Posts Tagged ‘chimpanzee sanctuary’

Missy the Disco Queen – Part II

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

As Anna mentioned in her blog post yesterday, the chimps and humans spent the entire day celebrating Missy and her 41st birthday (along with the birthdays of a couple of our wonderful friends and supporters, Deb and Martha)!

As you may be aware, Missy is mad about tomatoes. She seems to never tire of them and I think she’d be happy to eat nothing else. And because she and her best friend, Annie, love to incorporate socks and ’80’s style headbands into their play sessions, what better way to kick off the celebration than with an ’80’s Disco Party theme complete with disco ball pinatas (graciously made by volunteer caregiver, Patti) and cherry tomatoes in socks, along with a breakfast forage!

As promised, here are photos from Missy’s day (and I hope you all like lots of photos, folks!)







Jody was able to get one of the cherry tomato socks (that’s Burrito to the right who was emitting low moans of joy over his handfuls of breakfast treats – I just now realized it’s the only shot we got of him, but rest assured he was happy!):




Annie (notice all the socks hanging on the firehose – Missy got every single one!):


The party continued with a watermelon bowl lunch forage on Young’s Hill:


The birthday lady quickly found one and headed for a quiet spot to take in the view and enjoy her lunch in peace:


Annie also chose to enjoy her watermelon bowl in solitude:


Jody found two and quickly headed back to enjoy them in the comfort of the greenhouse:




Foxie found they were the perfect size to just put her whole face in:


Jamie took the approach of dumping out the bowls and then using them to collect copious amounts of chow to bring inside and enjoy:



And the piece de resistance? Queen Neggie:





Back inside the greenhouse, Negra headed to her favorite sunny corner which overlooks her beloved valley:



A heart full of thanks to all the staff, volunteers and supporters who made this special day of celebration for Missy and her friends possible!

Celebrating each of the chimp’s birthdays and the amazing individuals they are is always a joyous and fun occasion. And as I shared with Missy’s Pals yesterday, the reasons for celebration and gratitude go far beyond a specific date. In Missy’s case, it’s hard not to recall the thought that she almost didn’t make it sanctuary. Diana shared this story in a previous blog post though I failed to locate it. But in preparation for the chimps’ transfer to CSNW they all went through physicals at which time Missy was found to have uterine fibroids and was given a hysterectomy. Missy came through the surgery just fine, but during her transport afterward, she suddenly crashed. It took a lot to bring her back. After 30 years of torture and torment, she was so close to never knowing anything different. It makes my heart shake and shudder just to stand on the edge of this thought. And yet it’s a reality for so many chimps, particularly those who never made it to sanctuary or are still awaiting their turn.

Since arriving to her sanctuary home Missy has shown us she is someone who greets life by opening the door and running into it, arms wide open. With every leap, twist, swing, jump, sprint and full out run she puts her history further behind her, defying her age and claiming a life full of joy, adventure, comfort and love. None of which would be possible without you.

Please know it’s not my intention to end this fabulous celebration on a downer. It’s my hope to share with you how truly amazing each day in sanctuary is for the chimps. And to express our profound gratitude to you for ensuring that every day is one of the celebration of freedoms in all shapes and sizes for each of the chimps, in their own way and choosing. Safe in the knowledge that they are home, respected, valued and loved for the individuals they are.

And to our Disco Queen, Happy, Happy Birthday, Missy, we love you so much!! For all your days forward may your heart and soul sing out loud. And may there be tomatoes. So many tomatoes.

Happy Birthday Martha and Missy!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Today is full of celebration! We are so excited to have another day of sanctuary sponsored by Susie Winston in honor of her partner, Martha Faulkner, and Missy chimpanzee for their birthdays! Martha is an amazing friend to the chimps (and the humans!) and is also a valued member of our wonderful Board of Directors. We’re thrilled to be celebrating her special day along with Missy’s. And Missy is a special and greatly beloved chimpanzee woman who defies age more with each passing leap, run, jump and sprint and we couldn’t be more delighted.

Susie shared this lovely message about today:  “Martha is the best partner and most generous person ever. All she wanted for her birthday is a donation for the chimps. Love that Woman!”

Susie, thank you so much for celebrating Martha in such a compassionate and generous way! We are so fortunate to have you both in our chimp family!

Martha, we are so grateful to you for all that you do for the chimps to ensure that for all their days forward their lives are filled with comfort, joy, security, and love. We wish you and your generous heart the happiest of days!

One of today’s birthday women, Missy. We love you, Missy, Happy Birthday!!:




Missy and her beloved friend, Annie:

Missy and Annie with prickly lettuce

And Martha’s chimpanzee pals, Burrito:


and Jody:


The first of today’s parties was pretty exciting and preparations are underway for party #2! Be sure to check back later today for a look at the festivities! And thank you so much to all of you who make it possible to celebrate each of the chimpanzees for the amazing individuals they are.

