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Helping Hands

By Shaw, Danielle; Action Magazine,
Publication Date: February 2, 2011

Article features Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, a nonprofit organization providing service monkeys for people with disabilities. The organization’s stated priority is to provide assistance to people with quadriplegia; however, recipients of service monkeys also include those with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, amyothropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and polio. The monkeys are trained for 3 to 5 years to provide services such as opening containers, retrieving items from shelves or the refrigerator, picking up the phone, putting disks in computers and DVD players, and grooming such as hair brushing. Potential recipients of a monkey go through a thorough screening process which includes submitting layouts of their homes and descriptions of tasks for which they are seeking assistance. Training of recipient and monkey, which takes 6 to 12 months of daily work, is done in the person’s home and then through intensive phone support. The monkeys live for about 30 to 40 years, and placements are meant to be for the life of the monkey. The service animals are placed at no charge to recipients, and Helping Hands provides ongoing support for the duration of the placement. The article includes an interview with the recipient of one of the animals, a capuchin monkey.
Published by: United Spinal Association   (Website:

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