A couple of years ago, through volunteering at the animal shelter, I had a chance to help out a naturalist who was fostering an orphaned baby Barbary ape she had rescued in Africa. Her plan was to raise him until he was old enough to go into a zoo.
I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at her house, and I was pleasantly surprised -- the little guy was tiny, maybe 15 inches tall, all arms and legs, bright yellowish fur, very cute... and he liked me right away, which his foster mom told me was uncommon. He patted my face and kissed my ear and we were friends. He was very active, bounding and swinging around the house, and all in all, he was just adorable...
Until his foster mom left the room. Then he began to screech, and the amount of noise coming out of those tiny little baby lungs was ASTOUNDING. He screeched and screeched and screeched some more, until it seemed that there was nothing left in all the world but one giant endless SCREEEEEECH!
Fortunately, all the woman had really wanted was a chance to take a shower for the first time since she had arrived home with the baby, and this she accomplished quickly enough to leave my hearing partially intact.
I helped out again on another occasion, keeping the little fella in a kitchen at a car dealership during a fundraising event for this woman's ape-rescue organization. She came in as often as she could during the evening, but the baby remained in a state of all-out panic nonetheless. This time, he not only screeched endlessly, but also engaged in a very dramatic two-hour marathon POOP. All we could do was hold him over the sink and imagine the car salesmen rinsing their coffee cups there in the morning. ~ bleah ~
The poor little guy couldn't help it, of course -- he was a baby, an orphan, and he was terrified without his foster mom around him every minute.
I tell this story as a warning to those who might actually think of adopting an ape or monkey. No matter how dearly we may love such creatures, most of us simply cannot manage such a total commitment as they require. Although there are certainly anecdotal stories of successful adoptions, the most likely scenario is a painful and sad one for both animal and human.
Having said that... MY animal adoption fantasy involves three hundred acres of oceanfront land in northern California, maybe in Mendocino County, plus about a billion dollars. I would build houses for myself, my extended family, and a couple of special friends, and some guest quarters, of course. I'd fence it all in and add a free veterinary clinic and animal rescue facility, several barns, a visual arts studio where free art classes are given, and a theater-in-the-round where free concerts and plays are presented, and classes are taught in music, dance, and drama. And I'd build a small observatory and planetarium with scheduled skywatching classes, all free to the public.
And I'd have many indoor cats (including some Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats), several outdoor dogs (including some Golden Retrievers and Border Collies), a few cows, a few horses, a few sheep, a few goats, a few llamas, and a few buffalo (or American bison -- nobody seems to know which is correct).
Then I'd adopt some giraffes and some zebras and some springboks... and assuming that everyone would miraculously be friends and nobody would ever get hurt, I'd also adopt some wolves and coyotes, some whitetail deer, some elephants, some polar bears, some penguins, some tigers, and some lions. I'd invite some two-toed sloths to live in my trees, and I'd plant eucalyptus so my koalas would be happy.
And yes, like everyone else, I love little red foxes, too! I'd have a rainforest aviary full of tropical birds and flowers... and a lake where all kinds of ducks and geese and swans could live... and a garden full of the varieties of flowers that especially attract butterflies... and an orchard full of peach and cherry and apple and pear and pecan and pistachio trees grown without pesticides, so the birds can enjoy them, too.
And I'd have a railroad that runs through it all, not a cutesy one just for kids, but a full-scale railroad with a fabulous old steam engine like the one in "The Polar Express," so people could come and ride through my property and see all the critters. And I would be the engineer in a blue-striped hat, with one of my dogs riding in the cabin with his head out the window! :-)
Ahh, fantasy is a wonderful thing!