Chimp Finds Comfort in Troll Dolls After Years of Being a Research Animal

Foxie was separated from her four babies and used to test hepatitis vaccines.

— -- A chimpanzee that suffered from the trauma of being a research animal has found comfort in an unexpected source: a troll doll.

“When she first came she wouldn’t touch any of the toys or blankets we gave the chimpanzees,” Goodrich said. “She would actually shove things aside as if she was angry at their presence.”

That is, until Goodrich found a troll doll while shopping at a thrift store in Seattle shortly after Foxie and the six other chimpanzees from the lab arrived at the sanctuary.

“I was thinking one of the chimpanzees would like it, but I certainly wasn’t thinking Foxie would,” Goodrich said. “She immediately went to it and fell in love and hugged it to her, she almost treated it like it was a baby. She was just fascinated by it.”

After noticing the chimp’s love for troll dolls, the sanctuary took to their blog and shared Foxie’s story, which prompted people to dig troll dolls out of their attics and order them from eBay to send to the sanctuary, Goodrich said.

“Over the years we’ve had a lot of different dolls donated. A lot of people have sent stuffed chimpanzees, which she’s actually not fond of at all,” Goodrich said, but one doll Foxie has grown fond of is "Dora the Explorer."

These dolls, which Foxie always carries with her, have acted as a “security blanket” and have helped Foxie feel more comfortable playing with other chimpanzees and her human caregivers, Goodrich said.

Foxie has collected “hundreds” of dolls and is still receiving them at least once a month, said Goodrich.

“You’d think after having several troll dolls, she’d pick her favorites and that’d be the end of it, but she always loves new dolls,” she said. “She gets excited about them.”