Malcolm is a black and white Capuchin said to be in his 30s. His teeth have been removed. His fingernails have been removed and all the bones on both hands have been broken and suffer irreversible damage. His scarred bite marks and countless patches of hair loss evidence that Malcolm was a victim to many, many lost fights. When Malcolm came to us his spirit was broken. He wouldn’t eat, come out of hiding or even make any noises. In cases like this it is detrimental to embellish them with brief, positive human interactions, love, food, enrichment and most importantly, trust.
Malcolm’s first few months were unforgettable as he came to our Florida facility the day of hurricane Irma and most of his time was spent watching the clean up crew repairing the destroyed habitats — the total catastrophe caused by Irma. It was during this time that Malcolm’s relationship with us changed. We first trained him to walk into and out of his carrier. Each morning we carried him from our home onto the grounds to his outdoor enclosure. He would eat there, forage out there and work on his training out there. Each night he’d go back inside with us. This was routine for him.
His outdoor enclosure was set up at the food prep hub of the compound where, oddly enough, most of our sanctuary conversations took place. Every day Malcolm observed us from the canopy of his heavily planted enclosure in silence. He watched us as we crunched numbers and stressed over the sanctuary’s future. Some days the discussions were sad, realistic and emotionally heavy. Other times they were positive, constructive and productive conversations. He watched us every day in silence as our tears were wiped away with pep talks of hope and faith — day in and day out, always dedicated to the routine with progress and honest results. Although at this point none of our training was ever “contact” training, his curiosity with us opened with each session. It is not in a (non human) primate’s nature to openly trust strangers — their relationships are founded and rooted with trust — so it was expected for Malcolm to shy back and never expose his vulnerability to us . . . until . . .
October 11,2017. It was a great and joyous day for us. This was the day it finally happened. During his feeding, Malcolm reached out for my hand to see what I was holding. This was the first time he willingly reached out to me. His tiny, broken hand touched my palm and he kept it there as he chewed the mango. His eyes were soft, happy eyes. In this brief moment of our session we began our bond. From this moment forward, our relationship with Malcolm would be a rock-solid, open and loving one.
After this session we discussed the situation and what triggered Malcolm to want to reach out to me. You know, it’s funny, but we often don’t give enough credit to the animals in our lives. Often, we separate ourselves from them, closing off any chance of understanding our similarities. But they watch us and pick up on our energy, our vibes and our body language. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, part of Malcom’s rehabilitation WAS being around our discussions. As time progressed his reclusiveness dissipated on its own. Observing the way we moved, acted and talked helped Malcolm understand us better every day, peeling off the thin layers of fear and mistrust he had for humans. This would be the most crucial step in Malcolm’s rehabilitation. It would be from this point on that Malcolm’s view on humans would change; indeed, his views on almost everything would change!
Looking back almost two years at where we were all at mentally, physically and emotionally, Malcolm’s personality is not at all what it was. Nor is mine. Proof that personal growth is inevitable. Our personal struggles and tribulations in life have reshaped us all. These struggles and trials intertwined us, and through love and patience, stemmed into something valuable and special.
Malcolm has grown from an introverted, socially exiled, psychologically damaged animal to a physically strong, independent creature who along the way managed to make strong bonds with other monkeys suffering from similar issues. Malcolm’s special and unique behavioral traits have attracted friends of many species. He has monkey friends like Elvis, another Capuchin monkey who quite literally held Malcolm’s hand through some struggles and actually introduced Malcolm to social acceptance, confidence and unconditional love. Malcolm also formed a strong bond with Libby, the Capuchin monkey, another remarkable rescue who looks up to Malcolm and relies on his dependability as a ‘big brother’ to help her acclimate and adjust to happy, healthy living. Malcolm has dog friends, Lemur friends, horse friends, even some potential tortoise friends too!
Malcolm’s presence continues to bring happiness and light into our lives. His unique and curiously playful personality wins the hearts of everyone he meets.
We welcome anyone and everyone to come meet Mr. Malcolm and share your happiness with him! His happy “grimace” will melt your heart.
We are still investing in Malcom’s rehabilitation and well being, and invite you to share in this journey by making a donation to assist us. Thank you!