Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Monkids? As if there aren't real kids out there?

In "Monkids as newest pampered pets", the Toronto Star's Trish Crawford investigates the life of people who try to treat monkeys as children:
As a child, her [Camille Dorian's] son developed sibling rivalry with the pet monkey, who'd "take his favourite toy and run to the other end of the house and break it."

Now that David, a business major, is away from home, Dorian has gotten the monkeys their own pets – cats and guinea pigs.

"They'll groom the guinea pigs," she reports, "and hold the cats."
Sounds cute, except,

Sherri Delaney runs a monkey sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., near Whitby, for up to 20 primates. Some are no longer needed in labs or who have been in roadside zoos, but others have been rescued from people who've found "the monkeys are more than they can handle."

Canada seems to have escaped the "monkids" phenomenon, she says, adding that having one in a cage is bad enough. Monkeys are social and need to be in groups with space for running and playing, she says.

They're also strong and wild. Delaney says she has been "ripped apart" when she wasn't careful.

I bet. Read the whole article.

My own monkey story: This happened in the mid-1970s in mid-summer. One of my kids ran in to tell me that there was monkey swinging in the weeping willow tree in the back yard.

That sounded pretty amazing for Toronto. But it turned out to be true.

Well, the kids went off somewhere with their father and I went on with my chores. After all, there was nothing I could do about the monkey swinging in the willow tree.

Meantime, my ginger cat woke up from his perennial afternoon nap and wandered out into the back yard. In some way, he immediately detected the monkey high up in the tree. And the monkey immediately detected him.

The monkey decided to come down and have a look at the cat. The cat waited for him. I thought that was a stupid idea on the monkey's part. The cat was clearly trying to decide whether to kill the monkey.

I was surprised that the monkey did not notice what even I, a mere human, could clearly see. I got hold of a towel, thinking I would have to rescue the monkey.

The monkey, now on the ground, skittered toward the cat. The cat sniffed him carefully - and then shook his lead paw, signifying utter, total disdain! He did not even try to seize the monkey by the throat.

I, meanwhile, seized the opportunity to come up from behind, grab the monkey, and srop him into a dog cage. The business tenant in the building happened to be a dog grooming firm, so a dog cage was always handy. Later, the monkey's human friends came and took him home.

I don't think a monkey would be a good substitute for even a cat, let alone a kid.

Lots of kids need homes or foster parents. Real kids. Not monkeys, not cats.