After Years of Abuse, Chimpanzee Finds Joy in Troll Dolls

Published by Angela Henderson.

Born into captivity in 1976, Foxie’s 39 years were not all easy ones. She spent her early days being used as a subject in cruel hepatitis vaccine studies. She was prodded and poked—and then she was used as a breeding machine.

Foxie before_100_0005 copy EDITEDChimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Chimpanzees are profoundly social, and in the wild, they spend every day together exploring, making and using tools to solve problems, foraging, playing, grooming each other, and making soft nests for sleeping each night. They care deeply for their families and forge lifelong friendships.

However, Foxie doesn’t have this bond with her babies. All four of her babies, including one set of twins, were taken away from her as infants. It’s unknown how old they were when they were taken, but they were seen only as more subjects for cruel experiments.

In 1994, a PETA undercover investigator found 42 chimpanzees imprisoned in tiny cages in the windowless basement of the Buckshire Corporation—a company that supplies animals to laboratories. Foxie was one of these animals. It took 14 years, but finally, with the support of Augustus Club members, PETA contributed $50,000 to help build a new home at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest for the seven remaining chimpanzees from Buckshire to retire to—including Foxie.

When she arrived at the sanctuary in 2008, her caregivers reported that she was cautious of her surroundings and people. It was uncertain how she would cope with life at the sanctuary.

But then Foxie met her first troll doll.

Foxie kiss new troll doll enrichment outdoor area IMG_3409 copy EDITEDChimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

Over the years, thanks to the relentless love shown to her at the sanctuary, Foxie has flourished into a happy, play-loving chimpanzee who interacts with others of her own kind and the humans who care for her. And in turn, she cares for her hundreds of troll dolls.

She holds them:

EDITEDFoxie_sit_structure_choose_dora_troll_doll_birthday_gh_dg_IMG_6862 copyChimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

She lies down beside them:

ed Foxie with troll IMG_5344 EDITEDChimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

She carries them:

Annie_and_Foxie_with_troll_logs_YH_jb_IMG_4841 copy EDITEDChimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

She plays with them:

And she plays with other chimpanzees, too:

She never has to worry about anyone taking away anything she loves ever again.

Although Foxie is now enjoying her days playing with her dolls and friends, many other chimpanzees are still languishing in laboratories. After a government panel concluded that experiments on chimpanzees were “unnecessary,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promised to retire all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries, but since the announcement, few have actually been retired and many have died while waiting.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind