Her Name is Missy
By Gail Gillespie-Fox, with Graham Spence
Published December 2016
Available on Amazon.com
‘I climbed into bed and just watched Missy sleeping for most of the night. At one stage I woke up and went to get her some milk. It was the last time I would ever do that.”
Missy’s story unfolds in the height of the 2015 Ebola epidemic, in Monrovia, Liberia. For the most part, her story’s beginning is not unlike that of thousands of other precious wild animals who are savagely slaughtered for bushmeat, or snatched from the breasts of their freshly murdered mothers for resale to the most despicable of all creatures on our planet – human beings.
However, while Missy’s story is one that reveals all aspects of human depravity, ignorance and fear, it also testifies to the power of love and the capacity human beings have to make a difference and to write miracle endings in the face of impossible adversity.
The author, Gail Gillespie-Fox makes no apologies for her fierce opposition to the illegal slaughter, trade, and abuse of animals. Her account of the life-changing journey she and Missy shared is so authentic that it’s impossible for the reader to not love Missy too. As I read this book, I shared Gail’s joy and her love for Missy. Her sheer anguish and determination was palpable as she tried against all odds to make sure that Missy would live to see the sunset every day. In the face of great danger and uncertainty, she never lost sight (or hope) of her purpose to unite Missy with ‘her own kind’ in a safe, natural environment.
I loved this book and I confess that at times, I wished I had never started reading it. Gail shares: “She was as delightful as a mischievous toddler. She had taken my heart. I was not sure if I would ever get it back.”
Every reader of this book should be warned that you might just share the same fate. Gail’s honest portrayal of Missy’s personality and trust will steal your heart too. For this reason, the end will tear your heart out and as I sobbed in bed beside my sleeping husband last night, my heart ached for Gail, for Missy and for the unthinkable suffering and trauma my own species is capable of. A part of me is sorry that I know this now because I dislike humans even more than I did before.
Who Should Read This Book?
Whether you are an animal lover or not, you should read this book. Not just because our silence endorses the atrocities committed by our species against those that we have stewardship over, but because this is every bit as much about the future of our own species. Our survival is inextricably linked to that of other living creatures. As we perpetrate the imminent extinction of Missy, her fellows, and so many other creatures, we are inevitably engineering our own demise.
If you only read one book this year, this should be it. It is a triumphant true story of unequivocal love and a testimony to the difference we can make when we care enough. It is a call to action and I dare you to accept. Even if you can’t be involved in the front lines, you can add your voice.
You can add your voice and share the story of Missy and others who are in present danger by visiting Gail’s Facebook page: For Missy and her Chimp Friends. Your support matters.
Without Gail’s voice and unyielding determination to honour her promise to a defenceless animal, this book’s title could well have been ‘Her Name was Missy.’