Capuchin Monkey(102487)
Credit: google images

There are many people living among us today with varying degrees of disabilities and animals have been in service to help with their therapy and rehabilitation.  According to a study done in the 1980’s, it was discovered that patients that suffered with heart attacks, but owned a dog tended to live for longer periods of times than those that did not.  In recent years with many soldiers coming back from war with physical and emotional disabilities; the bond that they have shared with their service dogs have made all the difference in the world to their emotional state and positive outlook.  Most people know about service dogs, but very few know that capuchin monkeys are also used as service animals.

In Service to Humans

In 1979 the first service monkeys were placed with patients for therapeutic and assisted help.  Originally known as “Organ Grinders,” these monkeys are a well known species.  capuchin monkeys being used as service monkeys have become more prevalent. 

They are infamous for their long lives, easy portability, extraordinary hand and eye coordination, and intelligence.  These traits make them an excellent choice for disabled persons who require assistance performing their activities of daily living.    Unlike dogs that can only provide their owners with comfort and companionship; these monkey’s can handle many other tasks like: retrieve items from the cabinets, take meals out of the microwave, load cd’s and even start their computers. 

Some of their best work is done with quadriplegics in several countries.  According to ASPCA, there are no more than 100,000 capuchin monkeys kept as pets in the US.  These pets are best known for assistance with clients that have spinal cord injuries or disease.  These animals are not suited for people suffering from PTSD or other emotional issues. 

Buyer Beware

These little animals are great as long as they are on their leashes.  They are well mannered enough to even get their own seat on an airplane trip.  Helping Hands trains them for social settings and ensure they are trained to federal standards.  Even with that being said people other than those with disabilities can be enamored with the pint sized darlings, which can prove to be dangerous.  They are highly destructive and will tear a house apart.  Unlike cats or other domestic animals, the Capuchin monkey cannot truly be house trained.  Their natural environment is to live in trees out in the wild.  Once they have grown past the age of 5, they evolve into what nature has called them to be. If you want to keep all of your fingers, having their teeth removed may be the best way to keep that from happening as they are capable of biting very hard.  

If you need some help around the house and you are physically challenged; maybe a capuchin monkey could be the pet for you.  Because of their intelligence, they are a great asset for a quadriplegic or other physically disabled person.  Just make sure you get one that has been trained to work with disabled persons.  This will ensure you get the help that you need and are safe from harm at the same time.  For more information, go to the Helping Hands website.