getting a dog. 

I don’t remember falling and cracking my head on a sidewalk or getting an electrical shock or anything, but one day I changed my mind.  I went to the animal shelter and came home with a dog, our beautiful Abby.  She was awesome. The kids were stunned.  So was my husband. They all loved her. They played with her.  My son, who was small at the time, loved to lounge in the grass with his head resting on her stomach and watch the clouds go by.  Abby was with us for many years and when she got sick, it broke our hearts.  Surprisingly enough, I think her passing affected me more than anyone.  I can’t believe that I’m crying just in writing this. That was many years ago.  I still have three photos of her on the fridge, one of the kids. (But they’re in other places around the house).

In the meantime, I’ve let another little furry friend into my heart.  My sister’s dog, Chunk and I’ve become quite the little buddies.  I didn’t have that connection with any of her other dogs, so who knows why Chunk and I bonded.  My sister raises her eyebrows and smirks every time he snuggles with me, and more astonishingly, when I let Chunk up on MY couch.  Wow. She says I’ve been “Chunk-amatized.” It’s true.  Sometimes against our own will, we give those amazing animals a piece of our hearts.

Modoc. The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer is that kind of love on a grander scale, an elephant-sized scale. Modoc is an elephant who was born into a German circus family.  The story seems almost too fantastic to be true.  Both Modoc and Bram, the elephant trainer’s son, are born on the same day.  They grow up together until tragically the circus is sold to a man who decides to uproot the whole show and take it across the world.  Bram is heartbroken. He can’t leave his friend and decides to stow away on the ship. Off the coast of India, a giant storm sinks the ship with animals and people struggling to grab onto something for dear life.  Incredibly, with over dozens of people clinging on to him, Modoc valiantly swims for days until they are rescued. Modoc and Bram form a life in India.  After many years they eventually go to America where Modoc becomes a star. At one point there’s a fire and Modoc barely makes it.  I’m not sure how much of the book was exaggerated for the audience, but it is a captivating read. I got lost in their adventures and the heartwarming bond that kept them together.  My niece recommended this book to me and I’m glad I read it. Animal lover or not, it’s a book worth checking out.

Also check out this video about a friendship between an elephant and dog. It's very sweet.

Happy reading!


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  1. Modoc is an AMAZING BOOK!!! A definate page turner, worth every page! Thank you for recommending this book to me. AWSOME!!

  2. your blog sure made me smile. Waldo and Chunk know a softy when they spot one !