On December 30 I received a welcome visit from long-time IPPL supporters Tim and Christi Doyle from California. I had met Tim at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia years ago. They had visited IPPL once before—way back in 1999.

Tim and Christi were amazed at the changes. Since their last visit we have more than tripled in size: we bought 12 acres of land behind Igor’s house from a would-be developer in 2004; five acres of land with a house on it in 2005; a 2.77-acre tract with a cottage, woods, and a lovely pond in 2010; and six more acres of woodland leading to a ravine in 2011, so that now we own about 36 acres. We feel very protected by our buffer zones and have no close neighbors.

New land 2011

Our most recent land purchase, in 2011, helps buffer the sanctuary from further development.

Since 1999, we have also built three new gibbon houses with enclosures attached, all within the fenced area of our property. And we have planted many trees and shrubs. The Doyles were impressed that so many wild birds and animals have also found sanctuary on our grounds and by the fact that the new gibbon enclosures were nicely spaced out.

The Doyles and I visited all the gibbons. They enjoyed meeting our many new residents, but they also remembered our wonderful blind gibbon, Beanie. Beanie was born in August 1989 and had contracted encephalitis in the 1990 Florida outbreak. This left him blind and suffering from epilepsy. The foundation that owned him asked IPPL to take over his care, and of course we agreed. Beanie reached IPPL in 1991.

Beanie with Hardy

Beanie loved to wrestle with our caregiver Hardy. (Photo courtesy of Ali Spalter.)


Donetta, Beanie, and Bullet

Our caregiver Donetta would supervise play sessions between Beanie and Bullet.

This was the start of 13 wonderful years. Beanie was a sweet and gentle gibbon despite his handicaps. He would play on the lawn with caregivers Donetta and Hardy (both of whom still work at IPPL) and Ginny. He could even do back flips. At night he usually slept on the couch near me.

In November 1998 we noticed that our dogs Patou and Ivy were barking and staring intently at a spot behind our back fence, and we went to explore. The object turned out to be a small dog, whom we rescued from the woods. He was dehydrated, emaciated, and covered with hundreds of ticks. He had been shot in the eyes and side and, as a result, was totally blind, too. He had a sweet and gentle disposition. We named him Bullet. Beanie and Bullet became fast friends.





Beanie passed on October 20, 2004, as the result of a severe seizure. Bullet lived on but, sadly, developed cancer. We lost him on May 2, 2012.

Bullet and Beanie's graves

Bullet’s grave as it appears now, with Beanie’s marker in the background.

Tim and Christi went with us to the animal graveyard where Beanie and Bullet rest side by side to pay tribute to the animals they had seen at play so many years ago and have never forgotten. Beanie and Bullet were joined in life and in death.



  1. Diane Koosed on January 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    This is wonderful and bittersweet. Thank you for writing it and for adding to our memories of Bullet and Beanie.

  2. Hardy on January 4, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I dont have the words to describe how lucky I am to have known Beanie and Bullet. What sweet, gentle souls they both were. Thanks to Shirley and our wonderful members for making a home for them where they felt love and compassion every day.