Archive for the ‘Dolls’ 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!



Foxie the destroyer

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Foxie often plays pretty rough with her dolls, quite different than she would probably treat a real infant. She will throw them, smack them and bite them one minute, and be hugging and grooming them the next. We may never know why Foxie likes certain dolls so much, but we do know that she doesn’t seem to feel any of that same affection for stuffed primate dolls.

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:



Morning solitude

Monday, February 12th, 2018

We continue to experience what feels like spring, just a much a colder version. There are moments when, much to my delight, I think it’s autumn. Despite this morning being in the low twenties, the hillsides are greening up, vines are sprouting, garden plans are swimming in our heads, and the trills of the red-winged black birds have been dipping and swirling across the pond and into the fields as they reclaim their place in this corner of the world. And it’s all happening at least a couple months early. But neither chimpanzees nor humans are complaining.

When I opened the hill up this morning the chimps marched out with purpose, each seemingly with the intent to find their own spot of sun and solitude.

Annie was the first one out:

Foxie, her Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Jody and Burrito headed up the hill together:

Foxie peeled off from the group with her dolls to head in another direction:

Missy took her chow from breakfast and raced past everyone to enjoy some privacy on a structure. But it wasn’t long before Foxie decided to join her (though I think she invited herself):

You can spot one of Foxie’s dolls on the post above her. Foxie often likes to put her dolls in precarious positions and then rescue them:

Foxie eventually decided to climb higher and join Missy:

Missy didn’t seem ready to give up her solitude as she quickly relocated:

Jamie was busy inside preparing for a walk around the hill, but to my surprise even Negra ventured out with her pine tree snack to enjoy the sun for a few moments. I love that the chimpanzees can each find solitude within whole, a space to be with one another, but apart, knowing they have each other to return to as soon as they’re ready.

Quiet Moments

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Another beautiful February day is in the books and the chimps couldn’t be happier! Jamie and I spent quite some time with each other today. While our amazing volunteers cleaned, Jamie and I went for a nice slow and mellow walk. The sun was shining down, the view was amazing, and you couldn’t ask for better company. All the chimps were out ripping around Young’s Hill, meanwhile Jamie and I just sauntered around. Jamie looked so relaxed and at peace (if Jamie is relaxed I know I have done my job that day). Afterward, we went in and groomed her boot, she relaxed some more and I began to knuckle rub her arm and groom her with a brush. These are the nice little moments I will cherish forever.




Foxie carrying her doll:


Mysteries of the heart

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Foxie’s love of her dolls is an endless source of heart-melting joy, fascination and mystery to us. If you’ve been following the chimpanzees for awhile you are probably aware that Foxie’s love of her dolls (that we’re aware of) began shortly after the chimps’ arrival to the sanctuary in 2008 with her subsequent discovery of “Trixie” the troll doll. For several years, Foxie lived and breathed troll dolls and showed little to no interest in other dolls or forms of enrichment.

Then Dora the Explorer appeared on the scene and for reasons known only to Foxie, she was utterly smitten. Dora quickly raised through the ranks to join the status of the trolls. While we’ll never know what mysterious criteria Dora met, we were happy to see Foxie branching out with her interests. She became particularly enamored with France Dora. She definitely has a certain “je ne sais quoi” and to this day I think she remains Foxie’s most treasured of all the Dora dolls.

Fast forward a few years and Foxie branched out even further to include Dora’s friends:

It’s hard to resist wanting to interpret Foxie’s behavior with her dolls and in our curiosity to make guesses as to Foxie’s doll criteria, we thought maybe it was the combination of big hair and big eyes. Most recently she’s incorporated the new Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Big hair: check! Big eyes: check!

And then…Foxie threw us a curve ball by falling in love with the new old-style Strawberry Shortcakes. Big hair: meh, not so much. Big eyes: no, beady!

When Foxie adds another doll to her collection that doesn’t mean her trolls and Dora dolls lose their status. Her comfort level just seems to expand allowing her natural curious nature to investigate new things. And it seems her heart feels increasingly safer to let new experiences in. And we certainly know that our fellow animals experience the same emotions we humans do. That said, it’s tempting to read too much into Foxie’s behavior and it’s emotionally appealing and comforting for us to think her love for her dolls is all about a chance to be the mother she was never allowed to be to her four children she gave birth to in the labs who were stolen from her. After such incomprehensible trauma, it’s clear the dolls bring Foxie enormous comfort and joy and I think it’s safe to say she does engage in mothering behavior with them, but at the same time she often beats them up. And I mean beats.them.up!

And so as curious as we are and as well as we know Foxie, just as with any other person, we can never know for sure what she is thinking. Nor would we be so species-centric if you will, to assume. And the thing is, it doesn’t matter. Foxie is Foxie and her happiness doesn’t need definition. Nor does our love for her. Her happiness and well-being, that’s the only thing that’s our business.

It’s been a few weeks since Foxie has received a new Dora and when we surprised her with one a supporter had sent, it was evident that Dora’s still got it. Whatever “it” may be.

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:

Not Your Typical Day

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Today was not our typical lazy Sunday at CSNW. After the chimps received access to the Hill everyone was out with Jamie, well everyone except Negra… Foxie was especially gleeful this morning. Foxie invited staff Caregiver Katelyn for a fun game of flip and hang upside down while tickling her with her doll, which I mean who could say no to that! Foxie is always playful and has the craziest moves, but today she put it all out on the dance floor. Check out the video to see Foxie’s moves.

Bonus photos of Foxie on Young’s Hill yesterday (photo credit to Diana, they were just to good to not share):

Happy Birthday, Manuela!

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

I often marvel at the love the chimpanzees receive from friends and loved ones. To think they spent so many years unknown to so many and now they fill so many hearts and lives the world over. Manuela Santacreu sponsored this day of sanctuary as a gift for herself and Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra and sends this lovely message about today:

“Pour mon anniversaire, parce qu’il n’y a rien de plus beau que le bonheur simple de savoir ces chimpanzés heureux ! bravo à vous tous! ‘For my birthday, because there is nothing more beautiful than the simple happiness of knowing these happy chimpanzees! Congratulations to you all!'”

Manuela, thank you so much for sharing your celebration with the chimps! We appreciate the lasting difference your support makes in their lives. All of the primates here at CSNW wish you the happiest of days!


Annie hugging Missy:


Burrito and Jody:

Burrito and Jody with bamboo

Foxie and doll:

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the chimp house not a creature was stirring… besides a few chimps;

The stockings were stuffed by a few kind volunteers;

In hopes for field roast and boots galore soon;

The chimps are all nesting comfortably in their blankets;

While they save energy for the big day that lies ahead.

The chimps are so excited for tomorrow! Today we did a lot of preparation for our Christmas party. We have 4 bins stuffed with stockings, blankets, toys, dolls, books, and boots! Staff have been busy organizing and checking all the enrichment and volunteers have been busy stuffing stockings and wrapping presents. Unlike some Christmas shoppers, we are stress-free thanks to all of our donors who gave the chimps gifts! Today, Christmas Eve was full of relaxing and building the anticipation for Christmas Day! There were many grooming parties, nesting, and games of chase! It was a little too cold to go on the Hill unfortunately, but we kept ourselves occupied…

Burrito played chase with volunteer caregivers to pass the time:

Foxie and Jamie played games of chase and napped most of the day:

Jamie collecting blankets to make her nest:

Missy and Annie wrestling: