Arthur and I travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, from Toronto, Canada, in December 2012 and visited the Patara Elephant Farm to become elephant owners for the day. Unlike other elephant parks in Chiang Mai, the staff and owners at Patara focus solely on the healthcare and the breeding management for these endangered species and aid the recovery process for elephants injured by mine bombs - tourists come second.
When we arrived, we really had to work hard and learn what it meant to take care of these amazing creatures. This included feeding the elephants their daily meals, inspecting and squeezing out the water from fresh stool, bathing, scrubbing and washing the elephants in the river, and finally exercising the elephants in the jungle.
It was at the end of our day which we had the unique opportunity to play with a two month old female calf named Tara. As soon as she heard Arthur calling her, she ran over and cuddled with him non-stop. It was an adorable and unforgettable experience.
If you ever visit Chiang Mai, take the time to support Patara Elephant Farm and their cause - you will not regret it!