Dog and elephant are best buddies

Dogs may be known as man’s best friend, but one unlikely pair is proving a dog’s best friend is probably not man at all, but a mammal with much larger ears, rougher skin, and a long trunk.

Bubbles, the elephant, was left motherless by a group of poachers; Bella was abandoned by her owner. (Photo credit: Barry Bland)

Black Labrador Retriever Bella was abandoned at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Safari by her owner, a contractor hired to construct a pool at the wildlife park back in 2007.

But Bella didn’t have to wait long before finding a new friend — and she found one in the park’s star elephant, Bubbles. Together, the pair play catch and keep-away in Bubbles’ pool, Bella climbing up on Bubbles’ back, and Bubbles splashing her loyal Lab friend with water from her trunk.

The unlikely duo’s antics have become one of the park’s biggest draws, with visitors lining up to get a glimpse of Bella and Bubbles in action.

“They just love to romp around together,” explains wildlife park director Bhagavan Antle.

Antle was the one responsible for rescuing Bubbles many years ago after tragedy left the baby elephant orphaned. Bubbles was brought to the T.I.G.E.R.S. Myrtle Beach Safari park in 1983 after her family was murdered by ivory-hunting poachers in Africa.

Baby Bubbles, at 340 pounds and 42 inches tall, was the lone survivor of the massacre. The elephant, along with a handful of other orphaned animals, was brought to a facility by rescuers who hoped a U.S. conservation group might take them in and give them a new chance at life across the Atlantic.

Antle, one of the specialists called in to evaluate the orphaned animals, says meeting Bubbles was “love at first sight.” The park director decided on the spot to adopt the little elephant and has cared for her ever since.

Now 32-years-old, 9 feet tall, and weighing nearly 4 tons, gentle giant Bubbles has become a veritable animal celebrity, appearing in the popular 1995 Jim Carrey film Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and even a Janet Jackson music video. But when she’s not busy with her show business career, Bubbles loves nothing more than to hang out with Bella at the safari park and dazzle the visiting crowds.

“I think Bubbles believes she’s an incredible superior creature that rules the kingdom she lives in,” one park employee tells MSN.com. “I think Bella is just a happy-go-lucky dog.”

For updates on Bubbles and her canine companion Bella, check out Bubbles’ Facebook page.

Sources: MSN.com, Daily Mail