Lauren Kavajecz

by Lauren's mom, Carolyn

When Lauren was 22 weeks old, she sustained a spinal cord injury in a catastrophic car accident. She adjusted well to the paraplegia. Nothing slowed her down! In the year 2000, her first spine surgery was performed and then eleven more followed due to complications. All of those surgeries left Lauren less mobile than most people with paraplegia. She couldn't reach very high nor fully bend at the waist. This greatly affected her independence.

We had heard of an agency that raises "service monkeys" who could retrieve items Lauren couldn't reach and explored that option. Upon further investigation, however, we strongly disagreed with their policy of pulling ALL of their monkeys' teeth. That is inhumane. So we enlisted the help of a "monkey broker". That is how we acquired Carli. Had we known at the time how Carli had been traumatically separated from her biological mother, we would have never pursued obtaining a monkey. No one should. Unfortunately, that is hindsight now.

We made Carli the focal point of our family. Thus, Carli had a charmed, but domesticated, life since infancy. She was included in every aspect of Lauren's daily life, as challenging as that was. The amount of destruction Carli caused was only surpassed by our unconditional love for her. Considering the natural environment of a monkey, though, it is almost impossible to replicate that in a suburban home; thus, the collateral damage Carli caused was astronomical!

When and if Carli would settle down, though, she and Lauren shared a deep compassion for each other. However, this all came to an end abruptly on September 17, 2009, when Lauren unexpectedly died. In retrospect, I realized that Carli should have never been forced to live a domesticated life. So, heartbroken yet determined to give Carli the best life possible, I arranged for Carli to live at Jungle Friends. Although Carli was very well taken care of (actually spoiled!) during her domestic life, Carli will now be able to live the life of a monkey as nature intended, yet in the protected environment of Jungle Friends. And for those monkeys who are still waiting for a wonderful new home in a sanctuary, Lauren's estate is funding new habitats at Jungle Friends and Koreymonde Capuchin Rescue: JAYSIE'S JUNGLE JUBILEE I and II. What a well-suited legacy!

Meet Carli