The Spider Monkey’s Bad Habits / A children’s Story

The rainforest of South America is home to many animals. Some live in the tops of trees in the first level of the jungle, some the second level and some on the floor of the rainforest.

It was in the rainforest that Cheeko was born. He lived with his parents only a short time and then was captured by hunters and sold to a pet store in New York. This is where Gabriel Thomas purchased him for a pet.

A Spider Monkey has long, lanky arms, a gripping tail but no thumbs. In the rainforest they use their tails for swinging from limb to limb in the tops of the trees. All Spider Monkeys are extremely intelligent and can learn quite easily. They find food such as fruits, nuts, leaves, and insects while going from tree to tree.

Gabriel had researched the Spider Monkey’s needs well and had a large cage made from bamboo. He felt that Cheeko would love to swing from the bamboo and think of it as home. He had also researched their eating habits and had local stores that provided coconuts, bananas, apples, various nuts and fresh leafy vegetables. He bought diapers to use during the potty training days and purchased cute outfits for Cheeko to wear when they went to visit friends.

Cheeko was the cutest little spider monkey to be sure. He had big brown eyes, soft black hair and a cute smile that would charm the pants off most all men. He would cry like a real baby and make calling sounds when Gabriel was not in the room. He screeched and barked trying to communicate in the only way he knew how. He was fine as long as Gabriel was near but when Gabriel wasn’t there he felt abandoned. This was not a good thing for Gabriel.

Gabriel bought him a pretty red halter and leash so they could go for walks. All the neighbors watched as the two of them began walking from neighborhood to neighborhood. Then Gabriel taught him to ride on a golf cart with him and they rode all over town. It was so much fun to both of them.

Time passed and things began to become more difficult.

Cheeko learned that if he pitched a tantrum he could get more attention from Gabriel. So the tantrums began to increase daily. When Cheeko did not get his way he would throw his food through the bamboo cage onto the floor and scream as loud as he could.

“Cheeko you are a bad boy! Stop that screaming and don’t be throwing your food out of the cage.” Gabriel lectured as he picked up all the food from the floor.

Then Cheeko pulled off his diaper and began to throw poop out of his cage.

“Cheeko you are being a very bad boy! I cannot have you making such a mess in the house. My mother will toss us both out and we will be homeless. Now give me that diaper!” He commanded stearnly.

Gabriel knew that Cheeko was very intelligent for he had seen him copy things that he did himself such as brushing his hair and taking a shower. He thought time and patience would be enough.

As Cheeko grew so did his bad habits. He found a cigarette, flicked the lighter and began smoking it. Rolls of smoke filled the room.

“Cheeko what are you doing? I was trying to take a nap. How did you get my lighter? Cheeko does NOT smoke. It is not good for you or me. I suppose this is a good time for me to stop myself.” He voiced as he retrieved the lighter from Cheeko’s grip.

Day by day things grew worse. Cheeko was very unhappy living in a room. He wanted to be outside and so he began to do anything to get Gabriel to take him out. He would swing from the light fixtures, leap over the furniture, jump off bookshelves and finally began to play with his private parts.

“Oh my goodness Cheeko we simply cannot allow this kind of behavior. I love you very much but I know you are not happy living inside. I will look for you a good place to live. If I can’t find one I will take you back to the rainforest. I know you will be happy there.” He sighed sadly.

Gabriel began to doubt people being good to Cheeko and so he finally decided to take him back to his beloved home in the rainforest.

During the airplane ride, Cheeko watched out of the window as if he knew where they were going. He was so excited he could not sit still. When they finally reached the area where Gabriel felt Cheeko would be safe, he took off the halter and leash. Cheeko stood there looking at the rainforest and then at Gabriel. He gently wrapped his long arms around Grabriels legs and squeezed him really tight. Taking a deep breath he began running into the wet land and was soon out of sight.

Gabriel watched for hours but Cheeko did not come back out. As he turned to walk away he heard a call that he recognized so well. It was the “whoop whoop” sound Cheeko made. He waved goodbye and left the rainforest. Tears ran down his cheeks because he had become so attached to his beloved pet.

Sometimes people can become selfish and want pets that are not compatible with our lifestyles. We must remember how much we love our homes and know our pets love their homes just as much.

Cheeko climbed to the top of the trees in the rainforest and waved as the airplane flew above. This was his way of telling Gabriel all was well and he was safe.

Question: Why was Cheeko unhappy?

Story written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Copyrighted July 2011

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