A few months back, this irresistible photo showed up on the internet. Hours after his birth on a farm in Britain, this foal was abandoned by his mother, perhaps because she had no milk. The foal ran from mare to mare, trying to suckle and being turned away. The farmer brought him, scratched and dehydrated, to Devon-based Mare and Foal Sanctuary. There they named him Breeze, and administered medical care. The ordeal had traumatized the foal, and he couldn’t sleep. A staff member got the bright idea to put Buttons, a giant Teddy Bear, into Breeze’s stall. As you can see, Buttons did the trick. Breeze found a replacement for his mother.
The story about the bond between mother and baby reminded of something I saw last winter. I visited the Big Cat Habitat near our home in Sarasota, FL. Big Cat is a sanctuary run by the Rosaire family, renowned animal trainers and rescuers of unwanted animals, mostly cats, for over 35 years. I looked into an enclosure at a Capuchin monkey with pendulous breasts. One of the Rosaires, who was standing nearby, told me the monkey’s story.
A little girl visited the sanctuary one day, holding a small stuffed teddy bear. Kylie, the monkey, grabbed the toy and took it to her house. When the staff tried to remove it, Kylie began shrieking and flailing. She grew so agitated that the visitor agreed to surrender her teddy bear. Kylie was so devoted to her “baby” that she grew breasts. Concerned, the staff called the vet. They could administer painful hormone injections, the vet said. Or they could leave the wanna-be-mama alone. They left her alone. She guarded her baby with devotion for about two months until it turned to shreds. By then, Kylie was ready to let her baby go. The tattered teddy was removed with no further drama.
Speaking of Big Cat, we have some celebrities in the neighborhood. Two Big Cat occupants are current movie stars. Chance, a chimpanzee, and Handsome, a lion, are featured in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Wolf of Wall Street. They play exotic pets brought into the office of an out-of-control stockbroker. Chance learned to roller skate for the part. Chance and DiCaprio “really liked each other and worked well together,” says Big Cat owner Kay Rosaire.
Kay calls her animals “professionals.” Their earnings help support the nonprofit sanctuary, which also houses many non-working animals.
(Please send me your Godsigns stories, whatever kind of monkey business they involve.)