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From Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers
In this true story of resilience and recovery, a journalist writes about his encounters with 13 chimpanzees at a Montreal sanctuary for abused animals.
In 1997, Gloria Grow and Richard Allan owned an idyllic farm outside Montreal, but for Gloria, idyll wasn't enough. Searching for a purpose, she began taking in abused and neglected animals — dogs, pigs, horses, and a donkey. Even so she was feeling adrift and depressed until a two-week course at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute changed everything.
Chimpanzees are humans' closest genetic relatives and thus have been subjected to horrifying biomedical research for decades. The chimps involved in these studies are damaged physically and psychologically after years of isolation, pain, and terror, and Gloria decided to help those she could. A habitat was constructed, and the first seven chimps to reside at Fauna Sanctuary were smuggled from their New York lab with the help of sympathetic research veterinarian Dr. James Mahoney.
Westoll spent several months living with and caring for the thirteen chimps at Fauna: wise Tom, sweet Pepper, frantic Rachel. "I can't help thinking how disquieting it is that Western culture demands irrefutable proof for so many things that our sensing bodies already know," he writes. For these damaged chimps are caring, intelligent animals, healing slowly, yet capable of greater forgiveness toward humans than even the hopeful can imagine.