Crazed Chimp, Owner Acted Like a Couple

Animal was surrogate spouse for his owner
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2009 10:06 AM CST
Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, speaks to reporters in Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Sandra Herold and her chimp, Travis—who viciously mauled her friend—were unusually close, sharing wine and lobster and exchanging gifts, the New York Post reports. “What she had with that monkey was not normal,” one friend said. But Herold said outsiders don’t understand: “Until you've eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don't know a chimp,” she said. “He slept with me every night. He combed my hair.”

“This animal became almost a parody of her relationship with her husband,” one psychiatry professor said of the chimp's role as surrogate for Herold's late spouse. The chimp worshiped Herold, who claims he was just trying to protect her from friend Charla Nash when he attacked her. Nash is still in critical condition, and police are looking into criminal charges against Herold.