I came to Save the Chimps in 2016 from a private owner. I had a bit of a rocky start in life, first as a TV movie star where a trainer had all my teeth removed. I was then sold to a breeder who put me in a cage with an older aggressive female who bit me repeatedly. Then I went to a farm where I was safe but lived without the companionship of another chimp.
When I came to Save the Chimps, I quickly made an impression on our staff and chimps alike with my non-stop desire to play! I quickly made friends in he Special Needs Building, in a small family group of Walden, Garrey, Millie, and Geraldine. Always a bright spot in everyone’s day, I am known for demanding the attention of anyone and everyone within my field of view for a play session. I even convinced Millie, a sweet but quiet and shy female in my group, to have gentle play sessions with me.
The Behavior Department was eager to find the right island family for me. It was determined that Kiley’s family might be a good fit for me. Introductions were started, and I did well one-on-one with a few of the chimps and even had a few adventures out on Kiley’s island but it can be intimidating being the newcomer in a new environment within an established family group. Inevitably, I would return to hang out with Walden with whom I felt the most safe. And while Walden was always patient with me, Walden has his own BFF—Virgil—with whom he prefers to hang one-on-one, leaving me feeling like a bit of a third wheel.
I just didn’t have “my” own one-on-one companion – my own BFF. That is, until I was introduced to Lisa Marie. As soon as the door was opened between us, the laughter and playing started and continued non-stop, for days. “Being the previous newcomer to Kiley’s group, Lisa Marie might helped me make the transition into the family.
I continue to be slowly be introduced to members of Kiley’s family and to island life, but my confidence has grown, and I seem to feel much more at home with Lisa Marie by my side. Big pant-hoot and hoorays to the care staff at Kiley’s Island and our thoughtful Behavior staff who continue to be flexible and patient so that I feel more and more comfortable getting to know my new chimpanzee family on my permanent island home.