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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Life Goes On

Bow spent three days last week with Lawrence, because I was helping my daughter get ready for school. She is a sophomore in high school now, and since Bow is only two and a half years younger, you can imagine that he, too, is getting more mature.

Bow surveying the outside world this morning

In the news, Robin Williams died at his own hand, and Koko the gorilla, who had personally met him, expressed sadness. Then animal rights activists scoffed and said it was shameful that Koko's "handlers" were using her in this way. Some experts on great apes seem to be of the opinion that it could not possibly be true that an ape could express sadness over the death of someone she knew. Is it any wonder that I feel a little wary to report anything that Bow says about anything?

I wonder sometimes whether people think I am Bow's "handler".  Isn't that what they call members of the entourage of an actor or other celebrity? Why would they call someone who lives with an ape a handler? Is it because Koko is famous that they used that term to refer to Francine Patterson? Or is every family member considered a handler?

Of course, Bow never met Robin Williams, and we did not talk about his death. But the cat is still out there and meows in the night and upsets the dogs, and the dogs bark and wake Bow up, and sometimes he overturns things in the inner pen in the dark when he's upset. And then in the morning, when I ask why he did that, he says: "Because of the cat."

The cat has been making itself at home on our front porch

And then another member of the family says: "It's not the cat's fault. You should take responsibility for your own actions." And Bow has no answer for that.

What Bow says is one thing, and whether it is true is another. Even when a gorilla expresses sadness over the passing of a celebrity she knew, I suppose we can question her sincerity. But they say that gorillas are far more honest than chimps, so chances are, she really was sad.

Brownie and Leo are confined to the back yard in the day and come in at night. But they know that the cat is out there, and it bothers them.

Bow has grown philosophical about it of late. He knows that whatever happens with that cat, his life will proceed as usual. So he has stopped blaming that outside cat for everything that goes wrong in the pens. This, of course, does not mean that he is ready to take full responsibility for his own behavior. However, I know a lot of humans who have the same problem. And life goes on...


  1. I can understand your being wary to report what Bow may have to say about anything. There are so many bossy people - all self-appointed experts - out there who are willing to be critical of anything that is not done to their exact specifications. Funny thing is, that's what makes life interesting isn't it? ;-)
    I love reading about what Bow has to say about just anything!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. It's usually pretty small stuff these days, that Bow has to share.

  2. Why would anyone care if Koko was sad about Williams. How do people have enough time to get upset about such things. Everyone wants to spend time mucking around in other people's business I guess.

    1. Hi, Julia. It is hard to understand why Koko being sad would upset anyone. But both Koko and Williams are public figures, they did meet, and Koko is sad. And yet there are people who are tweeting how very wrong it is that this fact has been communicated to the public. One such person is a Professor of Anthropology who has published a book about how animals grieve. Apparently, something about Koko's grief does not accord with her theories, so she does feel it is her business to comment. She often makes appearances on NPR, and people listen to her.