Monkeys Abound: Helping Hands is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for quadriplegic individuals by training capuchin monkeys to assist them with daily activities.

There was, coincidentally, a capuchin monkey at the party I attended Saturday night. Cookie Monster and a llama were there as well, but there was nothing coincidental about that.

There are 4 comments on this post

  1. I’ve been interested in helping raise helping hands monkeysfor several years. I thought it would be better servered when my two children graduated. I would very much like to find out more information on fostering and training these animals. I am working from home , and thought this would be a fine opportunity to research this field. You may contact me by email or call 225-654-2337

  2. I tried to find a way to contact “Helping Hands” but there is no Contact link. I saw a program about these monkeys and I was very impressed. Then I thought to myself: “What would PETA say about this?” I am in NO WAY a supporter of PETA. So I wrote to them. Following is the answser I got:

    Original Message
    From: “Shelly Breitbeil”
    Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 2:03 AM
    Subject: FW: Capuchin Monkeys

    > Dear Ms. Eytan,
    > Thank you for taking the time to write, and for your concern for “working” and “service” animals.
    > Relationships of mutual respect and benefit are truly wonderful. However, working animals are often used as a substitute for innovative programs that intelligently address human needs. Sometimes they are used in situations considered too dangerous for a human being and, therefore, too dangerous for the animal. They may even be treated cruelly in preparation for, and during, their lives of servitude.
    > Also, some working animal programs contribute to dog overpopulation by breeding their animals (with the notable exception of programs for the deaf that rescue dogs from shelters). When working animals become too old to work, they may be separated from their human companions and either “retired” with another family (always wondering, no doubt, what they did wrong or where their lifelong human companion went), returned to the training center, or even killed.
    > You can help these animals by writing letters to the editors of local papers regarding this issue (you can visit our letter writing guide with tips on how to do this: You might also consider writing letters to local “service” animas groups in your area, encouraging them to consider raising funds that could be put towards improving human services for the disabled rather than continuing to breed and exploit animals for this purpose.
    > For more information on PETA, and how you can help us help the animals, please visit
    > Thank you again for your letter, and for all you do for the animals. I hope this information is helpful to you!
    > Sincerely
    > Shelly Breitbeil
    > Correspondent

    Could you see to it that “Helping Hands” gets this? Thank you.

    Chaya Eitan

  3. I am very interested in adopting one of these monkeys to help handicapped people!

  4. I am trying to find a way to reach Helping Hands Monkeys. My nephew broke his neck June of 2004. The complete shatter of T-3 thru T7 has left him in constant need of help. He is one of a set of identical twins and though we all make sure there is someone with Sean 24 hours a day it wears on Sean as well as his twin. Sean has worked very hard and has re-entered College after just one year of his acident. He is tired of having to have another person with him all the time but unfortunatley his condition makes this impossable to leave him unatended for any time. Sean and James were orphaned at the age of 3 but the other members of his family are supplying a fairly good back up. Sean has siezures that always end with heart failure and this is the reason he can’t be left alone. He has been outfitted with Life Alert (a wonderful thing) but when a siezure comes on there is no chance for him to hit the panic button on his wrist unless he accidentley hits it and it is of no use if he’s away from his apartment. The twins are 21 years of age and though James gives up his time willingly to stay with Sean they both need there own lives. A monkey would be the perfect thing for Sean if it could also be trained to push the panic button during a siezure and just basic help would give James a little more time for himself. Please help if anyone knows how to reach Helping Hands. You may contact me at

    ps. Could a monkey be trained to open a cell phone and push a single button on the phone to call help away from home? I would think so. They are quite intellegent animals.

Add to the discussion:

I'll never share your email address and it won't be published.

What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

A few years ago I was trying to determine what cocktails I could make with the alcohol I had at home. I searched the App Store but couldn't find an app that would let me do that, so I built one.


You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.