We were fortunate to have spent a bit of time with Dr. Sheri Speede and some volunteers for IDA Africa when they were in the area the last few days as part of Dr. Speede’s book signing tour for her new book Kindred Beings. She relayed something that we all had in common. It’s related to Debbie’s post from the other day. Here it is: working with chimpanzees is an incredible privilege. It’s not something a lot of people get to do. When I’m walking with Jamie, playing with Burrito, passing a troll to Foxie, taking a photo of Jody, having a quiet interaction with Annie, admiring Missy as she runs on the hill, or simply looking at Negra with my heart swelling with love, I often think about this. But here’s the thing – this is a privilege that we shouldn’t have. I know we’ve expressed this on the blog in direct and indirect ways before. It’s one of those thoughts that you carry with you everyday as a caregiver in a sanctuary. No matter how great the moment is, no matter what amazing and wonderful thing has happened – there shouldn’t be a need for us to have jobs like this, and the chimpanzees we care about so much shouldn’t be here.
But they are here, and so are we. So we do have this privilege, and we are able to pass along this privilege vicariously to you through this blog – to tell their stories and explain what’s it is like to care for chimpanzees. The greatest aspect of working at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is that we all feel this way, really without even thinking about it. We all understand that we are here for chimpanzees who deserved better. They are not here for us. And we will continue to be here for them and make their lives in captivity as good as they possibly can be.
Jody lying down:
Jamie walking on Young’s Hill: