Today’s blog title is based off of one of my favorite tenet’s of sanctuary.
We take them for where they are in life and love them for who they are.
We take them as they are.
Each chimp that we have the opportunity to care for, love, and get to know here at CSNW is unique. Their personalities are different and vary from the more human oriented chimps like Jamie to the more chimps-chimp oriented like Annie, to the super playful like Burrito, to the reserved but sweet and gentle (and sometimes spicy / gravity defying) Lucky. Their differences make them who they are and we love them because of these differences- not in spite of these differences.
A few days ago, Caregiver Sabrina posted a blog about lessons that we have learned from the chimps. Along with everything listed there, something I will always carry with me is how sanctuary provides the space they deserve to be cared for and loved unconditionally. Some days are hard, and some parts of chimp dynamics are hard to understand from a human perspective, but no matter what’s happened- we will always be here for them. And the same goes for the cattle, of course.
For example- last week I was standing with Jamie asking if she wanted to groom, but she was focused on something happening in the kitchen. Annie came over, sat, and looked up at me- so I offered her the grooming tool. She took it and groomed me for longer than she ever has before. Later that afternoon, I found Gordo sitting in the Oakwood Greenhouse. He did a little knuckle tap and headed over to sit on the log that he frequents, that was also conveniently right in a nice, warm ray of sunshine. I took a seat outside- and we just sat. I kept expecting him to walk away or gesture that he wanted me to leave, but he stayed facing me, just being quiet. After a while I walked in to check on things in the foyer and when I went back out he had gone into the playroom. The moment was over, but it will stay with me.
These might be the only two moments where I spend one-on-one time with both of them this month, or maybe not. But either way, they’re family.
These moments with Annie and Gordo aren’t more special than moments with the other chimps, that goes without saying. But if Jody’s loss taught me anything, it’s to appreciate every moment they give us.
And, man- unconditional love? That’s a pretty great thing… Isn’t it.