By Ron Watson, Jr.
When David Zimmerman joined CitizenShipper as a pet hauler in December of last year, he anticipated delivering dogs, cats and similar cargo. He didn’t expect driving 25 hours with a 10-day-old Patas monkey in his charge.
“I never in a million years dreamed I’d be delivering a baby monkey,” he said. “But I’d definitely do it again.”
“It was like caring for a newborn and being a dad all over again. It was nerve-wracking, but once the paternal instinct kicked in, everything was better.”
The male primate, who was yet to be named, was affectionately referred to as “Little Man” by Zimmerman and his wife, Zola. He also made fast friends with Zola.
“As soon as he got in the truck, Little Man went right to Zola and wrapped his arms around her,” he said. “He was so small, he fit in her hand.”
Originating in Western Africa, Patas monkeys typically grow to 15 lbs., and are relatively rare. Mothers produce offspring an average of every two years. A handful of U.S. zoos feature them in exhibits. Little Man was acquired from a Miami-based breeder.
But this monkey hadn’t quite matured, and required diapers that needed frequent attention.
“His cries sounded like a baby kitten when he needed changing or to be fed,” said Zimmerman. “It was funny, but we got used to it.”
“But we would get nervous when he was quiet, so we’d check on him and he would be standing still just looking back at us – he was a character. Very cool little guy.”
While the Zimmermans and their cargo were enjoying their journey, the monkey’s new owner was very anxious for them to arrive at her residence in Groves, Tex. She had previously owned four other monkeys, and was eager to welcome her newest furry friend.
“We got about 60 texts from her asking for updates, which was fine, but we’ve got to drive safely, especially when you’re going 1,350 miles in one stretch,” he said. “She was obviously really worried about her monkey, and we reassured her often that he was doing fine.”
So after a day of traveling with an adorable primate, would he ever consider getting one of his own?
“I miss him like I miss all the animals I deliver, but I don’t think we’ll be getting a monkey,” he said. “We’ve got two kids, and that’s enough.”
Do you have a dog, cat or exotic animal you need delivered with care? CitizenShipper can help.