National Dog Day: Chimp Haven chimps are excited to get a visit from pups

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KEITHVILLE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — To celebrate National Dog Day a couple of pups paid a special visit to the chimpanzees at Chimp Haven.

The chimps were fascinated to see Jax and Parker walk around the sanctuary. It’s not just for fun, the guest appearances from the dogs help keep the chimps mentally and physically stimulated and engaged.

Chimp Haven’s caregivers design special activities from sensory experiences like occasional live classical music or dance performances, to challenging food puzzles where chimps design tools to fish out hidden treats. Dog Days at Chimp Haven are one more way to keep life interesting for these retirees.

“Enrichments are things we give the chimps to engage their mind,” said Hailey Adams, Behavior Technician at Chimp Haven. “It could be something like a fruit they haven’t seen before or lots of different puzzle toys and sometimes it can be special guests like the ones we have for Dog Day.”

For Dog Day at Chimp Haven, Adams’ dogs, Jax and Parker, visit the sanctuary and join the team as they go for a walk outside, and around the chimpanzee habitats. Dogs mix things up for the chimps, sparking their natural curiosity as they observe the dogs from afar.

For many chimps, it’s puppy love at first site. For others, it may be curiosity or wonder. Reactions from the chimps to the dogs vary, several of them run up to the mesh to get a closer look, some observe these new creatures closely, while other chimps “display,” a common behavior where they demonstrate their power to make sure the dogs know who’s boss.

“This gives the chimps something new to see, it’s a change in their environment and to be honest I think it’s really enriching for the dogs too because a chimp is a pretty rare sight,” said Adams. “We do a large variety of enrichment activities here at the sanctuary, but dog days is definitely one of our favorites at Chimp Haven.”

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