If Dorothy Was a Chimp, She’d Wear Red Cowboy Boots: What Redfin Learned at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

There’s no place like home…


Be it a sleek city condo, tropical vacation house, wigwam, igloo, or even a chimpanzee sanctuary, it’s true, there’s no place like home. In 2008, Keith LaChappelle, a Seattle man with a plan, founded Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW), one of only nine chimpanzee sanctuaries in all of North America. And this October, Redfin made a house call to the 26-acre farm in Cle Elum, Washington – which is home sweet home to Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy, Annie and tubby Negra.

After decades in biomedical research and several Hollywood gigs, these seven chimpanzees, affectionately known as the Cle Elum 7, found refuge in an entirely new environment. Today their home consists of a two-story, 18,000 cubic foot chimp house (a space filled with climbing structures, platforms and window seats), a cozy outdoor greenhouse and a two-acre outdoor habitat called “Young’s Hill.”

The Ryan Gosling of the chimp world…


CSNW’s Director of Operations, J.B. Mulcahy, who Seattle Metropolitan Magazine recently compared to “actor Ryan Gosling, if Ryan Gosling wore the tan, weathered look of a man who spent his days on an old farm…”, was kind enough to host Redfin’s visit. J.B. patiently answered all manner of our group’s questions from nutrition, to chimp sign language to well…ahem…the birds and the bees. And then he introduced us to the seven simian stars of the show.

In addition to J.B., CSNW is run by an incredibly talented staff. The staff is supported by an army of dedicated volunteers, and together they ensure that the chimps thrive.

Chimps share 98.6 percent the same DNA as humans


The Cle Elum 7 are remarkably intelligent. Jamie has an obsession with cowboy boots, puzzles and western wear catalogs. Other popular pastimes include drawing pictures, sewing, watching movies, lovingly tending to a favorite troll doll, and making giant nests out of blankets. It may seem unnatural to provide the chimps with a selection of human items, but the staff is quick to explain that nothing is natural about sanctuary-living and the biggest challenge they face is coming up with enrichment to alleviate boredom. As CSNW’s founder often says, “Choice, choice, choice, that’s what separates sanctuary from the rest of captivity.” Whether the chimps choose to spend their days climbing bamboo on Young’s Hill, or wearing a tutu while playing with Dora the Explorer, they call the shots.

The Cle Elum seven know how to party


Any excuse for streamers and snacks and these chimps are ready to eat, drink and be merry! So, Redfin sponsored a real-estate themed chimp party and donated house-shaped piñatas, a giant Lego castle, assorted toys, clothing, red and white decorations and healthy fruits and veggies. Here’s a video that captured the action. We’re delighted the chimps had more fun than a barrel of…well, you know!

Click your heels three times…


So, the next time you see a pair of cowboy boots, know there is a chimpanzee in Washington State who’s clicking her heels saying there’s no place like home.

For more information on CSNW, please visit their website. Need a smile? The chimps also have a phenomenal daily blog. Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is a 501c3 organization that exists solely through the generosity of its supporters. Thanks for hosting us, CSNW!

Chimp Crew 1 - 13.10.06


  • Amit

    This is great work!! Thanks!

  • Stacy

    There’s something about a chimp who loves red cowboy boots that makes me very, very happy! Great article.

  • jamie

    How wonderful that Redfin supports such a great cause – loved the article!

  • pnl

    Home sweet home… how terrific of Redfin to reach out and help make life better for these deserving chimps!

  • Diana

    Redfin definitely knows how to throw a party! It’s great to see companies doing active philanthropic work in such a fun way.

  • Joe

    That is awesome!! What a cool way for Redfin to get involved with their community. You don’t hear about people getting involved with chimp sanctuaries often. Way to think outside the box Redfin!

  • Annette

    Love those chimps and Red Fin for taking the time and making a difference! Thanks for posting. Keep up the good work!

  • Jennifer

    Awesome! Thanks to Redfin for supporting such a worthy cause!

  • Katelyn

    Thank you, Redfin, for modeling such generous and compassionate work!

  • Amy

    Loved everything about this! So happy to see these chimps get some love from such a great company. What a fun and creative way to make a difference!!

  • Hoa Tran

    That’s so great that Redfin did this! Awesome post and the Chimp video is So cute!