Happy Birthday, Deb!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Bruce Wagman in honor of his wife, Deb, on her birthday. Bruce and Deb have been part of our chimp family since the very beginning. Not only does Bruce volunteer his time as a valued member of our wonderful Board of Directors, but Deb is a volunteer caregiver in the chimp house, coming from out of state to complete her shifts and care for the chimps. They both do so much to improve the lives of so many animals and we’re grateful for their friendship to the chimps (and humans!). Bruce shared this beautiful message about Deb:

“Some people just shape things, and make them come out better. They move through their lives with their influence expanding in waves. At home, Deborah has provided the ultimate in loving parenting to all her children, all of whom have had four legs and tails – and each one of them has flourished under her loving hands. At the Marin Humane Society, hundreds of dogs have benefited from her patience and attention. At the Marine Mammal Center, abandoned, stray and injured seals and sea lions and others knew the careful detail which she brought to each one. And at CSNW, she has become a friend to the Cle Elum Seven, dedicated to their care and falling in love with each of them on every one of her many visits to them over the years. It is certainly the case that the Seven have done more for Deborah than she has done for them, but her willingness to keep giving her all to them is an inspiration to us all.”

Bruce, thank you so much for sharing such a special day with the chimpanzees! We are full of gratitude for the difference you and Deb have made, and continue to make, in the lives of so many of our fellow animals.

Deb, we are thrilled to be celebrating with you today! We hope you have an amazing day full of all the love and comfort that you share with so many others. And Burrito would probably send some birthday hoots to you. Happy Birthday!!:






Today is a big day of celebration in the chimp house as it’s also beloved Missy’s 41st honorary birthday!! Party preparations are under way so be sure to check back later today and celebrate with us!

A Day in Sanctuary

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

We run a pretty tight ship in the chimp house. Given the decades of uncertainty, fear, and stress that the chimps faced, it’s important for them to have a routine in which they can trust and know what to expect and when things will occur. And there’s a lot for the humans to get done each day to keep the chimps’ healthy, engaged and happy, as well as to keep their home clean, safe and comfortable. Of course, within that routine we add as much variety as possible to their days in the form of enrichment, activities, food, interactions, etc. But despite the best laid plans, each day in the chimp house can be unique unto itself due to the chimpanzees’ choices and needs for the day, staffing and volunteer changes, unexpected circumstances, and a myriad of other reasons.

Take today for example, we started out cleaning the chimp house like any other morning only to end up relocating a mouse mama and her newborn babies, spending a good half hour (successfully!) catching and releasing a hummingbird, and then ushering out a snake and a Swallowtail butterfly by the time things were done. If you’re new to the blog, chimpanzees are very territorial and completely unwelcoming of guests in their home so the chimp house is no place for other creatures and we do our best to rescue anyone whose made a poor choice to make a chimp house call.

Here’s Missy taking a break from chasing Annie to check on our progress in the greenhouse so the chimps can go in for breakfast:

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And in between all the tasks of the day Anna and I took turns walking with Jamie under bright blue skies and in a blazing 95 degrees. Now Jamie often enjoys taking her time on these walks and we don’t blame her. She likes to spend time under the crow’s nest on the Twister structure to check on the neighborhood happenings. Please note the boss lady also enjoys sitting under the crow’s nest for the lovely shade it provides. The caregivers who walk with Jamie, however, have no such luck. So during this particular walk, I sat down and waited for her to decide it was time to move on…


and waited…


and waited. But don’t be fooled into thinking Jamie is so busy she’s unaware of us or where she left us off. (And if you’re wondering, yes, she gets upset if we decide to take the initiative to leave or go in another direction on our own!).  So as it became clear that Jamie was going to be awhile, and with black cowboy boots blazing on my feet like the fire of a thousand burning suns, I thought I might as well make myself a little more comfortable and take them off while Jamie did her thing. Oh, I could not have been more wrong. Jamie immediately turned to me and gestured with her hand to put them back on. So you see, Jamie also runs a tight ship.


Meanwhile back in the chimp house, after playroom cleaning was done we added a new addition of a personalized photo blanket for Negra that one of her wonderful pals sent to her. Foxie was the first to check it out (notice her hand on Negra’s photo):


And here’s Negra making a nest with her new blanket:


The chimps then enjoyed a lunch forage on Young’s Hill (including fresh watermelon and cabbage donated by a guest). And in other news, Annie continues to sport the blue ’80’s style sweatband that she made a bold fashion choice with yesterday. Missy even pulled it off of her during a play session, but Annie put it right back on. (I can’t tell you how this makes my heart smile!):



Later in the afternoon, I found good friends, Burrito, Foxie (and Dora), feeling snoozy in the warm greenhouse and enjoying the summer breeze:





After a small afternoon snack of green beans and cherry tomatoes straight from the garden, the chimps gathered for dinner in the greenhouse which included fresh sweet potatoes donated by our amazing friends at Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. (L to R): Missy, Burrito, Foxie’s ear :), and Jamie:


After the chimps are served dinner, they receive their beloved night bags (if you’re unfamiliar with these, they are small bags of dried fruit, nuts and seeds that the chimps receive each evening). Here’s Jody enjoying hers in one of her classic relaxed poses:


