Saturday, January 10, 2009

Life as a Personal Aide: No Monkey?

Apparently, the U.S. Department of Justice's new ADA regulations will ban all assistance animals except dogs.

Ruth and I have had a number of conversations over the years about what we both refer to as "the monkey." In the context of our lives, hers as someone with quadriplegia and mine as her aide, the monkey = assistance animal.

I was extremely keen on this and not just because of the monkey's opposable thumbs. I was charmed by the thought of little outfits, especially for Christmas and Easter. We would, of course, get a girl monkey because there was no way I was going to look at know.

Ruth was not as keen.

"You'd have to change its diapers."

"Why would I have to change its diapers? It's an assistance monkey. It should be able to change its own damn diapers."

For the past three years, Ruth has taken every opportunity to send me YouTube clips and articles about monkeys doing bad and wrong things; filthy and disgusting things. She once sent me a training clip about monkey diapering that quashed my interest in chocolate pudding for a very long time.

In fact, I completely stopped talking about the monkey well over a year ago, which is why I felt the triumphalist tone in Ruth's recent email was unnecessary. Her subject line: there goes the monkey....


  1. LOL! I am truly sorry about it affecting your interest in chocolate pudding....

    BUT on a serious note these regs are devastating to pwd who rely on service animals-overly restrictive and misguided.

  2. Yes, seriously: the regs are crazy and what's especially distressing is that they seem to be promulgated without input from those whose lives are most directly affected. We can only pray that the incoming administration will correct errors in the ADA.

  3. Meredith,

    I'll keep C-SPAN on in case you decide to testify before Congress on the monkey issue :-D


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