In the above video, notice that Robin Williams made Koko smile — something she hadn’t done for over 6 months, ever since her lifelong gorilla companion, Michael, passed away at the age of 27. But not only did Robin cheer up Koko, the effect was mutual, and Robin seemed transformed — from a high-energy entertainer, into a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy, who also just happened to be really funny. Robin Williams and Koko bonded that day and Koko never forgot the encounter.
On Monday, Aug. 11 2014, the day news broke of Williams’ passing, Koko overheard conversations about the news. She inquired with Dr. Patterson who explained to her what had happened. Koko became quiet and looked very thoughtful. Eventually as the news sank in Koko signed “CRY”. By the end of the day Koko became somber with her head bowed and her lips quivering.
Koko and Robin William’s friendship shows the magic that happens when we treat animals as our equals and partners, and give them our undivided love and attention.
More details at the: Gorilla Foundation.