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.