The chimpanzees (and humans!) of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest have the best friends and neighbors! People far and wide love these chimpanzees and do so many amazing things to ensure their well-being and the forever home they deserve. It’s an honor and a gift to witness this every single day and we are immensely grateful.
The sanctuary is located a few miles outside the small, eastern Washington town of Cle Elum. This year our local Umpqua Bank sponsored a Giving Tree for the chimpanzees and ARRF Animal Rescue! The bank staff including Jamie, Patti, Brenda, Danielle, and Seka put so much time and effort into organizing this, from creating ornaments for each of the chimpanzees listing chosen gifts on the back to spreading the word about the sanctuary:
And did our local friends and neighbors ever come through!
So if you know us and the chimpanzees, you know we had to start celebrating the holidays with a Christmas Eve party! All of the chimpanzees were enjoying time in the greenhouse this morning, unaware of the party preparation, except for the ever clever Jamie. She knew something was going on and even skipped her usual mid-morning nap, choosing instead to supervise things while playing upside-down-Jamie-on-a-barrel, which in caregiver lingo translates to “Jamie’s happy!”
Caregiver Debbie graciously served as our Christmas Eve elf extraordinaire and made the chimpanzees hot cocoa (with almond milk and unsweetened cocoa powder), put our snow cone machine in overdrive (since we are still waiting on our winter snow here), and prepped the party decor (thanks to Jayne R. and Lisa S.!). Here are volunteer caregiver, Lizz, and our elf, Debbie, setting up (and yes, we have as much, if not more fun, than the chimpanzees!):
No holiday party is complete without the holiday trolls:
Burrito was the first one into the play room where he decided to enjoy the cocoa with the trolls:
This giant present held a new pair of boots for Jamie:
Annie opening party favors filled with peanuts:
Missy enjoying snow cones in a Santa boot mug:
Jody foraging through her stash of holiday treats:
Jamie, of course, had collected numerous cups of cocoa to enjoy:
(Unfortunately, no photographic evidence exists of this, but Foxie and one of the holiday trolls spent their time slurping up snow cones and Negra took her stash to enjoy in the comfort of her nest).
Cle Elum friends and neighbors, we can’t thank you enough for welcoming the chimpanzees into your neighborhood and for your generosity and compassion, not only on this holiday, but all year long. We are truly thankful for your support! And thanks again to Gary and Jan Scott for sponsoring today in honor of our neighbors, Jack and Sue Dignum!
We’ve received so many genuinely thoughtful gifts and good tidings this holiday season it would be impossible to list them all, but here is just a glimpse of the love, creativity and inspiration we’ve been gifted with:
Adorable, hand-made ornaments for the chimpanzees from Claudia H.:
So many wonderful holiday wishes and kind words from our amazing supporters:
This amazingly beautiful Advent calendar created by Kathleen C! (It’s taking all my willpower not to walk over and sneak a peek at the 25th right now):
Please know we are incredibly thankful to each and every one of you who have not only graciously made the chimpanzees’ holiday special, but most importantly, have made a difference in their lives. As I type this, the chimpanzees’ just finished a popcorn forage after a dinner of lentils and roasted squash. With bellies full of healthy food, they are safely asleep in their nests, resting in the comfort of their sanctuary home this Christmas Eve. Each of you through your thoughts, donations, in-kind gifts, and sharing what you know of the chimps with others have made this possible for them. I can think of no more meaningful gift and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. From all of the primates here at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, we wish you a magical Christmas Eve and holiday season filled with the love, comfort and compassion you so graciously share with us.
And if you haven’t done so already, please check out Holiday Central if you’d like to see how you can celebrate the holidays and help the sanctuary at the same time! Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the chimpanzees’ Christmas celebration! Until then, I leave you with a poem sent by another friend of the chimpanzees, Regina Lagrasta: