Written by: Glee Larsen
I began my chimpcare training in the summer of 2010, and so have been interacting directly with Tatu, Dar, and Loulis for over two years now. I feel that our friendship has grown tremendously over the past year in particular. When I went back home for a break during the summer of 2012, this was the first time I really felt like I was leaving friends in Ellensburg. But these were not friends who I could simply call, text, or message online when I wanted to have a chat with them.
As summer wore on I missed the chimpanzees more and more, but I also became anxious, wondering what their reactions would be when I saw them again. Would they be upset that I had been gone for three months? Would they be excited to see me? Or would they be indifferent, being used to this sort of break after so many years of seeing caregivers come and go?
When I came back in late September and went in to greet them, we had a very pleasant reunion. I was greeted with the usual kiss on the wrist from Dar and an invitation to play chase, an excited Loulis (who also gave me a kiss) ready to play lots of shoe tickle, and an engaging Tatu, who wanted to sign with me about pictures on my cell phone.
The photos here are of a nice play session consisting of chase and tickle games that I had with Loulis some time after my return from summer break. I will always cherish these memories with my friends, and if Dar’s passing has taught me anything, it is never to forget this. I have also learned to remember that the chimpanzees cherish these moments as well and so it is important to make them meaningful and plentiful while we are here together at CHCI.