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Monkey on your back

CHIANG RAI: Having a monkey on one’s back might sound like the very definition of hardship, but for a dog in Mae Sai it is a labor of love. Guests at the Kung Pao 38 Restaurant in Mae Sai are greeted by a rather unusual welcoming committee when they arrive: a four-year-old Labrador retriever and “Jockey”, an orphaned baby monkey that clings constantly to the dog’s back in the belief that she is its natural mother. The animals’ owner, 36-year-old restaurateur Anupas Patisaen, said that the cross-species adoption came about quite naturally. The bitch, named Nasa, was retired about two years ago from her work as a drug sniffer with the Mae Sai Police Station. The dog’s former handler, Pol Sgt Maj Samphan Patisaen, asked K. Anupas if he wouldn’t mind taking care of the animal. He accepted. Then, around the beginning of September, the policeman turned up with another animal that needed a good home – an orphaned baby monkey, species unknown and gender not reported. Maj Samphan said he thought the young monkey had somehow managed to escape the clutches of poachers who killed its parents, hoping to catch the baby to sell in Bangkok’s black market for exotic pets. As luck would have it, not only did the baby monkey escape, but it also arrived at Anupas’ restaurant at just the right time; Nasa had just had a litter of eleven puppies, only one of which remained at the restaurant – the rest being snatched up by friends and relatives. Nasa, who had plenty of extra teats for the baby monkey to suckle from, accepted the monkey as her own. Jockey also gets along well with the other pup, as yet unnamed. At first, the baby primate tried to cling to the dog’s stomach monkey-style, but soon found it an easier arrangement to ride on the dog’s back, hence the moniker “Jockey”. So close are “mother and child” that piercing screams will instantly ensue if the dog walks even a few feet away from the monkey. This seldom happens, however, as Nasa is a very attentive mom. And even though monkeys tend to shy away from water, Jockey just holds on tight when Nasa, being a Labrador, decides it is time for a swim. Nasa benefits from having a monkey on her back, too. The monkey’s constant grooming ensures that her coat remains free of ticks and fleas.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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