Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

The Healing Touch

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Even though the chimpanzees always live together as one group, Negra chooses to spend a lot of her time alone – often curled up in a big comfortable nest with a blanket over her head. She has a favorite spot on the catwalk of the playroom by the windows where she can lay in her nest and still keep an eye on things but remain out of the fray.

When she’s not in her nest, we frequently find her near her mound of blankets, looking out of the window. I see Negra gazing out of the windows in a way that I rarely witness the other chimpanzees doing.

She can spend long periods of time taking in the view that includes the cattle and horses on the neighboring property, the old highway, and the railroad. Negra exudes serenity in these quiet, private moments.


Even us introverts benefit from the company of others, though. Sometimes it helps to have a friend insist that you spend time with them. Missy in particular makes sure that Negra remains part of the social fabric. Missy is the self-appointed doctor of the group, examining every body part and tending to wounds. You might say that Missy has a healing touch.


After years of forced-isolation, the opportunity for Negra to develop long-lasting and trusting relationships with the other chimpanzees is one of the greatest gifts that this sanctuary has given.


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:


Adventure Interrupted

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Jamie may be the leader of the Cle Elum Seven, but Jody is the den mother. She always looks out for the other chimps – making sure they’re safe and accounted for – and sometimes this means “collecting” them if they venture too far outside.

This morning Negra seemed in the mood for a little outdoor adventure, but “mama” Jody wasn’t so sure.

Is it Winter?

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

The chimps and I are still in disbelief that it is 42 degrees in January! Jamie and I have been going on nice leisurely walks (Missy did joined us but after a while she would sprint off). Missy has been out all day running everywhere, climbing on all the outdoor structures, and balancing on ropes. Annie and Missy enjoyed sometime together on the Hill playing follow the leader and wrestling in the Playroom. Foxie took her dolls outside and soaked in the warmer weather. Foxie and Jody later went far out on the Hill and explored together. I couldn’t catch Burrito in any photos but he also had been out and about on the Hill and of course played chase in the Green House! And Neggie made some very cozy nests today and laid near the Playroom windows to feel the warm sun shining in.

Missy running on Young’s Hill:


Annie staring out towards the Hill:


Jamie also running on the Hill with Missy:




Happy Birthday, Ashley!

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

A gift from one of our chimp house volunteers! Becca Hines sponsored a day of sanctuary for seven special chimps and one special human and shared this sweet message:

“Happy Birthday to my favorite human – Ashley Pittman! You are the Missy to my Annie and I am so happy you were born. Thank you for all you do and for being a wonderful friend. Here’s to many more birthdays together, for you and I AND Annie and Missy. <3”

Thank you for all you do for the chimps, Becca, and for always holding them in your heart! Ashley, we hope you have the happiest of birthdays yet!

Besties, Annie and Missy:

Between friends

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Early this morning began with a little snow, then an utter downpour, which has turned into a chilly, but sunny afternoon. Jamie, unphased by the chill in the air, has kept staff caregiver, Kelsi, busy walking all afternoon. In the meantime, the other chimps have been enjoying quiet moments with one another in sunny spots indoors.

Good friends, Burrito and Foxie, enjoying some grooming time in the greenhouse:

Annie (background) and best friend, Missy, enjoying one another’s company in the sun coming into the raceway which leads onto Young’s Hill:

Jody was also in the raceway, but decidedly NOT with a friend. When I walked up to the tunnel I saw her intently looking at something with concern while avoiding touching the ground:

The second Jody saw me coming she clung to the caging, eyes big, hair standing on end and asking me for reassurance before running inside. I thought it might be a snake and when I went to check it out I found, well, not quite a snake, but still…:

A small miracle

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Nearly ten years ago, we met these chimpanzees in the windowless basement of a laboratory where they had lived for decades, often alone. Each walk around Young’s Hill still feels like a small miracle.

Are you a Morning Person?

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Personally I love the mornings, however I know many people who are not. The chimps have preferences also! When I walk into the chimp house in the morning I can often find Negra in bed, Missy & Annie playing, Foxie running around, Burrito fully charged for the day, Jamie waiting to instruct us to put boots on, and Jody may or may not still be in bed. Today I walked into the chimp house to find Foxie and Burrito happily wrestling and tickling each other.

Today is also for Michael!

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

We have a second sponsor-a-day for today! Arlene has sponsored this day for her husband Michael, with this message:

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband. I am so thankful for him each and every day. With everything that is going on in the world, it is comforting to have someone who makes you feel loved and safe. I think the chimps would agree :).

We think so too, and the chimps are grateful for your support, Arlene & Micheal!