A Missouri woman is crediting monkey medication, the presence of a monkey around her all the time, with helping her cope with mental illness issues.
Like me, you may have seen her featured on Good Morning America today. In the report, Debby Rose claims that her pet monkey, Richard, gives her medicinal benefits in treating her anxiety disorder.
“He’s an emotional support. He calms me down. He lowers my blood pressure from his soothing eye contact. He helps with that,” she said on the report. One of the big problems that can come from anxiety disorders are panic attacks. Since having Richard as her constant companion, Debby has had no panic attacks. She no longer needs to take the medications that doctors normally prescribe for people dealing with anxiety issues.
While she and Richard are quite happy with the arrangement, not everyone is so excited. Some people around her community don’t appreciate seeing a monkey at the grocery store or restaurant that Debby might be visiting. And some authorities question if a monkey is an acceptable helper animal to be going around to public places.
Some people filed complaints with the county health department and it is now taking action to bar the Richard from being in stores or restaurants.
"This type of old world monkey has been known to be aggressive. It has a high prevalence of herpes B infection, which is highly fatal in humans when they are exposed to that," said a health department official.
But Debby’s doctor is very supportive of her unusual form of anxiety treatment.
"I have a lot of patients that suffer from anxiety. Many patients are on lots of medication for this problem," said Dr. Larry Halverson. "Debbie has a monkey that she carries with her and takes no medications and remains very functional. So I think it's a great thing."
The situation does raise some interesting questions. What types of animals are acceptable therapy animals? What settings should they be kept out of? Who ultimately should be responsible for making these decisions?
What do you think should be done about Debby and Richard? Share your thoughts by submitting a comment here.