I did it! I bought a squirrel monkey and I've named him Harold. When the husband's away, the wife will play. All my life I've wanted a monkey and now I'll find out first hand whether or not I made a mistake.
Bob always frowned at the various pets I'd bring into the house. Eventually, though, he accepted them as part of living with me. There were snakes, pet rats, an opossum, literally dozens of mice because they kept breeding like rabbits. Which reminds me of the six wild rabbits we found abandoned under a bush. We tried to raise them and they seemed to be doing fine until one morning we found them all dead – never fool around with mother nature.
As for Harold, I wasn't sure how Bob would react to his sudden appearance into our family life. Harold was a pretty rambunctious monkey, hard to handle. I kept him chained to his cage so he could move around on it but couldn't escape.
I decided to remove the chain when Harold was locked in his cage. My reasoning? If Harold knew the chain meant freedom from his cage, he'd look forward to being out. Ha! When I opened the cage to put the chain back on his belt he escaped and daughter Barbara and I had to chase him all over the house. Lamps went down, books got strewn everywhere.
When I finally got him back in the cage I still couldn't get the chain on him. He kept screeching and fighting me off. I was a complete nervous wreck. My blouse was soaked with sweat. My arms were all scratched from the sharp edges on the cage. After about an hour of this nonsense Harold was eighteen inches of indignant fury.
And who walked in the door at that minute? Bob, back from his trip. He just looked at me and raised his eyebrows. “Something new I didn't know about?” Actually, to my amazement he seemed amused, not angry.
Bob got his heavy work gloves, reached into the cage and amid screeches and howls from Harold, grabbed him, held him firm while I snapped the chain back on Harold's belt. I'd never heard such commotion from such a tiny animal. Poor Harold really looked beat up when it was all over.
There was one good thing that came out of all this. Bob was impressed with Harold's spunky attitude and even admitted Harold was cute.
Unfortunately, Harold grew wilder each day. There was no way to control him. I eventually admitted defeat and wound up trading him for a six inch Capuchin monkey. Ah, but that's another story to be told.
|Daughter Barbara on left, Me on right!|
The day I exchanged Horrible Harold for a seven inch Capuchin monkey I became the owner of a little bit of love. Baby (the name we gave him) took to the family immediately. He was rarely in his cage because I was at home all day.
He'd sit happily on my shoulder as I made beds, straightened up the house, or even when I just sat down to have a cup of coffee. He'd cuddle my neck and give me little monkey kisses. He also loved his small blue blanket and carried it everywhere. When he wasn't cuddling a family member he'd cuddle the blanket and watch us from his perch on the rafters.
He loved company and would greet guests with lots of monkey chatter. He'd climb up to his favorite perch and watch what went on below.
Daughter Barbara was one of his favorite people. I think he liked the smell of her perfume. After time with her, Baby smelled of perfume, which was certainly better than most animal smells. Yes, I decided, he was the perfect little pet, loving and sweet. When it was time for bed, there was no problem with him being put in the cage. He knew the next morning that he'd be back out with me.
Then I found a job at the local hospital. I worked from nine in the morning until five. No time to play with Baby. After the first day on the job, I came home to the screams of an indignant, distraught monkey. When I opened the cage he leaped out and scrambled up to the rafters. His chattering was more like scolding. He eventually calmed down and spent the evening with the family.
I didn't have much trouble getting him back in the cage that night. But each night after that it became harder and harder. His resentment of being cooped up all day changed his whole personality. He became belligerent and waged war with us every night.
We made the decision that maybe Baby would be happier at the local zoo. So on my next day off, I carried him and his blanket down to the zoo. I explained my predicament and he just nodded wisely.
“Folks shouldn't really keep what are basically wild animals. I get a lot of this.”
He went on to explain that for a few days Baby would be kept in isolation, then placed on a little island where all the monkeys were kept. I left to the screams of Baby as the zoo keeper took him away.
I visited Baby as often as I could. One day the zoo keeper approached.
“Before you see Baby you need to know that a swan swimming in the island pond bit off his right hand. We fixed him up and he's fine now. Just wanted you to know.”
I looked at Baby and a feeling of remorse swept over me. He had become impossible to handle and I had thought this would be the best solution. He really didn't know me anymore. He climbed the trees on the island and chased and was chased by the other monkeys. I guessed he was content. Still I longed for the loving Baby he had once been.
That winter is was colder than most and lasted longer than usual. A call from the zoo advised me that Baby had gotten pneumonia and died. They said they would bury him if I agreed.
My throat choked up as I murmured, “Yes, thank you.”
Perhaps the zoo keeper was right. Wild animals shouldn't be kept as pets. Still, I'll never regret having the chance to bond with Baby. For a while he brought so much joy into our lives.
|Bob and Baby|