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A Story of Hope

By Bella G.

A Story of Hope



This book is dedicated to Lily and Nikhita.



       Friendships. The most beautiful thing. They save lives, they save heartbreaks, and they keep spirits alive. This is a story about Themba, the elephant, Albert, the sheep, and Melvin, the giraffe becoming friends forever. All because of a loss, an injury, and an amazing sheep. They stay together through thick and thin and love each other like family.




   Themba in an extraordinary elephant. He was born in 2008 in Africa and was a typical, happy elephant. He had a troop and a mother to protect him. For elephants, remaining with their mothers until they are at least two years old is important in their lives. But what if they don’t have their mothers for enough time?

    Sadly, when Themba was only six months old, his mother tumbled off a cliff, leaving Themba stranded and alone. Elephants are strong and defensive animals, but not when they are as young as Themba. He had nowhere to go, nothing to eat, and no mother to protect him. He was in danger. He was an orphan.

Themba as a young elephant.


    Soon, the Shamwari Game Reserve heard about Themba and was determined to save him. They looked everywhere to try to find a new mother to protect him but no elephant would take him in. “He’s still horribly depressed,” the workers said. He needed care but he wouldn’t drink his formula. The reserve needed to find a way to save him.

    The formula was very important for Themba because it is hard to find a good elephant milk substitute and now Themba’s mother couldn’t nurse him. The workers at the reserve continued to take care of him while others hunted for something to do about him. There was no sign of any problems with Themba, but soon there would be if Themba didn’t start drinking his formula. Themba had no idea what was happening. The workers kept searching and eventually came to their last resort, a friend.


    Here comes Albert the sheep scampering down the “runway.” At first, Themba chased Albert in an attempt to jump on top of him, but within 24 hours, they were best friends. Themba started to drink his formula and was much happier with his wooly playmate. They played together, they ate together, and they even slept together. They were really the best of friends.


Themba and Albert when they first became friends.


    Although everything seemed like it was going well, Albert soon got sick and it caused Themba more depression. Albert was sick for a very long time. Themba was all alone. But soon, Albert came back as good as new. He was no longer sick and he was now with his best friend again. Themba was happy and so was Albert.


    Iwas a normal day when Albert and Themba heard a little click clack moving towards them. It was Melvin, the giraffe. He had been injured and had been taken to the reserve. He was new to Albert and Themba, but they hit it off right away. They were now a trio.


Themba, Albert, and Melvin when they first started playing together.

    Melvin, Themba, and Albert were now all best friends, but everything was ruined when Themba got horribly sick. He could barely walk and couldn’t play with Melvin or Albert. The reserve called a vet and they diagnosed Themba with a twisted intestine. He was in a life-threatening situation. He could die!

Themba and Albert snuggling.

    Themba died on February 5, 2010. Albert and Melvin have been lonely and saddened ever since. Melvin continues to recover and Albert continues to help hurt, depressed, and orphaned animals. Albert is really a hero when it comes to friendships. They were all very special animals.


    This is the incredible story of Baloo, the bear, Leo, the lion, and Shere Khan, the tiger. They have been best friends since they were two months old and are still friends now. They are very unusual friends, and in the wild, these animals would tear each other apart. They are the finest of friends.


Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan playing with a ball.

    Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan have been friends ever since they were two months old. They have always been together. They love each other like brothers. When they first met they were just small cubs but they knew they would always be friends. They were definitely right.



    In 2001, the three were discovered in a basement of an insane drug dealer. He had abused them and used them just to show off how rich he was. He didn’t feed them and he didn’t take care of them. It is already a miracle that they endured this harsh treatment. They are a miracle themselves.



    After they were discovered they were taken to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. There, they were treated and cared for. One worker said, “We need to separate them. They would destroy each other in the wild!” But they wouldn’t leave each other’s sides. They were best friends and no one could change that. They love one another.


    Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan had three acres of land to roam on, yet they always stayed within 100 feet of each other. They had a unique home to play  and live together in. When all of them had had their surgeries (explained later on) to remove their problems from the terrible treatment, they became even more playful. They were all terribly injured when they were found but they were able to be saved. They all ended up being fine.


Leo, Baloo, and Shere Khan playing in their clubhouse

Baloo, the Bear



    Baloo was in the worst condition of all of the three. He had been forced to wear a harness that the drug dealer never bothered to adjust as Baloo grew in size. The harness was so tight when he was found that it had grown into his skin. It had to be surgically removed. He needed a miracle to survive, and he did.


Leo, the Lion



    Leo arrived at the animal sanctuary with an open, infected wound on the tip of his nose. It had happened because he was forced into a crate that was way too small for him. He also needed to get surgery. He was okay afterwards and was given a much bigger crate. He was an extraordinary animal.

    Leo also had no mane. This had happened because he was neutered at a young age. He would never grow one. It doesn’t affect his life though. He is special because of his lack of a mane.


Shere Khan, the Tiger



    Shere Khan is the most mischievous of the bunch. He would sometimes headbutt the others and had a tricky part to him. He had been found underweight. He was hungry and in bad shape. He was also able to have surgery and was given food so that he wouldn’t die.


    Friendship is important, as Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo show. They stay together and take care of eachother. Friends always support each other. Baloo was hurt and so were the others, but they had hope and they all survived. 


When friends stick together, there’s nothing you can’t do. Friends are just as important as family.

    Soon after, Leo got sick. Baloo and Shere Khan knew he was sick even before he had symptoms. Cancer was found inside of his liver. 80% of his liver was filled with cancer. He died in August 2016. He is buried inside of the animal’s club house.


Leo, the lion's funeral.

    Shere Khan and Baloo are still best friends. They are still always together. They are still two wolves in a pack. They lost their friend but they were able to get over it. They will never forget Leo.


Fun Facts



    None of these animals would naturally get along in the wild. Bears, lions, and tigers would tear each other apart. These animals are all miracles in their own special way.



    These implausible friendships are amazing. They both have lessons to teach. They show that being different is good, especially when it comes to friendships.  Don’t ever judge a book by its cover.


    Sheep, elephants, giraffes, bears, lions, and tigers are all special in their own way. They all have their own unique traits and they deserve respect. Animals aren’t just living, they have feelings just like us. We need to treat them right.


About the Author



    My name is Bella G.. I am 11 years old and I am in 6th grade. Some of my hobbies are singing, dancing, acting, modeling, playing with fashion, cheerleading, and gymnastics. Some of my friends are Talia, Molly, Lily, Nikhita, Andrew, Cristiana, and Abby. I have loved writing ever since kindergarten. I write all the time but this was my first time writing a non-fiction book. When I first started research about this topic, I was not very excited about it, but now I realize that writing non-fiction is so much fun.