We talk a lot about how Jamie is the boss not only of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees, but of the humans at the sanctuary too. People ask us what makes her the boss. I don’t know that I’ve ever explained it quite this way before, but I’d say a good 75% of the “why” behind Jamie’s leadership status is that she just knows she should be in charge. I don’t think there’s any question in her mind that she should have a privileged status among all of us.
This entitlement means that Jamie can be demanding. If she’s trying to get our attention in order for us to give her something, she’ll often stand in the loft of the playroom, look into the kitchen and stomp her feet or hit the caging. Today she did this after lunch. Volunteer caregiver Connie and I were the only humans in the building at the time. Connie did her best to try to figure out what Jamie wanted, bringing her out various favorite things like crayons, big container,s and a couple of pairs of boots.
But the boss was not satisfied.
So, we decided to get ALL of Jamie’s boots (even the extras that were in storage) and line them up outside of the front rooms. It’s something that I had tried over a year ago that worked (see that blog post), and we were out of options. I don’t know if this is exactly what Jamie wanted, but she was definitely pleased with our solution. She would point to certain boots and we would hold them up for her. Some of them she seemed to just want to look at, some she wanted to touch, and others she asked us to give her by standing near the chute with her hand in the position to grab a boot that we dropped in (you can see the rectangular hole and the wire mesh chute below in this photo).