This orphaned elk just wants to be friends -- with everyone, it seems.
The elk, known around as the area as Buttons -- but actually has many more names depending on who you ask -- made it a point to snuggle and say hi to every firefighter from Kittitas County Fire District No. 7 in Washington State as they battled a hillside fire on July 2.
“She made her presence known, that’s for sure. She isn’t your typical wild elk,” Kittitas County Fire District spokeswoman Richelle Risdon told ABC News.
“What I’ve been told from the neighbors, she’s been coming around since she was little, since the big Taylor Bridge Fire that made news," she added. "The consensus seems to be she’s an orphan. She adopted the cows, horses and goats from a neighboring ranch as her family. She wants nothing to do with elk moving through the area, like she doesn’t see herself as an elk.”
The photos of Buttons’ tender hugs with the firefighters have gone viral with nearly 6,500 shares on Facebook.
“We had a fire on the hillside. The firefighters saved three homes that day,” said Risdon. “They were able to stop the fire at about 35 to 40 acres. They said the elk just wandered into their command post with about 10 people there. She wandered in and made herself at home. She doesn’t leave you alone either. She’s pretty insistent that she wants to be part of the group.”
The friendly elk is somewhat of a “local celebrity,” Risdon explained. “She roams freely and a lot of people know about her. It’s a very unusual.”