Cesar includes Maya in the daily pack walkBy April Foley
Cesar’s Dog Psychology Center pack isn’t limited to dogs. Regular readers know that he’s also got goats, ducks, a turtle, horse Conquistador, and llama Lorenzo. But the DPC pack has now gained a new member.
When Cesar visited Santa Rosa, California, for his most recent live show, he and Junior both came back with honors from Bergin University, but that’s not all they came back with. Hearing about the imminent closure of the Santa Broma Zoo in nearby Los Chistes, Cesar quickly made a side trip, and had soon made arrangements to adopt 37 year-old female Indian elephant Maya.
Always privately funded by donations and admissions, the zoo had fallen on hard times. Unable to raise the $5 million necessary to avoid a shortfall, it closed its doors at the end of last summer, and has been selling or donating the remaining animals since then.
Maya had proved difficult to place because she is no longer able to breed. “Only three mammals experience menopause,” explained zoo curator Tsuki Okashi. “Humans, humpback whales, and elephants. Normally, this doesn’t happen to elephants until around fifty, and they can live into their seventies. Sadly, for Maya, she has what is called premature menopause.”
Because many zoos only adopt female elephants for breeding purposes, nobody wanted Maya — until Cesar heard her story, and realized that she would be perfect for the DPC.
“We do a lot of herding training,” Cesar explained by phone before leaving Santa Rosa. “But we also are seeing a lot more very large dogs at the DPC. Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes… They’re twice as big as the goats, or the sheep that we bring in. An elephant, though, will prove a real challenge, and help to give these very large dogs jobs.”
An elephant may seem to be way out of a dog behaviorist’s league, so we asked Cesar whether he sees any big differences between working with dogs and working with elephants.
“That’s the wonderful thing,” he replied. “Dogs, elephants, goats, ducks — they all act from instinct and live in the moment. You just have to understand what motivates them, but the energy and the communication are all the same. I knew from the moment I met Maya that all she needs are rules, boundaries, and limitations. She has a lot of extra energy from being penned up for so long, so once I get her back to the DPC, I’m going to take her on a long walk with the pack.”
Okashi agrees. “I was dubious when Cesar said he wouldn’t have any problem working with an elephant, but two seconds after he walked into her pen, boom. Maya had been restless, trotting around aimlessly, smashing her feeding bowl against the bars. Cesar walked in and gave her this look, and she just settled down. He even got her to sit quietly without saying a word. It was the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen.”
Ultimately, Maya will become a major asset for the DPC. In order to give her a proper job, she will be assisting in clearing land for expansion, and transporting building materials around the site. She will also be taking part in the Training Cesar’s Way classes.
“Maya will be an excellent graduation exercise,” Cesar told us. “Once I’m able to get people to walk an entire pack of dogs, they’ll get their turn at the end of her leash. Believe me, handling an elephant takes a lot more calm and assertive energy than handling a dog. They are extremely intelligent, and if you’re not in take-charge mode, they know it.”
With horses, llamas and, now, elephants, it seems that the DPC is becoming somewhat of a zoo on its own. We asked Cesar what his plans are for other exotic additions. “I can never predict that,” he said, “And I don’t want to. Although my son, Calvin, is very interested in adopting a honey badger. Apparently, they’re very popular on the internet.”
Maya the Elephant is scheduled to take up permanent residence at the DPC on the 31st of this month.
Read more: http://www.cesarsway.com/dogrescue/r...#ixzz2PEkA0wLZ
Read more: http://www.cesarsway.com/dogrescue/r...#ixzz2PEk1EhBG