About Animals 8


Thank the Franciscan order for its naming of the Capuchin friars.

The friars lent that name to a monkey, supposedly for the resemblance.

This connection escapes me but then after eerie, hungry nights out of place in the South American jungle, perhaps the friars, encountering skinny monkeys, fancied there was a resemblance?

Capuchins are involved in a national program of providing assistance to humans who have physical disabilites, brought on by spinal cord injuries and other maladies, often associated with military service and specifically in years of late, war.

Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled www.monkeyhelpers.org

is a Boston based non-profit that cares for and trains Capuchins to provide a bunch of help. The skinny simians turn on a client’s computer, bring them a glass of juice and can serve food. The Capuchins are taught to avoid the kitchen stovetop, open windowsills and other zones in an apartment or house, that could present danger for a monkey.  They are also trained to eliminate their waste in a certain site, similar to cat potty-training.

 Some amazing Capuchin-helper stories are told at this site. Some of the partnerships have lasted 20 years.  Training of a monkey, in foster homes, takes from three to five years. Care and training of one monkey up to the placement time can cost $37,000.  Donations are accepted by this nonprofit via the website and also: 541 Cambridge St. Boston, MA 01234. 

You can watch a video of some of the training at this website.  In Boston, the actual physical site offers scheduled visits at the Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation Center, operated out of a rennovated church building.  Other Helping Hands interpretation takes place at the unusual Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts.

While monkeys clearly belong in the wild,  Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, proves that carefully cared for and trained monkeys can perform an unfathomable assist to certain individuals, providing a measure of independence for the physically limited.

As for discarded Capuchins that have not been trained from birth to care for the disabled, fortunately there are retirement shelters to assit them when they are too much for their humans to handle. Once such site in Florida is the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary


24/7 the Sanctuary deals witn inappropriately housed New World primates (not just Capuchin) monkeys who bit in a home setting or otherwise could no longer be kept as an exotic pet. This is, not surprisingly, an unsuitable life pursuit for such a clever creature from the South American aboreal forest. Wishing to seem exotic, interesting, or animal-loving is what may motivate clueless folks to buy a monkey for a pet. But what happens next when the huge mistake is painfully discovered. Fortunate cast offs  end up here. 

~ Usually after driving the (former) exotic pet owner bananas. ~