Archive for the ‘Boots’ Category

Saturday Lounging

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Today was the kind of day to kick your feet up…



take in the wonder of your surroundings…



share a moment with a friend in the sun…

Missy & Annie grooming:


enjoy what nature has to offer…

Burrito eating snow:


settle in with a good book…

Jamie and a new boot book:


and take some trolls for a walk.

Foxie with a troll scarf:



Happy Saturday from the chimpanzees!



Do What You Love

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Snow was a hot commodity today! Jody was really the only one that went out on Young’s Hill and braved the snow (I know, we were surprised too!), everyone else preferred the snow to be served in the warm and comfortable playroom. Jamie tried to go out on the Hill for a walk, but it was pretty cold out so she turned around. Everyone wanted to play and sometimes they all wanted to play separate games at the same time! There were only two of us and seven of them… Foxie was dropping her dolls down, Missy was running around asking to play chase and wanted us to open the barn doors of course, Burrito was rasberry-ing to play, and Jamie wanted to play chase inside (Jamie would sometimes get Missy or Foxie in on some of the games too). Jamie didn’t want to go out on the Hill so she told staff caregiver Katelyn to put a boot on and play chase with her! Jamie made Katelyn and I play a lot of chase, from the playroom to the greenhouse, back to the playroom, and again and again. Jamie would make these low playful grunting sounds that could just melt your heart. Afterward she would ask for her boots back and hug them tight. I even caught her in a corner of the playroom playing with a stuffed Olaf toy. If you can’t do what you love when the weather is bad why not find something else to substitute!


Jody out venturing the Hill for snow:



Remembering Bill

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Today is sponsored by Kenneth Epstein in honor of Nicki Walters and in memory of her husband, Bill “Twister” Walters, on his birthday. Kenneth shared this message about today:

“Nicki Walters honored her husband Bill by sponsoring the chimps on his birthday. That beautiful gesture of love inspired me and many of their friends and family to share their love of the chimps. So much so that the Twister structure was built the following year in Bill’s honor. We lost Bill to cancer a few months later but he got to see the chimps play on the structure named after him. While we miss Bill we know that nothing would make him happier than knowing that the chimps are partying in his honor.”

We at CSNW are so thankful for the generosity of Bill, Nicki, and their family and friends. The chimpanzees continue to receive so much joy from their wonderful gift of the “Twister” structure! This morning as the chimps ventured out onto the Hill, Missy raced up the Twister as Jamie and Annie watched from below. When Missy started to climb down from the top she began to do somersaults all the way down, from firehose to firehose! We’ve never seen her do this before! It continues to be a favorite lookout for Jamie to oversee her home, especially during the long summer evenings. The joy the Twister has brought to the chimps is unforgettable, just like Bill.

CSNW had a very busy Sunday! Old friends visiting, our wonderful interns taking ID tests (and killing it!), materials being dropped off from the Chimpanzee and Human Communicate Institute, and of course cleaning. Jamie also received a new pair of boots yesterday, which she is very happy about. In the morning after I gave the chimps access to Young’s Hill, Jamie sprinted through the raceway very pilo and very excited for us to put the boots on and walk around the Hill! Young’s Hill was a hot commodity this morning. It felt like a warm spring day and the chimps were all about it! But at last the cold breeze came and it went back and forth between almost a rain storm and being sunny. The chimps enjoyed their sun while they could and Jamie persevered as usual being the amazing person she is. Here are a collection of photos throughout the day:

Missy ripping around the Hill this morning:

Missy waiting for Annie:


Later Annie & Missy basked in the sun, grooming and playing with each others toes:

Jamie our fierce leader:

Missy was backing Jamie up on the Hill, helping with surveillance:


Jody was the gate keeper waiting for everyone to get in safely:

Foxie spending some time with her doll:

Whatever the Boss Says

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Volunteer caregiver Becca swung by the sanctuary today to drop off some produce for the chimpanzees. It was supposed to be a quick visit but as soon as Jamie spotted her, she recruited her for a couple of runs (runs!) around Young’s Hill. After the perimeter runs, a grooming session in the greenhouse was in order. Jamie eventually requested that Becca hand over the boot she was wearing, so she had to hobble back to the chimp house on one foot. We’ve learned to submit to Jamie’s rule and not complain too much.

