Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today Linda and I watched a really interesting show on the PBS channel. It was about animals and the way they help humans. One segment of the show was how dolphins are used for training with physically and mentally impaired children. Dolphins have an inherent sense of how to interact with children, depending on the severity of their disability. They know when to be gentle, as in the case of a little boy who had some severe physical disabilities. One family, who had a little boy with a rare neurological disorder, lives in England but they make the trip to the Florida Keys every year for two weeks of dolphin therapy for their son. The father tapes the sessions so that his son can watch the tapes when they return home. The boy is mesmerized by the dolphins and has a unique connection with them that has brought him out of his world of silence and he has learned to speak. It was pretty amazing.

Another segment of the show talked about chimpanzees who live at Lion Safari in Florida. These chimpanzees were instrumental in research projects in the 60's that led to vaccinations for hepatitis and polio. Many chimps were used early on in the space program, before it was deemed safe for men to travel into space. They were shot into space and then studied once they returned to earth to learn the physiological affects on a body so similar to that of humans. A woman who was one of the researchers, and worked with these chimps, went to Lion Safari to see her old buddies. She had not seen them in 18 years. Once the research had been completed on these particular chimps, they had been moved to this facility in Florida to live out the rest of their lives. It was very touching to see how all of these chimps remembered her and greeted her return with big smiles and hugs. It was very apparent, that even after such a long time, they still remembered her. One of the oldest chimps that she visited was in the hospital when she visited. She said that he had been very instrumental in the research on hepatitis and humanity owed a lot of thanks to him for giving his life for medical science. He died two days after she visited with him.

This woman's dream was to create a place for the hundreds of other research chimps that are throughout the country and have no place to that they are no longer used in the labs. She has been given 200 hundred acres in Shreveport, Louisiana to create an environment where these chimpanzees can live out the rest of their lives in their normal habitat instead of in a cage. What a wonderful thing that will be for these chimps that have given so much to mankind. Seems like the least we can do for them, don't you think ?

1 comment:

Jim and Bobbie said...

Great post with touching stories. I really like it. Miss you so much. Bobbie