Primate Book Reviews

"Bringing Up Ziggy" 
by Andrea Campbell 


This book presents refreshing insight into the dedication and commitment necessary to raise a non-human primate (a capuchin monkey) for the Helping Hands Program (a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for quadriplegic individuals by training capuchin monkeys to assist them with daily activities) located in Boston, MA. Ms Campbell relates her journey with Ziggy, a female capuchin monkey, from infancy adoption to adulthood. The delights of raising a baby, the trials of adolescence and the compassion needed to understand the intricacy of maturity are all described with comprehensive detail. 

The tantalizing prospect of living with one of our closet relatives is quickly dispelled as infant antics turn into potential difficulties. Each member of this family must learn their place in Ziggy's world. And, indeed, each member is quickly placed in a particular category, according to Ziggy's personal hierarchy. Ms Campbell weighs the pros and cons of having accepted the responsibility of foster caring this incredible creature. She holds back nothing in describing what it is like to share her home with a monkey. Controversy abounds in regards to some of the necessary procedures and Ms. Campbell presents them astutely. She interjects facts about these incredible creatures among the personal account of her life with Ziggy. 

The accomplishments of Ms. Campbell and her human family, in learning to understand who Ziggy is, along with Ziggy's own accomplishments, makes for an engaging narrative. Several black & white photos enhance this account of one woman's devotion to her diminutive charge and her beliefs in the benefits proposed by the Helping Hands Program. It is a must read for anyone who has contemplated life with a non-human primate. Having raised a capuchin monkey from infancy
to adulthood myself, I can speak from experience and highly recommend this book. 

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