By Jaclyn Trayte, Vet Tech & Animal Caregiver

Vet Tech & Caregiver Jaclyn Trayte

Paen is one of the sweetest residents here at the International Primate Protection League.  She has a family of stuffed animal babies, which she carries around with her all day.  Her family consists of a pony, an elephant, a cow, a monkey, and a bear.  Whenever a caregiver has a free moment, we try to spend that time with Paen, because she enjoys the company just as much as we do.  Paen recently was moved into a larger enclosure, where she now has more room to swing, run, and lounge about.  Every morning, she is always waiting and excited to take her babies outside in the sunshine to enjoy the spacious enclosure.  It made us all so happy to see her exploring the first few weeks and seeing how elated she was about her new home, singing her beautiful gibbon song every few minutes (she is one of our BEST singers!).

A favorite of Paen’s is when one of her friends (any of the caregivers) hang out with her.  The other day, all of the caregiver tasks for the day were completed, so I went to spend some time with Paen.  When I first got to her enclosure, she was busy singing away and serenading her neighbors.  So, I decided to sit down on the ground and wait since time with Paen is well worth waiting for!  Once she was content with her singing, she came down to the ground and ran the length of the enclosure to get to where I was sitting.  Her baby of choice at that moment was her pony, which she had in her hand as she came running over.  We had a long grooming session, but every time I stopped grooming her, she would reposition herself, silently begging for more.  In her previous enclosure, she would mostly just sit still anytime I was visiting her, but here, with all this space, she’s realizing all that she can do.  As time went on in this grooming session, her positions got crazier and crazier.  This is where her start as a yogi begins!

Pony serves as a perfect pillow to make Paen’s yoga positions more comfortable.

She first used her pony as a pillow while she attempted an upside-down position.  Her stuffies serve all types of purposes!  After a little more grooming, she stood up and did a gibbon version of the downward facing dog.  I was impressed, Paen sure was proving she is great at yoga!  She might be leading gibbon yoga for the other residents by next week!  Paen was beyond happy the entire time I was with her that day, and it was amazing to see that just the opportunity of more space has allowed her to blossom and try out new things!

Downward-facing dog, Paen-style!

Paen has taught me quite a bit from my relationship with her.  Every time you approach Paen, she greets you with a song and open arms.  There’s not a single day that I haven’t seen her happy as can be.  I’ve learned that no matter what, keep a positive outlook on things and sometimes singing a song can turn the whole day around.  Paen is also proving that it’s never too late to blossom and discover who you are and what you can do!