I took the camera out to the greenhouse this morning and found Foxie chilling out on a tire. After a minute or two she ran over, passed me her troll doll, and ran back to the tire. Pass-the-troll is a favorite game of Foxie’s. She tosses a doll through the caging to a caregiver and watches closely to see what the caregiver will do with it – the more ridiculous, the better. In this photo she’s watching me balance the troll on my head while trying to handle the camera.
Eventually, she’ll let us know she’s ready to have her troll back by holding out her hand for it. Once the troll has been returned to her, she often inspects it closely as if looking for signs of damage. Foxie knows that her dolls aren’t alive, and she often treats them as the inanimate objects they are, but she can also be very nurturing toward them. It seems that the mothering instinct that she didn’t have an opportunity to express toward her own babies in the lab has finally found an outlet. Sometimes it even appears that Foxie likes to put her dolls in “dangerous” situations — entrusting them to a caregiver, or pushing them off a beam of a climbing structure — so that she can then “save” them.