Elephant’s best friend: Chiang Mai dog acts as jumbo’s 2nd mahout

Canine mahout Heg Cup and his ride Valentine enjoy their time together.

Most dogs bark when they see an elephant. But a young canine in Chiang Mai has become one pachyderm’s second mahout.

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Heg Cup, a 3-year-old black mutt, was raised alongside Valentine, a 9-year-old bull at the Tiem Jan Elephant Camp in Mae Rim District and has no fear of the jumbo. In fact, he often rides Valentine just like its human mahout, Mongkol Kananok.

Why walk when you can ride?

Mongkol, 26, said dog and elephant are best friends and go everywhere together. When he takes tourists on rides, Heg Cup goes along. A dog riding a jumbo always amazes tourists, he said.

The camp reopened this month after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, so both Valentine, born on Feb. 14, and Heg Cup will be waiting to greet visitors.

The two friends stay together 24-hours a day ever since Heg Cup was a puppy.

The unusual best friends have become quite a popular attraction at the Tiem Jan Elephant Camp on the old Mae Rim – Samoeng Road, in Rim Tai, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.