June 14, 2019 marks the 3rd annual Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day! This special day was created by the National Primate Sanctuary Alliance and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries to recognize the selfless caregivers who make primate retirement possible. We are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing team of caregivers who work together each day to care for the animals that call Primate Rescue Center home. The team is here 365 days a year, in every type of weather. We spend each day preparing diets and medications, cleaning and enriching enclosures and forging bonds with the residents in order to provide them the best possible life. It’s physically demanding and, at times, emotionally draining. But this job is also unbelievably rewarding.
Each month we take time to champion our fellow caregivers for their hard work and to share some of the joyful moments we have experienced. Recent examples of champion chat have included recognizing caregivers for finding the best way to move a large enclosure, finishing a repair project in the pouring rain, pressure washing large areas of concrete and saving a squirrel who had gotten a bit too close to the chimpanzee enclosure. Acknowledging one another for completing difficult tasks, or just getting through busy times, is a real morale boost to the team.
Our joy journal is constantly being updated. Whether the joy comes from lip smacking with Maddie or Bubbles, watching Junior curl up in his tub at night, seeing Jenny Chimp make a paper nest in a pool after her birthday party or if it is as simple as being grateful for all the volunteers and interns we work with, we make sure to note it as a reminder that the hard work is worth the reward!
Junior resting in his tub full of blankets
Jenny enjoying her paper nest
To celebrate this day we asked each caregiver to tell us one thing that they love about their job.
Being here later in the evening when the sun is about to set. It is just so quiet and peaceful. Before I leave for the night, the monkeys and chimps always like to chat, especially Martina, who always calls me over to the outdoor chimp enclosure to say goodbye.
Spending quality time with the monkeys and having those special one-on-one moments.
When we deep clean an enclosure, we add a bunch of new toys, climbing structures, and treats before we let the primates back in. I love watching how they explore the new items and how happy they get about the treats. It’s amazing to realize how easy they are to please. They even get excited for lettuce!
Witnessing the rehabilitation process firsthand. Residents of the PRC are rescued from private homes and labs. They arrive malnourished, scared and unsure of themselves. Within days, residents discover what it’s like to live without the stress and trauma of their former lives – they find companionship and peace. Knowing that we are able to give these primates second chances at happiness makes it all worthwhile.
Assisting with the introduction of a monkey to a new group, or to another monkey. Watching them find companionship after spending most of their lives alone is really special.
Getting to know the personalities of all of the primates and making a difference in their lives.
Seeing the monkeys and chimps get so excited about their meals and their treats! Their happy chirps and hoots really bring a smile to my face.
Thank you to all of the amazing sanctuary caregivers who make a real difference in the lives of primates and other animals! And thank you to the volunteers, interns, donors, maintenance staff and veterinary staff who help make it all possible.