How are we Monkey Families Coping?

By Mary Lynn Campbell

capuchin monkey hugs

Welcome to the Primate Care Site once again. This is such a great question for us families who are not only living during such trying times with our family members, but who are also living with monkeys. I hope some of the following thoughts might help many of you cope a little easier with the issues of stress.

If someone were to send us a multiple answer questionnaire about how we are coping with the levels of stress we are living under, I believe most of us would need to mark many of the questions with the answer of high or medium. One moment I am doing great living the stay at home lifestyle and then I will see an update of the number of virus cases that have increased in the last week or maybe I have opened up Facebook and in my scrolling I come across a headline that says, “Women Receives Flowers From A Florist Delivery Person And Gets The Covid-19 Virus.”

It is almost addicting at times the way we seem to read one story after another about what people are experiencing with this virus. It is one thing for us to stay current on things that are happening in our world but it is quite another thing when we begin to feel pulled into not being balanced with what we are reading about. On the other hand, I wonder what the real truth is anymore when I do start to listen or read anything lately. Since I have begun to feel this way I today am making a new rule that I am going to add to my already huge list of rules. I am choosing to start limiting the time I spend reading and listening to things about the virus.

I call myself a “leftover hippie.” No, I did not live in a van with painted flowers on it and travel all over the country but I was raised during the time that we questioned our elders and our government about the Vietnam War. Having been raised during this time of life, it left many of us baby boomers not good with following rules or with trusting the words we read or listen to every day. The 60’s in the USA gave us an awareness that we needed to not be afraid to question things and to begin to listen carefully so we could discern what was truth and what was fiction about what we were being told as citizens of the Earth.

Everything that happens in our lives brings a lesson for us to learn. As we look for where the blame belongs when things do happen, this has a way of shifting the focus from the inner changes that the lessons really needs to be about. Blame will never bring us the peace that we all seek at this time. None of us ever expected to be experiencing these difficult lessons in life but they are here for us to learn from.

With These Words Said: I would like to say I feel we families with monkeys are doing a very good job at staying free of the virus in our homes. In my networking with other monkey families, I have not heard of one family who has experienced the virus or one monkey that has been sick with it. This is wonderful news to all of our ears but this does not mean we are home free. It is important that we remain positive and on track in order to remain healthy in spite of all of the negative things that we are subject to hear or see.

Many of our states are going to be partially lifting the bans on things that will be open so this means many people will be going back to work in our families. There will be even higher levels of stress on us as our beloved family members are coming and going into our homes where our monkeys live. So what are we going to do with even higher levels of stress? It is my belief that we who live with monkeys must live differently than most other families live. This is due to them being who they are and that is non-human primates. I hope the following list will be especially helpful in keeping the stress level lower for you monkey caregivers.

What Changes Do I Need To Make In My Household Now That The Stay At Home Bans Are Being Lifted And My Family Members Are Returning To Work?

