Foxie is an endearing soul. She is small in stature, but never in spirit. With each passing season we have watched her grow stronger, braver and more curious about her sanctuary surroundings and all on offer to her. When the chimps first arrived Foxie was exceptionally leery of enrichment, the structures, things touching her, new things in general – all understandable. Though she still tends to be cautious, she is now often the first to lead her family out to explore every inch of new structures, investigate any perceived threats, and expel intruders with a swipe or whack of her Dora or troll doll du jour as she protects her home and her family.
Foxie is a joyful soul. She often spins, pirouettes, chases, climbs, leaps, and back-flips her way through the day and brings so much happiness to all our lives. She tends to be the peacemaker of the group and prefers for everyone to get along and when arguments inevitably erupt as they do in any family, especially a chimp family, she is often the person offering reassurance and encouraging reconciliation. That said, she has no problem voicing her opinion when she is upset with someone. I’ve watched her go after her good friend, Burrito, in a fury when he’s done something to make her angry. And I’ve also watched her hold out her small arms to him as he jumps into them for reassurance, bowling this tiny woman over. But she rights herself and holds tight to her dear blustery friend until he’s calmed.
Foxie is an intelligent, loving, forgiving, and sassy soul. She has ten tiny, fantastic toes that she likes to hold outside the caging and wiggle at her caregivers or tickle the backs of our hands with. She loves to get mouthfuls of water and playfully spit on us. One of her favorite summertime games is “inside – outside chase” in which she runs from one end of the chimp house to the other as we meet her at either side from the outside. She seems to think this is hilarious. She blows raspberries with gusto to let us know when she wants something, like more breakfast smoothie or a doll outside the caging or sometimes just our company. She sometimes calls me over as we’re closing the chimp house for the night and just reaches out and holds her finger to my hand and gazes into my eyes with a quick head nod before making her way to bed for the evening. She’s removed splinters from my hand, reassured me when I’ve been hurt, and has even held boss lady, Jamie’s, arm to stop her when she has thrown poop at me.
Foxie is a mother to two sons, David and Steve – a rare set of twins – and two daughters, Angie and Kelsey. She is an important member of a family who greatly loves her. She is an inspiring and larger than life example of not only what it means to overcome and heal, but to thrive. And she is one of my best friends. I think sometimes your heart holds so much love for someone it feels as though it can’t possibly fit into one small, beating space, let alone into words. But if it fit into a picture, it would look like this woman.