Allston 'Monkey College' Building Helper Monkey Retirement Home

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — This week, Boston's Zoning Board of Appeals approved a major expansion for an Allston nonprofit that trains monkeys as service animals—an expansion the facility will use for a monkey retirement home.

For 40 years, Helping Hands has been training capuchin monkeys to help people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities accomplish daily tasks.

The monkeys are sent all over the country, but they're all trained at the facility in Allston, their Alma Mater.

"We refer to this as the monkey college," Angela Lett, Helping Hands' Executive Director, told WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers.

The monkeys can pick up dropped items, switch on the lights, and even more complicated tasks.

"They get a bottle of water out of a mini-fridge, open the bottle, and insert a straw," Lett said.

Lett said Helping Hands is now gathering donations to make the monkey senior living center a reality.

"We just need to renovate and better utilize the space to provide living environments for monkeys who are going to be here permanently," she said.

She said their monkeys generally live between 30 and 40 years.

"We do have this aging monkey population that requires our care," Lett said. "They have devoted their lives to serving other people, and so we really feel its our responsibility to provide them the best care possible throughout the rest of their lives."

WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@_madisonrogers) reports

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