Annie has always had a nervous disposition. In the years immediately following her arrival at the sanctuary, she was prone to bouts of acute anxiety akin to panic attacks. Thankfully, these have become less and less frequent over the years but they still occur on occasion. While it’s hard for us to say exactly what sets them off, they appear to be triggered by tension or ambiguity in social relationships. It’s hard to be a primate, as we all know too well.
This afternoon, I spent some time photographing the chimps as they quietly patrolled the hill, foraged for browse, and climbed the various towers and play structures. At one point I noticed Annie nearby with her hair standing on end. I could tell something was wrong.
She began to pant-hoot softly, each hoot trailing off into a whimper. Alone, she walked hurriedly to a climbing structure and began to climb the ladder. But she turned back before reaching the top.
Soon her whimpers grew into screams.
Her walk became a sprint.
She was alone and desperate for reassurance.
There’s only one person that Annie looks to in moments like these.
Just then, Missy emerged from the greenhouse and into Annie embrace.
And like that, Annie’s face began to soften.
And her breathing began to slow.
As Katelyn mentioned recently, the relationship between Annie and Missy can be complicated at times. Thankfully for Annie, there are still times when it is predictably straightforward and simple. Because Annie is the kind of person that needs someone to lean on.
Poor little Annie, that was heartbreaking.
I’m so Thankful she has her bestie Missy to lean on.
I wonder if it was snake related? I know she is really scared of them, poor sweetie.
Linda C says
But I think they go away with the cold
Annie is certainly afraid of snakes but this was most likely due to some kind of social tension.
Linda C says
Such a beautiful thing.
Nancy D. says
An old song popped into my head while reading about Annie and Missy’s relationship.
‘You’ve got a friend in me, you’ve got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Girl, you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
You got your troubles, I got ‘em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and see it through
Cause you’ve got a friend in me.
Leonie McGregor says
Oh how sweet they are. The fact you can describe exactly what is happening is a credit to the time and involvement you have with them.
I adore learning about their relationships, the good and the bad; as well as about their species in general.
I will admit tho, I’m stunned they poop anywhere and everywhere. I honestly thoughts they’d have a system (as in place) that was set aside for this purpose.
Not many species poop where they live.
Linda C says
Not in their nests. They sort of have designated spots.
There was a blog post about it not long ago.
And it’s not like like they can request the key to the lavatory.
Gorillas and other primates do the same, as do hippos, etc
It’s hard to be a primate. Amen to that.
It is hard to be a primate.. and it is hard to watch from a distance it being hard to be a primate.. my heart raced as I read through this…. and yet it is heart-healing to see reassurance come when it was so needed… no matter how complicated…. it is also good to have a friend like Missy, sweet Annie.. we all feel for you. Thanks J.B.
This brought me to tears…happy tears.
Poor Annie! I guess we’ll never know what caused her anxiety/fear out there today. Must be horrible to have ‘panic attacks’ like that, poor girl. Annies’s fear grimace is just gut wrenching to look at, I can only imagine what it is like to witness in person. But Missy’s quick response to come to the rescue and comfort Annie reassured me that all will be well because Annie has Missy. It’s as if their BFF relationship goes far beyond friendship, they are family, sisters.
John Joseph O'Brien says
It’s always nice to have that one friend who will be there for us in the good and in those anxious times. I am glad Annie has her BFF in Missy.
Heart wrenching to see, but thank goodness for Missy’s comfort. I’m always amazed that after their previous lives, there aren’t more of them with anxiety problems…..as happy and secure as they are now, such intelligent beings must surely remember their early years. Who knows what caused this…a real or imagined threat, but to her, it triggered something. Does she ever play or groom with any of the others?
Linda C says
Grooming, for sure.
Playing is an interesting question
Most of Annie’s grooming is directed towards Missy but occasionally she will groom with other chimps if Missy is part of the circle. Lately, Annie can be found playing with Burrito, especially in the mornings as they wait for their playroom forage to be put out after cleaning. Annie also plays with Foxie once and a while but we all hold our breath when that happens because they tend to misinterpret each other’s signals and it’s not uncommon for those play bouts to end in screaming matches.
Thanks J.B. I had Burrito in mind when I asked. Love the way he plays with Negra so nicely.
Elaine Reininger says
What an incredible post. Capturing the photos and then describing what was happening, great writing skills. The tears just welled in my eyes when you said that suddenly Missy appeared from the greenhouse followed by the photos of the reassuring embrace. You out-did yourself on this one, JB. Great Job.
Tami Roy says
What a touching story! I cried reading about the terror she faces and was so happy to seeMissy come running. Their complex lives are fascinating!
Vicki Pike Jarratt says
We all need someone even primates. You never know what someone is going thru so be that special “someone” to someone. Thank God for Missy.
JB, I concur with everyone’s comments about how both sweet and profound these relationships are among the various chimps. I’m so glad Missy and Annie have each other despite the occasional misinterpretations and screaming bouts. The complexities of relationships are hard for all of us! Thanks for all you do to share their lives with us!
I wonder if she is having memories of a bad experience in her life. Humans have memories pop up for apparently no reason. I believe my cat, who is a rescue, freaks out sometimes and scratches the wall because he is remembering being locked in a basement.