Service Monkey Training Facility in Boston Looks to Add Retirement Home

Helping Hands Monkey Helpers got approval from the city, but now it needs to raise $5 million — five times its annual budget

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A monkey college in Boston is looking to expand. 

Yes, a college for monkeys.

The Allston facility is where the non-profit Helping Hands Monkey Helpers trains capuchin monkeys to assist adults living with spinal cord injuries or mobility issues.

"Their most complicated task is opening a mini fridge taking out a bottle of water opening it up and inserting a straw," said Angela Lett, executive director of the organization.

There are 114 monkeys in the program and about 70 live in the building, according to Lett. That number is expected to rise as more monkeys retire from the program.

Last week, Lett and her team went to the city's zoning board looking for approval to add 528 square feet to their building to create a new monkey living space that doubles as a retirement home.

"Because of changes in federal law, they're not eligible for adoption, so obviously we want to treat them in a humane way," Helping Hands attorney Paul Rufo said to the board last week.

The plan is to add dormers to the roof, creating more space upstairs.

After getting approval from the city, the focus is now on fundraising. Lett said her group has to raise $5 million to get the project done.

That is five times Helping Hands Monkey Helpers' annual budget.

"We do have some options with the project that may or may not happen based on the fundraising," Lett said.

There is no timeline on getting the project done for now as they organization relies solely on private donations.

Jeff Musial “The Animal Guy” returns to Pickler & Ben with his son Jungle Joey and a bunch of exotic and cute and cuddly critters!
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