When Jenny Met Shirley

Jenny and Shirley first met each other in 1976 at the Carson and Barnes Circus winter quarters in Oklahoma. Jenny was a youngster, newly imported from Asia. Shirley was recovering from a broken leg she sustained from an elephant attack many months prior.

Circuses are known to keep elephants chained side-by-side according to size, largest to smallest. Since Shirley was unstable, having only three good legs, she was chained at the far end of the picket line away from the big elephants and right next to Jenny.

Their time together was short-lived, only a couple of months. In early spring of 1977, Jenny was sent out on the road to perform with the circus and Shirley was sold to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe, LA.

Twenty-three years passed. The next time they saw each other was when Jenny stepped inside her barn at The Elephant Sanctuary on July 6, 1999.

2 Responses to “When Jenny Met Shirley”

  1. spinoregon says:

    Thank you, Carol. The information about Shirley and Jenny has made me think, a lot. Although I was so touched by the story of their reunion, I felt such sadness for how they must have grieved when they were separated. The grace and dignity of these amazing souls continually humbles me.

  2. anabelas says:

    They must have been moments where comforted one another, leaned on sadness and isolation as it is for these captive beings accustomed to freedom and longed for their families left behind. How interesting would have been filming the interaction between them both at this time so short but that changed their lives so deeply.
    Anabela Silva