In Water for Elephants, the character Jacob becomes the veterinarian in the circus. He uses his training to help and care for the animals. When Uncle Al hears of another circus that has collapsed, he is eager to gather performers and animals. Al has always wanted an elephant act. Jacob is enlisted to care for and train Rosie the bull elephant. While August is cold an cruel toward Rosie, Jacob is kind and gentle. He hates that August uses a bull hook on Rosie. When Rosie makes a mistake in the first show that injures August's wife Marlena, August beats Rosie mercilessly. Jacob steps in the heal her wounds and calm her down. Rosie is thought to be stupid and inept, but Jacob knows better. He sees how clever she is and hopes he can find a way to show everyone else she is a valuable asset. Jacob discovers that Rosie can understand Polish instead of English. He teaches both Rosie and August to work together in the big top show. Rosie's performances improve and August's treatment of her improves as well. When the circus collapses, Jacob cannot bear to lose Rosie. He convinces the authorities that she is his elephant. Together Rosie, Jacob and Marlena set out in a new life.