A Present for Herbie

A Present for Herbie

Herbie loves jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, bows, you name it. His favorite, though, are rings, and he’s been coveting one of mine for over a year now. This particular ring has two bands: one that goes on your finger, and another that spins around the main band. Herbie loves sticking his finger through the mesh to delicately spin the outer band, and when he knows he’s been especially well-behaved, he will sometimes tap his nose (his personal sign for “good boy”) as I’m praising him, and point to my hand in question. Luckily for him, that ring recently became too bent out of shape to maintain, so I presented it to Herbie today after 12+ months of persistence. He hissed in excitement and took it immediately, trying it on a couple of fingers before he settled on the tip of his left thumb. Then he rolled over onto his back with his feet sticking straight up in the air (one of his favorite relaxed positions), brought his thumb to his face, and gently spun the band around and around, little happy chirps escaping his lips as he did. It’s often these little things, the brief moments in the day when you notice a behavior or interaction between the chimps that stops you short — regardless of how important the task you were involved in was — that remind us how much of a difference we make in their lives every day. Even something as silly as an old bent ring for Herbie. To see the pleasure and contentment on his face as he spun the band around and around, or to see it still on his thumb six hours later when I went to say goodnight to him, it warms my heart to know I made his life just a little bit better today. After all that these chimps have gone through, even the small moments count.

Rachel, Senior Caregiver