I know you are not here to get yet-another take on the current state of the strange and unprecedented (most over-used word for 2020?) times we are living in or to add to your own personal stress.
Just like so many other people, this pandemic can be rather all-consuming for me too.
Every day, I do recognize that I’m so lucky to have a job. And not just a job, but a job where most of those I interact with (the non-humans) are not consumed by daily death tolls or endless graphs showing morbid peaks.
This week, however, the chimpanzee sanctuary has faced additional stresses. Foxie has been lethargic and hasn’t been eating as much as she normally does and Jamie had a recurrence of an old abscess (I won’t go into details right now, but you can read a bit about it here). All the while we are still closely monitoring Jody’s healing foot. Needless to say, we’ve been constantly in contact with Dr. Erin and consumed with taking temperatures and comparing notes about every possible symptom we see.
Before moving on, I will reassure you that all three of them are doing fine today!
Jody’s foot is looking good and I can hear her ripping up blankets for her nest right now. Foxie is still tired but was quite active today and seems to be catching on that we will sneak her any food she wants – Kelsi just gave her a banana well after dining hours were over. Jamie’s abscess is draining and she is feeling well enough to keep me late to join her on walks around the hill.
Here’s a photo I just took on our walk before sitting down to write this:
I have taken dozens and dozens of photos that look exactly like the one above and I could have taken hundreds over the years. Jamie is keen on rituals that she herself invents.
They say that maintaining rituals and routines helps to cope with uncertainty and stress. I’m personally not great at following that sage wisdom for myself and have found myself unraveling some this week. My own poor coping skills aside, we do have a lot of routines and rituals here at the sanctuary that I enjoy.
Anthony’s post How To Speak CSNW explained a few of them, like “going on a walk” (as above) and the serving of “night bags” to the chimpanzees at the end of the day.
Night bags are a routine that all of the chimpanzees appreciate, and I managed to get a few photos of the chimps enjoying their night bags tonight while I was spot-cleaning the playroom.
Here’s a close up of Missy’s hand where you can see the current night bag mix spilled out on the windowsill so she can pick through it and eat her favorite bits first.
This one shows Jody in the background in “phase one” of eating her night bag:
And here’s Jody’s “phase 2” – sprawled out on her stomach with the night bag between her arms:
Burrito got his bag and ripped it open to pick through with his lips:
Foxie enjoyed hers lying down on the upper deck of the platform:
Jody left her bag and Burrito quickly went to check out what he could scavenge:
Then it was Foxie and Jamie’s turn to see if any of those shells contained an overlooked seed:
With the nightly ritual of the night bags over, and me finished with the spot-cleaning, most of the chimpanzees retired to the playroom to make their nests for the night. But Jamie’s routine does not include going to bed right after dinner…
We’ll see how late she stays up, with me in tow, feeling thankful that she is allowing me to join in her disruptive routine.