As you all know, Jamie usually requests/demands a walk around Young’s Hill first thing in the morning. In fact, Jamie is about the only individual to request a go around the hill. But then yesterday, something peculiar happened. Jamie had requested a walk with caregiver Katelyn. This usually is the time Burrito and I find ourselves in a play session. Occasionally, he would sprint out of the raceway and onto the hill, but then sprint back into the Greenhouse where our games continued. But instead of running back inside, he kept going! He stopped turned around and waited for me. I sprinted to play catch up with him. It was then Jamie/Katelyn in front, followed by Burrito/Chad in the middle, and Missy/caregiver Anthony/Gator in the end (though Missy sprinted as fast as she could and found herself waaay ahead of all of us). This was a tale that had zero video or photographic evidence. It was something I felt I could tell, but nobody would ever believe because there was no proof. There was no way Burrito would invite anybody on a walk. That’s a Jamie thing.
Flash forward to today…
As I drove up to the sanctuary, there was some light fog hanging overhead.
But shortly after, it was a clear, beautiful day.
As I let the Group of 7 onto Young’s Hill, a few went out, but not many. I gave it a little while before I went back to check on them and try to get some photos, since today was going to be a eventful day (wait for it toward the end of today’s post). Jamie was inside the Greenhouse watching everything happen through one of the windows that looks into the Playroom. Burrito, however, was very energetic and wanted to play chase, tug-o-war, tag, among many other games. I told him it would have to be a quick play session since I still needed to help clean. Then it happened. He looked at me, then looked at the door that leads to the hill, and sprinted outside. I thought this would not be the same scenario as it was yesterday. “This couldn’t possibly be another invitation to go around the hill,” I thought. But as he made his way further out, he stopped, looked back, and bounced up and down. So I was off to the races.
The video above are small clips of a walk, with short bursts of sprints, around the hill. (Please do not mind my out of breath panting! I always forget how difficult it is to run with a mask on.)
In between those clips, I tried to take photos of others enjoying Young’s Hill.
Missy and Foxie were found on one of the platforms.
Annie was on one of the platforms that one of the furthest up on Young’s Hill.
And Meredith watched as Burrito and I played chased around the hill.
And I took this one of Burrito and I coming back after our second time around Young’s Hill.
Before I continue, I must admit, I cannot help but cherish moments like this with Burrito. I always have cherished any moment I have with him (and all the other residents here). But after his scare with the rattlesnake bite, I can’t even describe the feeling. Though most of us on staff are exhaling huge sighs of relief more so now since he is doing so much better, you can catch glimpses of slight being on edge still between all of us from time-to-time. Some of us even still talk about what we were doing when we found out what had happened. I remember it perfectly. I was still at the local farmers’ market, pretty much buying out every stand that sold sunflowers (I was buying them to prepare for Annie’s birthday). I had just posted a photo on my own personal social media accounts about how happy I was to find such big and lovely sunflowers for such an occassion. Not two minutes after I posted that (I hadn’t even started my car yet to go home), I got the call. This part I admit I don’t remember so well. All I heard was “Burrito” “rattlesnake” bitten”, and some how, some way the next thing I remember is that I was at the sanctuary hearing over the radio, “Chad, after you have changed over, please come in here and keep B company.” He was still his goofy self, but at that point you could tell something wasn’t right. As more and more staff arrived as well as our veterinarian, it gets very blurry after that. I do remember afterwards, when it was my turn to monitor his recovery after the procedure, telling him as he was coming to, “Oh Bubby. You will be fine. You will pull out of this. I know you will because what would I do without you? I honestly can’t imagine a life without Burrito.” So my confession is this, I was scared. I was on a level of scared I had not been in such a long time. The rest of the staff would agree that I am one of the least likely to show or share my feelings, but this one I will share. The next few weeks, as Kelsi said, were filled with sleepless nights for all of us because we just didn’t know what was going to happen next. And the worst thought to pop into our heads was we might lose him (I think Diana said it better than I could). We honestly had no idea what was going to happen with Hoot! after we added his medical expenses page. But within 24 hours, so many people had donated to ensure he was covered. I think we all got a little sentimental about that. I have said this before and I will say it again, in all sincerity, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Thank you for helping with this unexpected cost. Thank you for all your support. And thank you for helping us keep our friend alive. Without your unwavering support, days like today might not have happened. One last time: THANK YOU!
Sorry for the long winded rant. No onward to other happy news.
As I mentioned before, there was a lot happening today. Both groups were very interested.
What are they looking at?
Today the construction crew began laying out the concrete floors to the new playrooms.
Progress is being made! Soon enough, days like today will seem like a distant memory as we watch Mave, Honey B, and Willy B, as well as a new group of chimpanzees, enjoy these rooms!