Strong and Smart, Service Monkeys Give a Helping Hand to People With Quadriplegia

siggytraviss-1cc-1789c2a9robinschwartzSource: Time

By Jeffrey Kluger

It’s not easy to make friends with a capuchin monkey. They’re willful, mischievous and, if they take it into their heads, can break any breakable you’ve got in the house—no small feat for an animal that’s only about two feet tall and weighs just seven pounds.

But if you do click with a capuchin, something deep and sweet can happen. That’s especially so with the monkeys of Helping Hands, in Boston, that spend much of their lives working with people with paraplegia and quadriplegia who need the daily assistance of a full-time aide to fetch objects, turn switches, open bottles and more, and will do the job for love, care and and the occasional lick of peanut butter—or hummus if that is more to their liking.

Photographer Robin Schwartz recently visited one such well-matched team: Siggy, a 30 year old monkey; and Travis Amick, a 31-year old man with quadriplegia with some use of his arms, living in California, to observe their collaboration at work.

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