As I finish up this post, the chimps have received their evening food puzzle of frozen banana and peanut butter in PVC tubes and are tucked into their nests for the night in the cool chimp house. Some of the doors are still open and a finally cooling evening breeze is drifting in, and all is perfectly still and quiet. Except that is, for the boss lady, Jamie. A boss’s job is never done. And in this case neither are her caregivers’. At least until she decides otherwise. So now we’re off to look for those cowboy boots which, of course, are made for walking. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Style Choices

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

At the sanctuary, the chimpanzees have access to a daily changing assortment of toys, blankets, clothing and other items (all double checked by staff for safety). Clothing can be a popular item to add to sleeping nests, and we all know about Jamie’s cowboy boot obsession. Every now and then, a chimpanzee will take special interest in something specific that they may then choose to wear. I emphasized the “choose” part of that sentence, because we never force or demand the chimpanzees to wear clothing.

Today, Annie took notice of a stretchy ’80s style exercise headband. Instead of the more traditional forehead placement, she chose to wear it as a strikingly noticeable belt.


Missy’s 2016 Cle Elum Olympics

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Missy never ceases to amaze us with her feats of daring and Parkour. I think she lives out her own Olympic dreams every day, right here in Cle Elum. She rarely takes the easy way around, preferring to run, leap, climb and walk the tightrope to get where she wants to go. During a breakfast forage on Young’s Hill this morning, Missy started out with everyone else, but it didn’t take long for her decide she was going to take the firehouse from structure to structure, foraging in classic Missy style.
















On August 23rd, we are going to be celebrating Missy’s honorary 41st birthday! Technically, Missy’s in the older chimp ladies age bracket, but Missy makes her own rules and seems to grow younger in heart, mind, body and spirit with each passing season. We can’t wait to celebrate this amazingly wonderful chimpanzee woman on her special day!


Chimpanzee Clubhouse

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

The Cle Elum Seven’s newest climbing structure “Twister” has been a pretty popular morning rendezvous spot.

Happy Birthday, Foxie!

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Today’s day of sanctuary was sponsored by Tracy Headley in honor of her pal, Foxie’s, birthday! Tracy is a dear friend to the chimpanzees, always holding them in her heart and including them in her life in countless ways.

Beloved Foxie turns 40 today and the sanctuary is all a flurry preparing for a Troll, Dora the Explorer, and Smoothie Extravaganza which begins in mere moments! Foxie is a special soul full of joy, beauty, courage, love, and her particular brand of exuberant goofiness. She is a mother, a dear friend, and an important part of a special family who loves her. Foxie makes the lives of her chimp and human friends better every day with her compassionate and joyful heart and we are honored to be celebrating this special woman today. Not to mention, pretty excited for this party!

Tracy, thank you so much for sponsoring this day of celebration for Foxie and her family! We are full of gratitude for the friendship they (and we!) have in you!

Happiest of birthdays, Foxie! We love you so much!!


web Foxie walk YH troll in mouth dora on back IMG_7656

web Foxie throw blue troll doll in air about to catch playroom IMG_0100

web Foxie sit cute leg out troll doll greenhouse gh IMG_0836

In celebration of Bill Walters’ life

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

This special day of sanctuary was sponsored by Nicki Walters in memory of her husband, Bill. Nicki and Bill have been such wonderful friends to the chimpanzees over the years and we are so honored to celebrate Bill’s life with the chimps today. Bill had a great passion for animals and their well-being and he was also a long-time supporter and volunteer at PAWS Lynnwood. Nicki shared this special message:

“Today is the day that we celebrate Bill Walter‘s life. So I wanted the Chimps to be able to do the same since they brought him many smiles and were a source of happiness during many rough days as he fought Cancer. Knowing that they will be playing on a Monument dedicated to him, The Twister, gave him a lot of pride that his memory will be kept alive in such a fun way.”

If you’re new to the blog, you can also check out the unveiling of the Twister here.

Nicki, thank you so much for holding the chimps in your heart and giving them such a special day of sanctuary. Our hearts are with you and your loved ones. Words fall short in the face of such profound loss, but the difference Bill made for so many others with his life gives much to celebrate.

We are so moved by all that you, Bill and your friends have done to add to the chimps’ home and lives in a meaningful and lasting way. Bill’s spirit will always be present in the joy you’ve all brought the chimps and in all of the lives made better by his. We’ll think of him every time we see the chimps enjoying your amazing gift to them and especially when we see Jamie surveying her kingdom from the new heights of her beloved crow’s nest.






Thursday, August 4th, 2016

It’s been a warm, sleepy, happy day at the sanctuary. Here are my favorite snapshots from today.

Negra waking up in the greenhouse this morning:


Boss Jamie with a rare playface:


BFFs Annie and Missy grooming:


Burrito in a quiet moment:


Foxie and Dora:


Jody enjoying some wild plants she harvested from Young’s Hill: