I have a tattoo on the inside of my wrist that says “lean forward to the next crazy venture.” It’s a quote I have always loved from On the Road and it has guided me well, through all kinds of crazy ventures like my undercover work early in my career, many loves and losses, and oh, you know, being a part of a fledgling chimpanzee sanctuary. Looking back, which I rarely allow myself to do, I couldn’t be prouder of the role I’ve been fortunate to play in Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. We’ve gone from zero to 60 in a very short time. The chimps have certainly undergone spectacular changes in the last five years, and I feel like I’ve lived through those changes and that recovery as well.
I have nothing but excitement about what’s ahead for our chimpanzee friends. Tomorrow, the wonderful and amazing Jennifer Whitaker formally takes the helm as Executive Director here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (although she’s been quietly getting up to speed here for two weeks now). I am so confident that Jennifer will take CSNW to new heights and I can’t wait to cheer for each new victory and each little change.
Of course I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little emotional about my departure. But I’m not going far. The Seven (and their humans) will never leave my heart or my mind. They are a central part of my family, so after a few weeks off I’ll be returning in a new and improved role as a caregiving volunteer. Nice try, but you haven’t gotten rid of me.
I won’t be saying goodbye. There’s no need to. I’ll just be leaning forward with everyone else. I’ll never have words for how humbled I am by having had the opportunity to do this work. Thank you a hundred times over.
PS. If you simply can’t resist saying goodbye, here are my suggestions on where to fuel your energy:
- if you’ve connected with me or the chimps over the past few years, make a donation today to wish me well and welcome Jennifer to the team
- buy tickets to our Seattle auction now so that you can support our work and give me a hug (I’ll be there with bells on)
- help us spread the word about our online auction by sharing the link on Facebook and to all your friends. Start leaning toward all those vacation spots!
- watch the bidding war over VIP Green Day tickets and backstage access. So much fun.