Chapter 1: Billy
Written by Deb, Billy's mother
Billy was the outgoing friend who made sure everyone was included and was everyone’s best friend. Everyone knew, if you needed something, call Billy. Unfortunately, this all ended on August 20, 2017 when Billy had his accident, breaking his C4 & C5 vertebrae and leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down. You never know how someone will react to such a tragedy. Some are angry, some feel this overwhelming sadness and think their life is over, and others take it as a challenge to overcome.
Two days before Billy’s accident, he got a raise and a promotion. Two days after his accident, he was slated to go back to school to get his Master’s Degree. Instead, Billy spent the next six months in a hospital ICU and Rehab Center. His smile and contagious laugh made all around him feel at ease and recognize just how special he was. Even under some of the worst circumstances a 26 year-old could face, Billy continued to shine through the pain and face the unknown.
Chapter 2: Phoebe
The first thing you might notice about Phoebe is her hair. She has some of the most striking hair of any of our monkey helpers. She is a gentle, sweet monkey who has an endless supply of curiosity! She is very shy, but once she’s comfortable, her favorite things to do are to sit in your lap and cuddle! Phoebe also loves the sunshine, and often just stretches out in the sun.
Like many monkeys at the Monkey Living Center, Phoebe loves her baths. She will hop right in the tub, lounging with her arms hanging out while she soaks. She likes the water very warm, will not get in if it is too cold, and doesn’t mind a lot of bubbles. There is nothing like a warm towel after a hot bath!
Phoebe loves her toys! She is a super curious monkey, so her favorites are ones that make clicking noises and that she can twist and move all their different parts. She usually holds them up to her ear so she can hear the different noises they make.
Having been placed with a couple of recipients already in her career, Phoebe was waiting for her next perfect match to come along. Someone she could play with, groom, and assist with daily tasks. When we got to know Billy, we knew they would be the ideal pair!
Chapter 3: Billy and Phoebe
Written by Deb, Billy's mother
A year and a half after Billy's accident…enter Phoebe, a beautiful little monkey with tilted head, tongue sticking out, and all of her adorable expressions, wanting to be a part of Billy’s life. Their bond was instant. Phoebe’s daily sessions with Billy start with snacks, and end with a quiet nap on Billy’s lap. One of their favorite daily games is “stuffed mice”. Tiny stuffed mice are put on top of Phoebe’s enclosure and Billy asks Phoebe to get him a mouse. Phoebe throws each mouse towards Billy - he yells “YEAH” and then asks for another. Phoebe jumps around looking for more mice and throws each one to Billy. These small but important interactions bring Billy back to life.
Phoebe is the very best thing that could have happened to our family since Billy’s accident. We see the smiles she brings out in us and the happy sounds that she makes when she sees Billy. We witness her joy as she sinks into her bath to soak and watch as her playfulness changes our family.
Billy is paralyzed from the shoulders down—he has no feeling from the shoulders down. When Phoebe climbs up to groom his head, play with his beard, or share a treat, it’s special because he can FEEL Phoebe’s caring touch! She’s part of our family. Our little Phoebe brings a smile to Billy’s face, warms his heart, and helps him know that tomorrow is a new day with hope just around the corner.
Helping Hands will continue to support Billy and Phoebe and all our service monkeys across the country for as long as they are together. Your donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, or more provides food, medicine, and veterinary care for our service monkeys and post-service monkeys. Won’t you help us help all the helpers like Phoebe? Make a gift today.