Liam's Lily:Heroes for Hire, Book 14(7)

By: Dale Mayer

Liam was stunned. He’d heard about places like this, but he had never thought to be in one. “Do you think whoever is doing this actively hates that you’re helping elephants? Or do you think it’s a personal affront against you or perhaps your father?”

The other three looked at him in surprise. Daniel was most stunned. “Well, that’s a horrible suggestion.”

Liam gave him a bland look. “If somebody’s doing something to destroy the name of the sanctuary, the end result is the animals will suffer. So you have to consider that maybe it’s done for that reason alone. The other option is that it’s done to ruin the good name of the people involved.”

Lilianna took a few steps until she was out of the pen. She motioned at Daniel. “Are you done here? Or will you stay with Billie a little longer to ensure she’s all right?”

“I’ll clean up here for a bit,” he said. “I’ll keep looking for more glass, check on Billie.”

Lilianna led the way back through the stalls. “I can’t imagine any reason why somebody would do this, but then I don’t understand that mind-set anyway,” she said quietly.

“Right,” Liam said. “So we have to consider all options.” He stopped and looked around the barn. “How often do you get a new elephant in?”

“Not very often. The logistics to bring them here are a nightmare.”

“I remember hearing something in the news about trucking three elephants down from Canada. The cost was like a half-million dollars, although I believe those three went to California.”

“I know. It shouldn’t be that expensive. But, by the time you add in the trucking fees, the couple dozen men required and all the transportation costs, it comes to something like that. I believe that was for two elephants though.”

Liam shook his head. “And all the money was donated in that case?”

“Yes. Gunner donated to the cause. A television personality put the charity event together to make it happen. They get a little more publicity because they’re a little more well-known, but still any organization who needs donations to keep functioning has to continually publicize. That’s why we do the schools. But some of the animals don’t do all that well with people. Even though two of ours were circus animals, it’s like, once they managed to get away from people, they didn’t really want anything to do with humans again.”

“And Billie?”

She chuckled. “Billie? …Well, she’s a people person. It’s not that she loves to perform, but she’s like a big puppy dog. She loves attention.”

“So you let people touch her, things like that?” North asked.

She nodded. “Absolutely. Mandy is here too, and she’s very similar. She and Billie are best friends.”

“Is it true they remember each other if they haven’t seen each other in a long time?”

“Mandy and Billie were from the same herd out of Africa, and, when they saw each other again for the first time here, they recognized each other immediately and were inseparable. The first thing they did when they got close enough was wrap their trunks around each other. We had to separate them in order to get them out of the transport. Once they were outside, they wrapped their trunks around each other and just stood together. Honestly it was incredibly heartwarming and brought tears to my eyes.”

“And where would Mandy be now?”

Lilianna pointed toward the yard, the other side of the door Billie had walked out of. “She’ll be out there.”

“How much space do they have access to here?”

“A lot,” she admitted. “Almost two thousand acres. And they do travel at various times. But they always like to come back home again. The other three stay together a little farther away from the barn. They come back on a regular basis. We check them over, make sure we can still handle them, but, unlike Mandy and Billie, they’re enjoying retirement. And, of course, that means something different to everyone. In their case, they just want time out in Mother Nature without any interference.”

“It’s an amazing concept you have here,” North said. “Do you have other animals?”

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