Here are a couple of examples of how sweet Koko is: One afternoon Koko and I were watching PBS. They were showing a program on the special bond between a mother and daughter. Koko was sitting at the mesh next to me and I was lying on the floor on a blanket with my head turned watching the program. As I listened to the daughters telling stories about their mothers it made me think of my Mom who passed away a few years ago. Tears started to stream out of my eyes and down my face. Koko kissed to get my attention. I looked over at her and the look on her face was of pure concern. I explained to her that the program made me think of my Mom who had died and that it made me sad, but that I was really okay. Koko purred softly for me. I turned my attention back to the program to watch when Koko kissed at me again. I turned to look at her. You’re sweet Koko. Every time I turned to watch the program Koko would kiss at me to turn away. She did not want me to watch it since it upset me. When Koko does not want to watch a program she will ask us to change it. She did not want me to change the program because she was watching it. She did however, not want me to watch it and be upset. Another morning after I finished cleaning Koko’s rooms I took my place on the floor next to her at the mesh. A small long legged spider crawled into the mesh and onto the floor next to Koko. Koko purred and put her big gorilla hand down next to the spider so it could climb onto her hand. She let the spider crawl part way up her arm, then put her other hand in front of the spider so it would crawl on that hand and up her other arm. She did this a few times and then put the spider down between her feet like she does with her favorite toys, or when she has kitten visitors. It was amazing to me that someone so big could be so very gentle with something so tiny.
Caregiver Corner: ‘Tender moments with Koko’ by Jill