Tuesday, February 6, 2007

La Monita

"The Little (Girl) Monkey". I awoke this morning to the sounds of my dogs barking ferociously at something in the jungle in front of the house. I could tell by the sound of their barks they had something cornered. I went to investigate. Apellido had a female congo (howler monkey) by the throat on the ground and was shaking it to death in his pit bull jaws. How and why the monkey was on the ground I do not know. A large male was overhead in the trees, howling and irritated as he watched what was transpiring below. When Apellido saw me, he immediately released the monkey and headed for the shade of the porch. I was mortified and absolutely furious!

The monkey was in bad shape with puncture wounds around her neck and God only knows what kind of internal damage. She wasn't breathing very well. She had vomitted. I wrapped her up in a towel and put her in the back seat of my pickup. Carla grabbed Mr. Spock and we jetted to the vet in the next town over. We arrived at 8AM. The vet's office didn't open until 9AM.

I went to the dive shop across the street. The owners of the dive shop adopt a lot of animals and I was sure they would have the vet's cell number. Unfortunately, the owners weren't there and were unreachable. I explained my situation to one of the dive masters and he managed to dig up a number from a folio with the word "Vet" next to it. I connected with a 'veterinarian' who said he no longer worked for the office in front of which my pickup with the dying monkey was parked. He was very sorry. Yeah, right! I suddenly realized why he wasn't working there anymore.

The next 45 minutes were the longest 45 minutes of my life. I spent them helpless, leaning over the dying monkey in the back seat, petting her head, talking to her in Spanish and English, snugging the towel around her, encouraging her to hang on. Her tiny, little perfectly shaped, silky smooth, black hand with equally, perfectly shaped black finger nails was wrapped around my index finger the whole time. I watched this poor primate go into shock as she fought to breath. It was horrible. I watched her last gasp for air, emitting a small bubble of blood and saliva through her nose on her final exhale. Her eyes were frozen open. Her grip went limp. She was dead.

The vet never arrived - she was in Center City for the day. I'm not even sure there would have been much she could have done anyway.

I've had some pretty bad days in my life, but I can't remember one as bad as this in the last 10 years, except for one upon which I will refrain from elaborating. My domesticated animal had killed a wild one, one more noble than he. A primate. An animal that reminds us of ourselves when we look at it. I'm conflicted between the love for my dog and the love for all that is wild and untamed. I am riddled with guilt - the death of this monkey is my fault. But more than anything, I'm just plain sad. Really sad. The experience has profoundly affected me.

On top of that, I'm at the taller again - third time in a week. The "McGyver" (Mah-GHEE-ver, down here) they implemented yesterday on my pickup on an oil hose that was producing a small leak didn't take. So I'm in the waiting room typing this as I await yet another attempt to stop the slow, oily hemhorrage on my afflicted pickup. At least the leaks are getting smaller. I haven't showered in two days as my well pump is out and I have no water pressure. The lot I thought I had sold yesterday is now too expensive for the buyer. The deal fell through.

Crappy day. It's not even noon. But then, it's not 4 degrees F either.

P.S.: The vet just called. I have to come back to pick up the dead monkey as she has no way of disposing of the corpse. Didn't think the day could get worse, but it just did.

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