Sadie was a beautiful, furry, and plump monkey with a bold personality. She had striking features—long eyelashes and red sex skin (a very attractive female by monkey standards). She stood out from other monkeys in that she desired attention from any person who walked in the room. She pressed her chest up to the mesh cage—a “presenting” behavior—in monkey speak: an invitation to be groomed. One could safely and gently tug at her fur on the other side of the cage without getting injured if she made any sudden movements.
Sadie and her partner, Roz, made it work despite the fact that Roz was very submissive and Sadie was a bit bossy. Sadie was not very nice to her at times, as if she was disappointed in her partner and expected more. Sadie always hogged the attention and the treats.
Even though we were told not to ever touch the monkeys, everyone wanted to groom Sadie. I think she presented for grooming often so that she could gain peoples’ trust so nothing bad would happen to her. She lived in a room with 40 other rhesus monkeys—most of whom were pair-housed (same gender to control breeding) in two-tiered, double-sized stainless steel caging systems –Unless they fought severely with their cage mate, then they lived with a fine mesh panel between them.
I will miss her and the other monkeys for the rest of my life. Had Sadie been given the opportunity to retire, she could have enjoyed her popularity among many monkeys and have space and enrichment. Additionally, laboratory personnel could have seen her live out her days in a peaceful and enriching habitat, and the human morale would be improved too.
Cheers to Sadie! We will always honor her by working to maximize primate retirement through reporting retirement success stories and providing much-needed needed homes to monkeys like Sadie.