Happy Dog Days of August, Friends!

Here at the sanctuary we have finally been getting some rain and the bamboos are really filling in around the cages. The shade is great and the kinetic energy created by the bamboos after a slight breeze is filtering small breezes through the cages and helping everyone’s comfort level. We have been cutting a lot of bamboo for browse. We spent several days fertilizing the bamboo and some more just trimming them up. Composting is progressing because of the rain too, so now we actually have some rich black compost to use on some of the bamboos to help them jumpstart their growth.

Thanks to Jill Van Damm-Good and Frank Pace we were able to purchase a mosquito machine for the area near Kitaro, Roc, Monkey Boy and Stitches. Wooo Hooo! It has made a significant difference in the mosquitoes there. The Florida Bat Society has donated two wonderful bat houses to encourage bats to live near Hope and Tang’s cage for more natural mosquito control. They will be mounted on the light pole by their cage.

Thank you all for your concern on our primate’s behalf.

The apes and monkeys are feeling lazy by noontime and siestas are their way of life.
I envy their naps, but there is always something to do around here. The rains create more laundry because, naturally, these guys do NOT pick up their toys, sheets and blankets. The boxes we use for lunch boxes and treat boxes are always getting wet and nasty after a storm so extra cage cleaning is necessary. Then too, food is always being processed for our five feedings a day. Dishes need washing, the kitchen needs cleaning and the floors need sweeping. Browse is cut, blankets are folded and stored, grass mowing, trimming vegetation around the cages, raking around the cages, lime spread around cages, paper work filled out, programs created, lectures planned and given, grant applications and so on are constants around here. All of the apes and monkeys looking constantly for attention and enrichments need to be made up and distributed. Pshew…long hot days.
In August, Dobby had his first training session with a collar and leash. Kathy helped to attach the leash and off we went. The collar went around his waist and he was surprised by the sudden stop at the end of the leash. Dobby literally leaped in the air trying to race forward at top speed at the end of the leash length and flew much to his amazement. Then we positioned him by the bamboo and he started to cling, but finally started to climb. When he reached the end of the leash again his frustration was apparent. We had a bit of trouble getting him down! This training will be a part of his daily routine now.

The big news this month is that Sunday, August 9th, was Dobby’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! Can anyone believe it has been one whole year since that stunning morning when Stitches gave us such a wonderful surprise? I explained in our last newsletter that we had purchased two used cages to be reconditioned for Dobby’s Future Habitat, and the plans have now been finalized. We are waiting to accrue funds to start the work, but we plan to wait until the heat dissipates a bit. It has been hovering around 100 degrees every day. Some days hotter, and very few less hot! Dobby is currently playing daily in the temporary cage we created for the spider monkeys last year. He seems to enjoy it and he is developing his brachiating skills. It is preparing him for his eventual life as a gibbon in our habitats of travel tunnels and chute systems, or as one of our volunteers, Sherri, calls it “Chutes and Ladders Game”. A great birthday present to Dobby would be a contribution towards his habitat, if any one is so inclined.

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I have attached a few photos of Dobby’s leash adventure. He will be visiting our vet for his next shots and one year physical on Friday. He will also be visiting our favorite bamboo nursery to run around there for a few hours, just as many of our primates have before!

Keep in touch and come and visit when you can.

Missing you,

Debbie M.