Communicating about boots

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

On most mornings, Jamie is the first chimpanzee the lead caregiver sees when they open up the human door leading from the kitchen to the hallway in front of the chimps’ enclosures. She is often in the loft overlooking the kitchen, and she has a simple goal in mind: make sure her caregiver puts on one of her boots. Lately she has been pretty specific about which boot she wants some of us to wear, so instead of stomping and gesturing at her boot collection located in the kitchen, she sends us a more obvious message.

Nice Day for a Walk

Monday, January 15th, 2018

When I arrived at CSNW this morning I was greeted by a nice long kiss by Jamie and breathy pants from the chimps. Jamie gestured for me to put a boot on and she broke into a game of chase. Jamie lead me outside to the greenhouse, where she ran up to door Y and insisted I open it so we could finish our game of chase on Young’s Hill. However, we close off the Hill at night for the chimps and before I can open any door there are checks that I have to do. But, trust me – I got her out there in good time! Today was a pretty mild winter day (which might explain some good moods this morning) and the chimps took full advantage of it. Jamie and Missy spent most of their day on Young’s Hill, and who could blame them! Jamie especially was loving this warmer winter weather! Jamie and I played games of chase inside, games of chase outside, we did countless walks, and spent sometime just sitting outside. Because we were outside for most of the day I was only able to capture a few photos.

Jamie eating some broccoli in her nest:

Missy taking a short break:

Jamie admiring her boots:

Jamie tucked her boots safely in her pelvic pocket; shortly afterwards she gave me those boots to go walk with her:


Trying new things

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

The other day, after the PRT session that Elizabeth filmed, Jamie and I followed a typical post-PRT routine. Because I had spent the last fifteen minutes requesting that she do things, it was her turn to request that I do something (I’m pretty sure that Jamie believes it is ALWAYS time for the humans to do something for her, but I digress). So I put on her latest favorite pair of boots, we did a perimeter walk, and afterward we settled in for a grooming session in the greenhouse.

Jamie is easily the most dexterous chimpanzee I’ve ever known, and she’s a master at using tools. Her fine-motor ability is really quite impressive. Just watch this video of Jamie giving J.B. a “manicure” and read this story about her tool-altering skills and forethought.

It was just Jamie in the greenhouse, grooming my fingers and the boots, when Annie came over with a tool of her own.


For the first several years of Annie’s sanctuary life, she didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the humans – not because she wasn’t interested in us, but, I think, because she was a ball of anxiety, and she didn’t want to over-step her place in the social world of chimpanzees and humans. We have written many times on the blog about Annie’s ever-growing confidence in the last few years (for example, this touching post from Elizabeth).


We’ve witnessed all of the chimpanzees trying new things over the last nine+ years at the sanctuary. We’ve gotten to know them so well that when they do something new, it stands out. You may already be familiar with “Fake Neggie” – a nickname for Missy when she is adopting Negra’s quintessential blanket-over-head nesting style.


You may not know that there was a time a few years ago when Negra decided troll dolls were her thing too, carrying one with her from bed to meals to adventures on Young’s Hill.

It lasted for a few weeks, then the fad seemed to pass for Negra and she’s been mostly troll-less ever since, leaving the doll obsession to Foxie.


Jody is sometimes seen with troll dolls, and Annie tries them out once in a while too.


Imitation is an important part of observing and learning. J.B. wrote a blog post back in 2012 about how copying the behavior of others shouldn’t be dismissed as somehow intellectually unimpressive. It’s worth the read.