  1. It is always good for people who live with monkeys to have a meeting to discuss making any change in the care of your monkey.
  2. Make sure you as the primary caregiver of your monkey or monkeys have time to think about what changes need to be made since life is going through another change with this deadly virus.
  3. Even if you have already made changes to the way you have been caring for your monkey, it is a good idea to re-think everything now. You will now be having members of your family coming and going more often into your monkey’s protected home area. You may feel as if more changes should be made such as who will shop, prepare, and feed your monkey. It may be that you feel as if you should keep your monkey in a different safe space or keep family members who are out in the world once again, completely away from them.My own situation is very different from many of you who live with several family members. Whatever your choices may be for the safety precautions with your monkey, please take the time to have a family meeting about these changes so that every member will be informed and understand why the changes are needed. This is part of being a “safety-first” monkey family. Try not to set your family up for failure by making rules that will not be easy to follow through with. It is always good to have a plan in place if you or someone in your family becomes sick with the virus. Will your monkey stay in your home or will you send them to a trusted friend or family member? How will you handle the paperwork that will be required for someone else to help you out with their care? We as monkey families must talk about possible things happening so that we can feel that we are always prepared if necessary.
  4. May I suggest that you limit the time you spend on reading and listening to all of the updates and information that is constantly being talked about. We all wish to be informed but not waterlogged with the current believable or unbelievable information. We as monkey owners know that this is real and that we must practice safety precautions completely.
  5. Our beloved monkeys pick-up and respond to everything that is making us feel stressed. They read our mind pictures as we are thinking and speaking to others or to them. They know so much more than we think they know about how we are feeling due to their ability to read these pictures. When they are around you, please try to be centered on them with your thoughts and mind pictures, and not thinking about something that you have just read or seen on the news which has your stress level high.If you are grieving or especially fearful please do not share these thoughts or mind pictures with them. They need their minds to be focused on fun activities like playing, eating, drinking, or maybe you coming to spend time with them. They need to feel you are stress-free and have time to spend with them. This will not only be great for you to have a break from the stress but it will also guarantee that your monkey is not carrying your stress too. We wish for both of you to stay healthy and have strong immune systems during this time of life.
  6. I feel that it is also a very good time to not make changes in the way we wash our monkey’s things or the types of foods that we are feeding them at this time. If you are feeding and caring for them and they are healthy, then keep doing the same thing. If you are a regular reader of our posts here on the Primate Care Site then you already know how important a healthy diet is for your monkey but if you are not aware of the importance of a healthy diet then please take the time to read the many posts which are listed on our site about this issue.
  7. For many of you who must do all of the shopping for your families, my heart goes out to you. I am so blessed to have my husband who wishes to do this for me but if you are the one in charge of this please remember to follow all safety precautions, and choose to use the safety equipment recommended and follow the guidelines for all safety protocols.
  8. If we are consistent and have spent time thinking about all areas that we can do to make our monkey’s environment healthy and safe, then this will help keep the level of stress (where our monkey’s care is concerned) at a manageable level. Try to keep your thoughts and fears that cause you added stress out of your mind. We control our own minds. We can choose what we do and think about in every moment. When I feel extremely stressed by my thoughts and I am aware that I am doing this, I will choose to do something with my mind like imagine that I am pulling back an arrow (full of love) in a bow and let the arrow flow into whatever idea or situation I am feeling stressed about. Just try to remember that you too can choose to do anything that keeps you from building up a high level of stress on your mind. Please remember that you are in control of your own mind.I believe in order to have emotionally leveled and happy monkeys, it is important that we as monkey caregivers try to keep the environments they live in as peaceful and emotionally stable as we possibly can. This may be a little harder during these days of living with greater issues of stress. Please try to keep this in mind when you are speaking with your family during your meeting. When we offer understanding and choose to acknowledge the changes that everyone is dealing with, this can go a long way in calming your families emotions.When trying to calm our monkey’s emotional issues during this time, please try to address the needs of your monkey during your meeting and ask your family to help keep their emotional issues to a minimum and not let your monkey become aware of there even being a problem. This type of behavior is always the very best when monkeys live in our homes. Large fights and issues of unhappiness are never good for monkeys to be made aware of. Monkeys are so very emotional all on their own. Please remind your families about this during your meeting. Your monkeys will be so much easier to care for if your family tries to follow this suggestion.
  9. Your family meeting may have to be about you as the primary caregiver having to go back to work during this changing time. This, of course, would be a very big change not only for your monkey but for your entire family.
  10. Please do not let this issue stress you that I am about to introduce to you.   Because of this virus you as the primary caregiver may need to go to work and leave your wife or husband at home with your monkey. A big issue that can happen during a big change like this is that the person that is left home may gain the allegiance of your monkey. So instead of going into a panic about this possibly happening, your mind energy needs to continue to read and learn more about what you can do to keep this from occurring. Next is a list of things that you can think and talk about doing if you must go to work instead of your spouse or other family member.> If this is happening in your family, please talk about it with them.
    > Make everyone aware of your concerns about this change happening with your monkey.
    > Be honest with your concerns.
    > If you are the one that feeds your monkey then you should still prepare your meals for your monkey so that your scent is on the food and continue to feed them as often as you can.
    > You may have to change the feeding times during this period of time so that you can still be the one to feed your monkey. If you feed a lunch snack make sure the person that feeds first waters them and then simply gives them the food and then limits the time with them.
    > If you are the only one that can change your monkey’s diaper then you may need to change the cage that you are keeping your monkey in. The cage will need to accommodate your monkey without a diaper on where the dirty stuff will drop down through a grate and then land in a tray. Many times there are more that one person in families who can put a diaper on your monkey. If this is the case with your family, it will be helpful and you may not need to have a cage change at all. The other thing that might work about diaper changes is if you are working at a location where you can come home and make diaper changes for your monkey when needed. Just remember to practice all safety protocols that are suggested during this period of time. Your monkey’s health and well being must be high on your list of priorities.
    > There have been many allegiance changes made during situations like we are talking about now. Please consider having the caregiver who will be with your monkey choose to limit the time they relate with your monkey throughout the day. Another thing that you might try changing is choosing to have extra time with your monkey, while you are sleeping or resting. This can become a wonderful bonding thing with your monkey especially if you are having to be away from them during other times in the day or night.
    I hope I have at least helped you eliminate this ever becoming a problem but hopefully, your awareness of the possible situation taking place will help you begin to think of ways to keep the changing allegiance issue from happening. Every situation is different that takes place with our monkeys from others. I believe this is because every monkey is raised and cared for in all different ways. Their ever changing emotions can come into play when any major type of change happens in their lives. I wish you good luck if this situation happens during this time.
    > One more thought that I have about this issue is that usually older monkeys who are grounded in your family, and who are cared for by many members in your family may not have any problems,, when a change in their caregivers occurs, but younger monkeys are more prone to have this issue. As we all know monkeys can easily have their feelings hurt and begin to display behavior issues at any age.
  11. You may have your monkey develop behavior problems when things change after everyone was staying at home to be safe from contracting the virus. He or she may have become very happy and excited about having extra time with their favorite members of the family being home. If this becomes a problem for your monkey you may wish to make changes in advance. It may be that choosing to limit the amount of time or attention that they are giving to him or her may be helpful. Making gradual changes often is very helpful when living with a monkey. You know your own monkey the best but I always like to be prepared for the possibility of something happening that might trigger their ever changing emotions.

May I Suggest: If you are experiencing changes in your monkey’s behavior during this changing and stressful time we are living in, please reach out to others who are your primary go-to-monkey-people who are interested in helping you with possible changes to try with your monkey. Please know that there are many experienced monkey people who truly wish to be helpful when you have a problem arise. Just remember it is your right and your duty to choose what actions you choose to try with your own monkey. Please listen for peace to always guide you in every life situation. God lives in peace, He does not live in fear or stress. God Please Bless Us All During These Challenging Times

Choose To Be The Best Monkey Caregiver You Can Be

primate owner
Mary Lynn and Silly Willy

Thank you for visiting us here at Primate Care. We are committed to bringing good information for you to think about and share with your family, friends, and other monkey caregivers. In the next post, we will be telling you about “Saying Good-bye To Cheech (our 50 plus year old monkey)”.

Written by Mary Lynn Campbell author of “Living With Monkeys”

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