Monkey Business

Helping Hands' Monkey College teaches capuchin monkeys to operate CD players, turn book pages, and fetch beverages for immobilized humans.

For all his knowledge, Dr. Zaius (human/orangutan villain of Planet of the Apes) simply couldn't learn to have compassion for humans. The students of Helping Hands' Monkey College, by contrast, learn to be caring above all else. Since 1979, the Boston-based nonprofit organization has been breeding and training monkeys to care for quadriplegics and others with immobilizing spinal-cord injuries.Capuchin monkeys bred at the Southwick's Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts, are raised in volunteer foster homes. When they're deemed ready for Monkey College, they head to Boston (appropriately) where they learn, among other things, how to operate CD players, turn book pages, and fetch beverages. Service careers can last as long as 30 years, during which time the simian assistants offer their disabled charges not only dexterity but also companionship.LEARN