31 March 2010

Monkey Mitts

I spent some time over the last couple of days trying to figure out what we should do about emergency or respite care. Right now, Scarecrow does it all, everything, all the time, 24/7. We have no backup. And he has a full-time job. T'ain't right.

We should have done it long ago, I know. Although I admit I can be stubborn and selfish, I'm not the one dragging my feet on this. It's not me insisting that I don't want help from anyone else. If anything, Scarecrow has been more reluctant than I am to hire outside help. Still, we've got to do it. If something happens to him, I'm screwed.

OK, so I'm looking up some resources suggested by the MS Society. There are all kinds of places called Helping Hands Somethingorother, so as usual I get distracted by the bizarre things a web search turns up, not least of which is a place where the helping hands belong to capuchin monkeys.

Really? Monkeys as service animals?

Granted, they're small, they live a long time, they're intelligent (whatever that means), they have more-or-less opposable thumbs. Their dexterity means they can perform tasks that the most willing dog simply can't manage. They're cuddly and cute. When they're young.

But no, not for me, no thanks. Even tame monkeys are still wild animals. As adults, they're temperamental and unpredictable. They bite. (Monkeys trained as service animals frequently have some or all of their teeth removed, for safety and liability reasons.) They're messy. Unlike a dog or cat, which is predisposed to keep its nest clean and hence is easily housetrained, a monkey will defecate wherever it happens to be, particularly if it's upset. Some combination of potty training and diapers may be at least a partial solution for a juvenile, but will likely be less successful as the animal reaches maturity. Seems a lot to put up with to have discs loaded in your DVD player or your microwave turned on.

Now, before you light up your flamethrowers, I will admit I've never actually lived with a monkey. My personal experience with monkeys is limited to the six months I spent working at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center many years ago. I learned that monkeys bite, and they smell bad. My personal experience living with a wild animal is limited to the pet raccoon we had when I was a kid. Imagine a whippet, with fingers.

If I were looking for helping hands, I don't think I'd want them to belong to a monkey. But that's just me.


  1. Holy tamoly Zoom! I'm getting rather graphic images of monkeys, narrow dogs, and accessible doorknobs all twirling together.

    Seriously though, good luck in the next step.

  2. LOL I too was envisioning the dogs, monkeys, and doorknobs somehow in a Wizard of Oz backdrop.

    When I was a kid (yah I once was young LOL) our neighbors had one of those little monkeys. It was so cute until . ... I vaguely remember their house looking like a cabin does after the raccoons are done.

    The helping hands a good thing but wow I agree not monkey hands - a big decision to get help - I am thinking adding the necessity of possessing vocal cords that are capable of human speech to the list of requirements.


  3. There is a great place in Edmonds called Helping Hands. My bbf had a monkey for years. It was a pain in the you know what. They are little humans with 50yr old brains and 3yr old ethics. Me. me. me. And they bite.

  4. Zoom - I just read Diane's description of a monkey. HA! That about says it all. Nonetheless, I agree that it's a good idea to have a break for Scarecrow. I know I'd be even crankier and crazy than I am without lots of others to help. They bring their own challenges, like having your home invaded by others, but I've found the positives far outweigh the negatives.