Capuchin monkeys can be trained to assist the disabled in living fuller lives. Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization, teaches monkeys to perform everyday tasks -- such as using a TV remote or turning on a light switch -- in their Monkey College in Boston. Before this training, monkeys live with volunteer foster families until they're matched with an individual who needs their services. Fostering a monkey is a big commitment of time and money, but the rewards of living with and helping train a monkey can't be measured.
Analyze your time. Caring for a baby monkey is similar to caring for a baby human: they both require daily baths, diapering and feeding. Because of that, the primary foster parent needs to be home. People with full-time jobs can't spend the required time caring for the monkey as it will need to spend at least five supervised hours out of the cage each day. In addition to time spent with the monkey itself, foster parents will need to spend time reporting the monkey's progress back to Helping Hands.
Calculate the expense of caring for a monkey. Helping Hands notes the following costs: "monkey chow and other foods, cage materials, routine veterinary care, leashes, waist collars, diapers, and toys." If your budget is tight, fostering a monkey might not be a good fit.
Apply by writing a letter to Helping Hands. According to the Helping Hands website, the letter should explain your motivation for applying, a history of the pets you've had, the number and ages of people in your house and the name and age of the primary foster parent applicant.
Helping Hands also requires information if the primary foster parent applicant has a job: a schedule of days and hours if the applicant works outside the home (as well as who would be around to spend time with the monkey) or the number of hours and type of work if the applicant works from home.
In addition, Helping Hands requests an explanation of medical or healthcare experience the applicant has (if pertinent) and whether the applicant has any medical conditions that could be assuaged by having a monkey in the home.
Send the letter to:
Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled Foster Home Applications 541 Cambridge Street Boston, MA 02134
Complete the application process if Helping Hands responds to your letter. This includes a background check, reference interviews and a home inspection to make sure you and your house will be suitable for fostering a monkey.
Helping Hands is currently seeking foster families in the New England area.
Check your state guidelines to ensure that monkeys are permitted in residential areas. Foster families can't have children under 10 around, either as part of the family or in the home part time due to day care or babysitting.
- Capuchin Monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica image by Oren Sarid from Fotolia.com