PPI says goodbye to gentle giant Raisin

It is with great sadness we share the news that beloved chimp, Raisin, 47, died on Aug. 15.

She was one of our larger chimps at the sanctuary, a true gentle giant.

“Raisin had the kindest eyes—they were truly the windows to her gentle soul,” said care giver Libby Smidl. “Raisin welcomed all of her care givers to become extensions of her group. Raisin was quick to become everyone’s best friend, including mine.”

One of our favorite Raisin stories is how executive director Brooke Chavez decided to share her birthday, July 17, with her.

Raisin was snatched from the wild and sold to a roadside petting zoo and then to Buckshire Corporation—which bred and leased chimps to research labs and the entertainment industry— so her home and family were not the only things stolen from her, her birthday was too. There was never a birth date included in her paperwork.

Raisin adored her summer birthday parties with her best friends Mandy, April, Buffy and Buck.

Care givers were always impressed by Raisin’s determination and strength—she had no top teeth, but that never stopped her from eating; she was vision impaired; and she lived with acral myosarcoma for over 13 years. The condition caused large tumors to grow in her hand, which limited her mobility. However, Raisin still found a way to climb to her favorite spot, a blue firehose hammock at the highest point of her habitat. She would gather her blankets, snacks and favorite magazines and begin the climb. She would overlook the pond, watch the ducks swim by and bask in the sunshine.

“She constantly provided so many life lessons for us all. She seemed to find happiness just by being alive and spending time with her habitat companions and care staff who all loved her dearly,” said Chavez.