December 5, 2013
Gussie, 1968 - 2013
Dear Friend of Jungle Friends,
We are all very sad to share the news that Gussie
has passed. After a long life of 45 years, she died of old age, surrounded by her loving friends. Her death was peaceful.
Gussie died in Kari's arms.
And for those of you who knew Gussie personally, you won't be surprised to hear she made threat faces right to the end.
As Kari says, "Gussie was a woman of her own mind, and she always told it like was."
During the four days Gussie was in hospice care here, we posted pictures on Facebook
, and so many people shared their memories and thoughts of Gussie. Susan Carlucci said what many of us were thinking: "I am so blessed to have been fortunate enough to not only be able to help care for this beautiful girl... but to actually be tolerated by her. We know she is now truly free." Everyone loved Gussie for her epic grumpiness...and for how fiercely she loved and protected her daughter, Joni.
I feel so privileged to have shared some of Gussie's last hours.
Joni has dwarfism and is unable to use her legs -- getting around by walking on her hands, balancing with her tail. Her disability doesn't stop this baby-faced 32-year-old! We have already moved Joni near the other special-needs monkeys -- Puchi, Wendell, Chi Chi and Kooda -- and we'll be watching closely to see who befriends her. Joni has already shown interest in Kooda, and has been cooing and lip-smacking at Max, the boy next door!
Joni got to say goodbye to her mother just after she passed. Now we will all say goodbye. Sweet dreams, dear Gussie. We will take good care of your little girl Joni.