Innovative Solutions for People        Living With Physical Disabilities

Innovative Solutions for People
       Living With Physical Disabilities

Kukla and Kyla. 2 Monkeys. 2 Stories.

Kukla and Kyla. Two Service Monkeys. Two Stories. One way to help. 

The Beginning: For more than 40 years, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers placed, at no cost, highly trained capuchin monkeys with people living with mobility impairments looking for more independence and companionship. These incredible service monkeys fetched dropped objects, repositioned limbs, pushed power buttons, and were constant companions to their human partners. Now, as these beloved monkeys like Kukla and Kyla return home to Boston from their service, it is our duty to care for them as they have cared for so many. And they need you.

Throughout September, you will get to know Kukla and Kyla, a pair of hardworking service monkeys now in their golden years, enjoying their hard-earned retirement.

College, Cuddles, and Classes – Meet Kyla

What must it be like, losing a friend and companion of over 14 years? It’s hard to imagine. Beth had been paired with her service monkey Tina for all those years when Tina unexpectedly passed away. Tina helped Beth around the house—picking up dropped objects, fetching things, and providing companionship and love. When Tina passed, Beth wasn’t sure she would ever want another helper.

After taking some time to grieve, Beth contacted Helping Hands. She had decided it was time to fill the quiet in her house with monkey noises once again. The staff knew that Kyla was the perfect choice to join Beth—a smart, sweet, loving monkey who brightens the day of everyone she meets. 

Kyla loves to cuddle, so her love and care, in addition to her skills as a service monkey, were exactly what Beth needed. They became a happy pair for many years.

But, as we all know, life changes. Beth’s housing situation changed, and she started taking classes that took her away from her home more and more. As much as it pained her, she knew that it was time to let Kyla go back to Boston to get the love, care, and attention she needed.

Kukla’s Journey

Kukla is a smart, sweet monkey with an extremely unique story. She not only helped an individual, she helped a family.

After a devastating accident, Rich became a quadriplegic. He knew that he needed a hairy companion to help him do small tasks around his home. In 2007, Kukla joined their household on the other side of the country. She provided companionship, love, and help until his death. Normally, Kukla would have returned to Helping Hands so that she might help someone else. As it turned out, someone close to her already needed her help. Rich’s daughter, Michelle, had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and her mobility had started to decline. Kukla was already part of the family and the perfect companion and helper. They were a happy pair for many years.

In 2020, life changed for Michelle. Work got busier and busier, and she knew that it wasn’t fair to Kukla. She knew the right thing to do would be to send Kukla back to Boston. But how to make this happen? It was the middle of the pandemic and our monkeys were no longer welcome to fly on domestic flights. Driving wasn’t an option. But our unwavering commitment to our post-service monkeys pushed us to find a solution. Charlie, a longtime friend of Helping Hands and a pilot came to the rescue, flying Kukla back to her monkey friends at the Monkey Living Center.

Kukla and Kyla – the Golden Years

Kukla, the sweet and sassy 33 year-old, is quite the social butterfly. She loves leading Chelsea, her handler, around the monkey floor to say “hi” and flirt with all her monkey friends. But her best friend is Bambi. You can often find them together in the playspaces grooming one another in any sunny spot. Of course, that’s only if they aren’t wrestling or playing Kukla’s favorite game of chase! When she’s feeling especially silly Kukla will flop over dramatically in front of Bambi and laugh until Bambi will play with her. She just loves being the center of attention!

Kyla is one of our smallest monkeys, but don’t let her size fool you! At 34, she’s definitely a spunky and independent little lady! She enjoys spending her time with Alison, our director of monkey care, and other monkeys, especially her BFFs Lucy and Sadie. Alison knows that Kyla is a bit particular with toys. If she could, Kyla would tell you that she’d much prefer interactive toys (buttons, levels, or movable parts) over toys with faces or ones that squeak! She’s very playful and loves to be tickled.

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