“Jessica has been home five months now and it’s as though last summer never existed. We’re back to our normal routine (if you can say living with a monkey is normal), and we are extremely grateful to everyone. There aren’t enough words to express how much I owe you all! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” -Maryanne
Last spring, we had to remove Maryanne’s service monkey, Jessica, from her home. As you can imagine, it was heart wrenching for everyone involved. Especially since it wasn’t the fault of Maryanne, Jessica, or anyone at Helping Hands.
You’re probably wondering why Jessica was removed. The county that Maryanne lives in had approved a new ordinance that prevented people from owning exotic animals, including monkeys. Unfortunately, there was no exemption for highly trained service animals like our capuchins here at Helping Hands. And, if anyone had notified the local authorities that Maryanne had Jessica, the results could have been disastrous. Maryanne could have been fined and put in jail. And Jessica could have been seized by the county and possibly euthanized. We didn’t want any of those things to happen, so we brought Jessica back to Helping Hands.
“It is rare to find such kind friends, especially ones who you can call for such an unexpected undertaking. With their help, I knew Jessica was in safe and caring hands. As well as knowing there were people behind the scenes working to bring Jessica home.”
Sadly, Maryanne and Jessica were separated for five months while we worked with a lawyer and the county to create an exemption. The process was slow and Maryanne was anxious about the outcome.
“In the middle of all this I had some surgery which included a hospital stay and time spent in rehab. And then coming home from the hospital to the empty house was sad too, because Jessica was usually there to snuggle and comfort me. I didn’t even have that. It just made it really hard. I was just empty inside without her.”
Our training staff did everything they could to make Jessica’s stay at Helping Hands as pleasant as possible, and they updated Maryanne on a regular basis.
“They would send cards from Jessica with her art drawings, and pictures and videos. It was like she was at summer camp! Everyone took such great care of her―I wasn’t worried about anything like that. My concern was would she ever be coming back.”
The lawyers did their work, and Maryanne and Jessica were joyfully reunited in September and quickly resumed their regular routine.
Unfortunately, one of our greatest challenges at Helping Hands is legislative changes happening across the country. Maryanne and Jessica’s story is a perfect example of the unintended consequences of legislation that is passed in order to ensure the safety of humans and animals.
But we are so thankful for donors like you. YOU made it possible for us to hire a lawyer and reunite Maryanne and Jessica. Your donation meant that when we were faced with this unexpected legal expense, we could fight for Maryanne and Jessica.
"To everyone involved with the "Bring Jessica Home" campaign—your kindness with your time, skills, and financial support meant the world to us. Jessica is amazing. What you as supporters of Helping Hands do for us in the chair is amazing. Having so many people work so hard to keep us together, I can’t say thank you enough. We will never forget your generosity.”
Your gift today means that we can continue to be there for our recipients and service monkeys―no matter what happens―throughout the years to come.
Make a one-time donation using the form below or become a Capuchin Caretaker (Monthly Donor).
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