Lolita would be safe inside the house in her cage or playpen, but she panics if she can’t see anyone, just as she would in the wild. And there’s nothing quite as pitiful as a “lost monkey” call.
Chiquito would probably be safe in his cage in the backyard, but we’re at the edge of the jungle. An unwelcome fer-de-lance, or boa constrictor, could slither right through the chain link. (A rehabilitator in Nosara had a horrific experience with a boa that had no trouble getting into the cage, but was too fat to get out after swallowing one of the occupants.) And while a jaguarundi or hawk couldn’t do anything except scare Chiquito, he doesn’t know that. So someone has to be here to respond if he gives an alarm call. He’s only done it once, in the middle of the night, but we knew exactly what it was even though we'd never heard anything like it. Of course, Paul and I didn’t want to put our Golden Retriever at risk, so WE ran out in the dark to protect Chiquito. (It’s too late for Darwin awards…we’ve already reproduced.) Fortunately we didn’t see anything, perhaps because we looked scary enough ourselves that whatever-it-was didn’t want to be seen. But Chiquito was still staring intently into the dark fifteen minutes later, so it wasn’t just a bad dream.
Hence the need for a monkey sitter if we go to town together during the day, or out socially at night. And they don’t come any better than our housekeeper, Carmen. Lolita and our Golden Retriever, Evie, adore her. She takes no guff from Chiquito; if he grabs her clothing, she holds both of his hands and shakes them…and he’s yet to refuse a mango when she brings him one. But best of all? She can wield a machete with abandon.