What a great story!
When our son was little, he adored elephants. His favorite late afternoon activity was watching the elephants get washed and fed before the enclosure at the zoo was closed for the night.
He would sit in his stroller, eating his PB&J sandwich, mesmerized by the huge, intelligent animals in front of him.
We went so often that not only did the handlers know him well, so did each of the elephants, and they would reach out to greet him with their trunks. He was eventually invited “backstage” where they could interact with him outside of their viewing pen.
I remember Shannon and I talking late into the night, wondering how to tell him (he was about 3 or 4 at the time) that his favorite African elephant, Vicki, the matriarch of the group, had died. It was a very sad day at our house. In fact, sadness lurked for a few weeks.