The Cle Elum Seven are fortunate to have several caregivers, including a few volunteers who have gone through a long training process and are able to dedicate days each month to their care.
I think the responses show how much we respect Negra for the person she is, and how glad we are that she had this chance at the sanctuary to show us all her personality.
We love you, Negra! Happy Birthday.
Favorite things about Negra:
- The way she adjusts her head bobs according to what type of dance steps we’re doing
- The “arms crossed and resting on the belly” pose
- The result of her intensely focused night-bag consumption – a belly covered in sunflower seeds and peanut shells
- When Negra seems to be ignoring you and not wanting to interact, but you catch her watching you out of the corner of her eye
- How she tries to stay out of the way when Burrito is running around displaying
- When she claps to get our attention or to let us know she is ready for more food to be served
- How she loves a blanket over her when she is resting
- The way her lips and face look when she’s drinking from a straw
- When she demands her night bag
- How she sometimes waits until the last minute to come in for breakfast, so you show her the little bowl of peanuts and she throws the blanket she’s wearing off of her shoulders and quickly comes down from the loft
- Negra coming down the stairs and joining in a game of slappy hands with Missy and Annie. This was captured in one of our first videos that we posted to the blog.
- The day I saw her climb up to the top of the outdoor enclosure to get a head of lettuce on the roof. Dangling up there! We got a video of that too.
- Early on, when the chimps first went into the playroom and Negra would just spend hours sitting in the sun at the barn doors
- When I was still in training, probably about a year ago. It was the first time she asked me for a kiss, and she was very deliberate like “you, let me kiss your wrist NOW.”
- I was interacting in the front rooms, and Negra was taking a pretty deep nap. I started dancing for Jamie and saw out the corner of my eye Neg bobbing her head. It made me laugh a lot – she really does love our silly dancing.
- Recently, when Negra suddenly started really playing with us. First, she let me tickle/knuckle rub her back playfully, and then proceeded to play tug of war with me.
- The day I arrived in the morning after not having been there for a month. Negra was under her blanket on the catwalk above the barn doors. When she saw me, she swung down on the fire hose (!) and ran over to give me a big long Neggie kiss on the back of my hand. I cried!
- During my training, she had always given me the impression that she thought I was some kid who clearly did not know how things work around here– as someone who needed to be reminded of her queen status quite often! But one day she approached me and decided I was worthy of a kiss through the caging to the back of my hand and a little tickle to the wrist. I learned that day that there is nothing quite like special attention from Negra!
- Every time I see Neg in a giant nest of blankets and straw in the outdoor area, I remember watching her in the small stark room in the basement of Buckshire tearing bits of newspaper to try to make a nest. At the time, I imagined her with armfuls of blankets at the sanctuary. I didn’t know she would become the queen of blankets, with one wrapped around her almost all the time, but I did know she would make some pretty great nests for herself.