Foxie has a complicated relationship with her dolls. As most of you know, Foxie is rarely without one (or two or three). It can be very emotionally appealing to see Foxie exhibit maternal behaviors with her Doras and trolls, particularly when you learn of the five babies she had stolen from her while in the lab, as Debbie shared yesterday. There is no doubt that Foxie receives comfort from her dolls, but at times she also seemingly uses them to express her frustration.
As much as we see her kiss them, carry them on her back as a mother chimpanzee would do with her children, or become distressed when they are out of her reach, we also see her spend significant amounts of time giving them a good wallop. Foxie is very intense during these times and typically uses a tool to rapidly and repeatedly strike against the dolls. It’s very loud and many of the tools she uses get broken as a result. When she is engaging in this behavior she is very focused and isn’t often interested in much else that may be going on around her.
Notice the toy screwdriver in her left hand and the intense look on her face:
Foxie often remains serious and a bit distant for some time after these stormy displays:
But then the clouds pass and you see the “Foxie light” return in her eyes. While this is really outside the realm of what we have learned about chimpanzee behavior, we could be tempted to try and psychoanalyze her behavior to death. But in reality we really don’t know what’s going on in Foxie’s mind. This is just Foxie. Like each of the chimpanzees, she is an incredibly strong, intelligent, resilient and courageous person and this is how she sometimes chooses to express herself. We love and accept her for exactly who she is, every minute of every day. And that’s all we need to know.