Jungle News: May 17, 2003

The Adventures of Murphy Brown
by Shelly Ladd

Murphy Brown and I left Los Angles in a private jet donated by Peter Vegso, publisher of the "Chicken Soup For The Soul" books, and arrived at Jungle Friends on Thursday April 10th. Murphy did great traveling in the lap of luxury and we were interviewed by the local news when we arrived at the airport.

Once we got settled in at Jungle Friends, Murphy became the sweetest, friendliest monkey in the land. I don't know what happened to the real Murphy Brown.... this certainly wasn't her. Friday afternoon I took Murphy to meet monkeys for the first time in her life. Murphy and I sat in front of Grand Central, a very large habitat in the center of JF. Gizmo, Louie, Connie, Iris, Tyler and Buddie all came around to check out the new girl.... Murphy remained calm. Cappy did his very loud happy screams...Murphy remained calm. Jimmy the jerk threw a stick and hit me in the head.... Murphy remained calm. Who was this monkey? She was never this calm in her life.... What happened?

It finally dawned on me. Murphy was home now and she knew it. I had played her the JF video more times than I care to count. When she was in renal failure and not expected to live, I played her that video and told her if she would just get better we would come to JF and she could be with her friends. She would look up and watch the monkeys in the overhead runways, swinging on ropes, hiding in barrels, playing in the trees and having fun and I know in my heart that helped pull her through. She was finally home...with her own kind.

Buddie and Murphy BrownThat Friday night was still very cold (there was a cold snap that broke a 93 year old record) so Murphy and I slept together as we have done so many times before. Saturday, it was warmer so Murphy got to go into the Clinic habitat with access to runways and other areas. First Louie, then Gizmo, then Connie were let in with her, one at a time. Murphy did very well, she was neither aggressive nor submissive she was respectful, as were they. When it started to get dark, I went into the clinic enclosure and Murphy got on my shoulder and we spent the night together once more. Sunday, we introduced Buddie and Tyler at the same time and once again Murphy was interested, but did not make any advances. Buddie finally came over and lay down next to Murphy and Murphy started grooming her. That was the first time Murphy had ever touched another monkey and she will be nine years old in October. You cannot imagine how watching this tender moment she shared with Buddie warmed my heart!

Later that day Buddie and Tyler wanted to go back to their group so Murphy spent her time foraging in the mulch, catching bugs and checking out the other monks. When it started to get dark, I went into the clinic enclosure and Murphy went outside. I went outside, Murphy went inside. Murphy was trying to tell me she was a real monkey now and didn't need to sleep with her human mom anymore. I cried a lot of tears that night, of both sorrow and joy and I continue to do so. On Monday Murphy was introduced to the group in its entirety: Gizmo, Connie, Buddie, Tyler, Louie, and Iris.

On April 23rd Dr. Reyes did a physical and a glucose test. Murphy's glucose was 160, lower than it had been in years, and she showed no signs of renal failure or the anemia she had in Los Angeles after the bee attack. Dr. Reyes was impressed by Murphy's good health. On May 9th, just in time for Mother's Day, we did another blood test for glucose. Murphy gave me a very nice present, her blood glucose was 116. Normal is 65 to 125. In fact, all of her blood work was excellent! Once Murphy is stabilized, we hope to wean her off the insulin.

It is now May 17th and I am still here. It's not so much that my monkey needs me; it is the humans that have now become dependent on me. I have taken on the job of feeding the big monkeys and making improvements to their habitats. That certainly keeps me busy and away from Murphy so that she can learn to be a real monkey. We give out blankets at night so I do go tuck her in. Last night Little Louie slept with her.... he is awfully cute!

I am very lucky to have a husband that understands how hard this is for me, and is giving me the freedom to stay as long as it takes. I will never say goodbye for long, as Jungle Friends has now become my second home.