Saturday, April 11, arrived sunny, hot, (98 degrees!), with a slight breeze. As some of you know, it was the day we had scheduled
our annual physicals for all of the primates here at the sanctuary. Dedicated volunteers, Bobby, Kathy, Gerri, Frank and Jill all arrived with bells on and helped us get prepared for the day. Tom and I were stressed and had been for several weeks preceding this because of the necessity to capture and anesthetize all of our little friends. Tom had devised several methods of capture and we were prepared with gloves, helmets, nets and tranquilizer gun. I had planned out a centralized location for work to be done if it was required, but, we were not certain if work on the animals would be done within their habitats or what the vet would want to do, so there were several plans of attack prepared. We also had our own version of a Water Boy, a veritable “Gunga Din” in Frank, who made it his job to turn on the waters and fill swimming pools after each primate had been removed to the “Hospital Porch”. We had to withhold all food and liquids the night before.
Susan Clubb, DVM, our veterinarian and her vet tech Joanne arrived around 9:30 and we walked the place so she could get her
bearings and decide a plan of attack. We decided to centralize out of the Primate Kitchen/Laundry porch and cleared it quickly of Dobby’s playthings. We transported the stainless steel food prep tables onto the porch, used one of his chains with rings to suspend the water needed for the dental equipment, set up a staging table for vet supplies, a separate grooming table for Jill, (one of our wonderful volunteers who is a professional dog groomer!), who was donating her time and skill to groom all of the primates as they were sedated and proceeded with manicures and pedicures for all of them as well! We had shots done, TB testing, ID chips implanted, blood work on some, full physical exams, fecal exams, teeth cleaned, and anything else the vet felt necessary. When Dr Clubb was finished her work on each one in turn, they were transferred to the grooming table for a veritable spa treatment at Jill’s Primate Spa and then into the arms of loving volunteers until they showed signs of waking. Then they were placed in cages or carriers and when fully awake, taken back to their homes. Some came back very fast, others a little longer, but all in all it was a great day.
What big teeth you have Kanji!
One glitch came up with a shortage of ID chips, so I made some calls and with the help of our county animal control friends, Frank and Doug, we located some chips we could use from the Caloosa Humane Society. I went on a whirlwind dash to LaBelle to get them. Meanwhile our group feasted on a great potluck lunch our volunteers had brought and all was back in swing by the time I arrived with the extra ID chips. Dobby got his ID chip and his shots and he swung around in his big green house on the porch watching all of the antics and tried to pick on all of the big primates while they were knocked out…brave little soul!
The only failure we had was with Monkey Boy and Stitches…the squeeze cage plan Tom had devised failed and Monkey Boy gave us some terrifying moments as he managed to struggle out of a minute gap in the structure and escape back into their big habitat. The whole experience frightened them so much, we had to abort that plan and we will schedule another attempt to do their physicals after we complete their tower and devise a squeeze system in the
travel chute to and from the tower and their primary habitat. It was disappointing, but necessary.
Kathy and Mickey
We have received the results of the fecal; all are negative and all of the blood work appears to be normal. This week my job was to observe the TB test sites…in the left eyelid of each primate…for 72 hours and record any adverse reactions. I am happy to say all were clear and only a slight swelling occurred over Spanky’s left eye, unless you count the day Tang and Hope had a food fight with the baked sweet potato and Tang had smashed sweet potato over his whole face! What a gross mess that was…rather like when a bride smashed a groom’s face with a piece of the wedding cake!
All in all, it went well and we have survived another year’s trauma and satisfied our requirements for another year. On that note, I
would like to mention, that our volunteers need to update their TB tests too. Now that we know all of our guys are clear, we need to make sure you all are too.
Jill and Hope
This weekend, Tom and I went up to an exotic animal breeding farm in Umatilla that is closing to look at some cages and fence panels they are selling. Hopefully, some of these can be incorporated into a creative habitat for our primates. Their sturdy, yet minimal caging can be creatively redesigned and combined for some spectacular habitats in the future and provide wonderful housing and enrichment areas for our guys at a fraction of the cost new. It was sad to see a single cage their animals lived in, but it will be exciting to plan, combine and develop several of these structures into a great future for our primates. This is recycling at its best! We will do a creative habitat for Dobby in the next few months, even if we can’t afford the night house right now. He will be coming into the house at night for the next year or so anyway, because of the care required for gibbon babies. So, if any of you have ideas for fund raising, we are open to ideas.
Gerri and Kelpie
We have been fortunate to receive wonderful organic vegetables in copious amounts lately from Little Cypress Organics, a farm outside of Clewiston. They have been very generous to our guys and our selves as well. They have even given us a freezer for us to use for the guys! Wooo HOO! Our website hosting has been graciously donated by Pet Web Pro this year and that is one less expense we have!! (Thank you Molly!!) Marc Ellis and his friend, Whitney did a great solicitation campaign all on their own and brought in quite a few donations towards our expenses just in the last week! KUDOS to all who have contributed their time and money over the last few weeks and months!! It has been greatly appreciated by all of us human and nonhuman primates at the sanctuary.
Frank and Tang
On that note, I wish to thank all who have donated this past month to help us defray the costs of the annual physicals. I know how hard it is now, particularly in this economy, to think of our primates, when keeping our jobs and our homes together is foremost in our thoughts. We have all taken cuts in pay, had our hours reduced and so on, so supporting our apes and monkeys despite the hardships is heroic and we are very grateful for your help and support. Thank you to all for your time, your thoughts and prayers and for those of you who have been able to help financially and with your time, we are truly grateful.
Come and visit when you can.