Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Chimp After My Own Heart

As I read the following article at lunch today, I had to do everything in my power to keep from laughing hysterically out loud and disturbing my co-workers. I love the "Offbeat News" section on CNN - and today I came across a "Weird News" section on the Lexington Herald-Leader website. It was there that I found this heart-warming article.

Escaped chimp gets snack, cleans bathroom
Associated Press

"LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An escaped chimpanzee at the Little Rock Zoo raided a kitchen cupboard and did a little cleaning with a toilet brush before sedatives knocked her out on top of a refrigerator.

The 120-pound primate, Judy, escaped yesterday into a service area when a zookeeper opened a door to her sleeping quarters, unaware the animal was still inside.

As keepers tried to woo Judy back into her cage, she rummaged through a refrigerator where chimp snacks are stored. She opened kitchen cupboards, pulled out juice and soft drinks and took a swig from bottles she managed to open.

Keeper Ann Rademacher says Judy went into the bathroom, picked up a toilet brush and cleaned the toilet. Rademacher says the 37-year-old Judy was a house pet before the zoo acquired her in 1988, so she may have been familiar with housekeeping chores. Judy wrung out a sponge and scrubbed down the fridge.

It took a couple of tries, but the zoo sedated the chimp, who fell asleep on top of the refrigerator with half a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread she had pulled out of the freezer.

The zoo veterinarian gave Judy a drug to bring her around. Rademacher says Judy was groggy but fine after the episode.

The zoo says there was no danger Judy would get out of the primate keepers service area and onto zoo grounds."

When I was little, my parents took my sister and me to see a house that was for sale in our neighborhood. We met up with the realtor at the house and she took us on the tour. There really wasn't anything that special about the house, except for one thing in the backyard. The house had a pool with a diving board, and attached to the diving board was this long chain. My sister Megan held up the chain and asked the realtor what it was for. The realtor explained that the previous owners had a chimpanzee for a pet, and that he would play in the backyard with the family. The realtor regaled us with tales of the little chimp doing flips off of the diving board and winning cannonball contests.

But as fun as it all seemed, I still think about that chimp being chained up in a backyard in the suburbs of Houston. And as cute as little Judy was cleaning the toilet, it's sad to think that a chimpanzee knows...well, how to clean a toilet.

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