When Annie confidently walked towards me with her rather blunt tool and pushed it out through the caging to groom the boot I was wearing, my smile could not have been any bigger. She was clumsy and awkward with the over-sized tool she had chosen, but she gave it a go, even with boss Jamie sitting right there to watch.


Annie didn’t stay long, and I don’t think she had any kind of magical insight about why Jamie spends so much time engaging in this behavior.


To have an interesting and full life and to get a better idea of who you are, you have to try new things – even things you aren’t sure you will be good at doing. Annie seems to know this now. She’s 100% signed up for this sanctuary life, and I have no doubt she and her chimpanzee companions will continue to try new things, figuring out more about themselves and delighting and surprising us along the way.


Jamie and the snowshoes

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Well folks, today has been one of those days where capturing photos of the chimps has just not been on their agenda. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories to tell.

The chimps have a bare path around snowy and slushy Young’s Hill, courtesy of J.B., and most everyone has been venturing out for walks in our “milder” weather (i.e., above freezing for the most part). But much to our surprise, it’s Jamie who hasn’t been interested in going all the way around the hill. (Missy on the other hand, has been ripping and running around and around!). The last couple of days Jamie seems to have incorporated the lower half of the hill into her games of chase with her caregivers, venturing half way up one side only to turn, run back down and then part way up the other side, back and forth like a pendulum.

Given how excited Jamie’s been over the winter footwear and seeing what the humans’ Yaktrax look like on her own boots, I decided to take it to the next level and see what she would think of seeing her boots in snowshoes, which we don’t think she’s seen before. Here is Jamie’s favorite new boot getting strapped in as she watches:

Suffice to say, Jamie was beside herself! Hair standing on end (polo-erect), eyes glued to her boots, hooting and low moaning and generally flailing about in excitement. Of course she immediately raced outside to play chase up and down the small slope seemingly mesmerized that HER boots were snowshoeing. Kelsi and I tried and tried to get photos of her, but I think she was so overwhelmed she didn’t have time to participate in a photo shoot. So outside of this photo of Jamie flailing (I recognize it’s hard to see, but she is waving her arms and hands about as she looks at her boot), you’ll have to take our word for it:

Jamie immediately ran outside making sure I was following and after about an hour of chase inside, outside, through the greenhouse, up the hill, down the hill (with frequent stops to check out her boot), she decided she was ready to have her snow covered boots (sans snowshoes, of course). As soon as she received them she hugged them to her for a moment, looked at them as if they (and perhaps by extension, she?) had just been on the most amazing adventure ever, and then hurried off to build a nest with them.

For years it was very uncommon to see Jamie actually sleep when she nested. Some part of her always remained on alert and if the rare occasion occurred where her eyes closed, it didn’t take much for them to spring back open. Only in the last year or two has she begun to fully relax enough to fall asleep. So to see her covered up with her blankets, surrounded by her beloved boots and favorite new boot book, sound asleep holds so much more meaning than just how cozy and adorable she looks like this. Even if brief (she’s a busy woman after all), she finally feels safe enough to fully let go and fall into a deep slumber. Perhaps dreaming of snowshoeing her way around Young’s Hill…

Fashion Show

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Jamie loves to watch her caregivers model boots for her. Sometimes this process lasts ten or fifteen minutes. Jamie is by no means a passive audience – she lets us know which boot she wants us to put on which foot, and she makes sure we keep the fashion show moving at a steady clip.

New Year’s Eve

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

New Year’s Eve is so exciting! The anticipation for the new year builds while everyone spends time with loved ones. Here at the Sanctuary we are getting ready for our New Year celebration tomorrow! As we reflect on the past and look forward to the future we thank everyone for helping the chimps to an ever expanding life! Here are some photos of how the day was spent! Though most of Jamie and I’s day was wearing boots and chasing from the playroom to the Hill!

Jamie making a nest with a boot in her pelvic pocket:

Jamie zipping up her boots:

Negra making her nest:

Sweet Annie: