Annie and Missy have been best friends for years.
In fact, their friendship was evident during our very first visit to meet them in the laboratory. But the relationship wasn’t always equal. Missy has very clearly always loved Annie, but for Annie, it was more than love. For a time, she was completely dependent on Missy. She would become visibly anxious if Missy even started to play with another chimp. And when Young’s Hill was built, it made it possible for Missy to go off on her own and not even be within Annie’s sight. When that happened, Annie would sit at the bottom of the hill, rocking, and waiting for her friend to return safely.
Thankfully, Annie has grown more confident since then. These days, she seems totally content to sit on the hill by herself while Missy is off patrolling with Jamie.
It seems that Annie has learned to navigate the world on her own, even if it’s only for ten minutes at a time.
Oh, Annie, what progress you’ve made! The first steps are always the hardest.
Life’s greatest gift–Love!
What a beautiful love story for the month of February! So proud of Annie’s courage.
Question: You mention that ” …their friendship was evident during our very first visit to meet them in the laboratory.” Did they have access to each other at Buckshire? If so, what were those interactions like? I never envisioned them having contact so I am curious. Thank you.
Hi Kathleen – Yes, the entire group of seven lived together in a series of four interconnected cages for their last two years in the lab. For much of their lives, these chimps would have lived alone when on a research protocol or in pairs when being used for breeding. The Buckshire Corporation, where they lived for decades, was the target of an investigation by PETA in the 1990s, and they were found to be keeping chimpanzees alone in roughly 3′ x 5′ x 5′ cages, which did not measure up to the already inadequate USDA standards of 5′ x 5′ x 7′. We don’t know why exactly they finally allowed the chimps to live together, but we’ve been told that it had more to do with escaping USDA fines than any concern for their welfare.
We’re not sure if Missy and Annie ever lived together prior to those last two years, though it is possible. We have records from the Coulston Foundation and LEMPSIP, two labs that leased members of the Cle Elum Seven, showing who lived with who, but Buckshire did not record that kind of information.
When we met the chimps at Buckshire, Missy and Annie were already inseparable. They stayed together on a concrete bench at the back of the 2nd cage for most of our visits. Just before coming to the sanctuary, Missy and Foxie had complete hysterectomies as a preventative measure following the discovery of uterine tumors on their last physical exam. Following surgery, Missy and Foxie were kept in separate cages in a different room in the lab to recover. It wasn’t until they regained consciousness after being loaded on the transport trailer that Annie and Missy saw each other again, and it wasn’t until their arrival that they could have physical contact.
We’ve mentioned this a few times on the blog, but many readers may have not read that Missy almost didn’t make it to sanctuary. We’re told by their Buckshire caretaker that after Missy’s surgery, she was being transported back to the lab from the vet’s office (Buckshire did not have a staff vet) when she crashed. The caretaker says he used an AMBU bag to get her breathing again and took her straight back to the vet for evaluation.
It’s hard now to even consider that Missy could have died only weeks before coming to the sanctuary. Thankfully she made it, and she and Annie will be celebrating seven years of sanctuary life together soon.
Thank you J.B. for your time to reply to my question. Oh my. I don’t know what to say. I am still stuck on the 3? x 5? x 5? cages! Thank you PETA for your time and devotion in saving these 7 deserving chimps! So happy PETA somehow connected with all of you.
You may have stated it before but I hadn’t realized that the chimpanzees cages were interconnected, but 4 cages for 7 chimpanzees?! Oh my. I did know about Missy’s near death experience but I didn’t know Foxie also had surgery. I could cry at the thought of Missy loosing her life, but I choose to smile knowing that she now runs free as the wind and swings through the air! Second Chances change everything!
The deep friendship between Annie and Missy means all the more to me after reading your comment. Thanks again.
So happy to be able to see these important milestones!