As Dexter gets older, Osbourne hopes to train him to collect her horses, but even then, Dexter will be smaller than the horse since he is likely only to grow to be 15- 22 inches long, about the size of a miniature poodle. Considering Capuchin monkeys traditionally come from the rain forest, a traditional tropical diet is difficult to come by in Nebraska. Dexter, with Osbourne’s approval, has decided to ditch the regular monkey diet for Wheat Thins, cottage cheese, pudding, and baby formula. Despite the growing pains, and logistics of monkey ownership, Osbourne says she is happy with her new pet, and excited to spend time with him. Osbourne has a monkey. It’s very curious. It’s going to keep her very, very busy.
This is Dexter. He lives at the Osbournes. He is a good, little monkey and always very curious. As a young child, most of us laughed at the playful character “Curious George” and his many troubles, claiming him as our favorite monkey and begging our parents to let us visit him at the zoo. In middle school science and history, we learned of the relationship between humans and monkeys in space and humanitarian missions, but rarely, in high school, does our obsession with monkeys continue, like it has with senior Arielle Osbourne and her pet, Dexter. In September, Osbourne bought a pet Capuchin monkey, Dexter, from an exotic animal sale in Missouri, and the two have been family ever since. “I wanted one because no one else has one, and [monkeys are] entertaining,” Osbourne said.
While others play with the generic dog, cat, or fish, Osbourne enjoys Dexter’s constant entertainment. “He’s definitely curious,” Osbourne said, “he gets into a lot of stuff.” To Osbourne, in many ways, her little Dexter is more like a human than other animals, and despite being a few days shy of his seventh birthday, Dexter acts more like a two year old than a baby. “He’s always getting into stuff,” Osbourne said. Dexter sticks his tongue out all the time and likes to play on a collapsible laundry stand, but just like Osbourne hates changing Dexter’s tiny diapers, Dexter hates it when Osbourne gives him a bath. “I have to give him a bath every day, and he screams bloody murder the whole time,” Osbourne. Dexter also detests the clothes like a Santa suit, tuxedo, and hats that Osbourne buys him from Build-a-Bear Workshop.Dexter scares a little when around big dogs but seems to get along with the rest of Osbourne’s animals. “It’s kind of like the movie ‘We Bought a Zoo,'” Osbourne said. “We’ve got horses, ducks, dogs, and, now, a monkey.”
While traditional pets raise few issues with the law, pets like those in “We Bought a Zoo” and Osbourne’s monkey sometimes cause national and legal attention when the animals get loose. After a 2009 pet-chimpanzee attack in Connecticut, the House of Representatives passed a bill to ban interstate trade of monkeys, but it died in the Senate. Nebraska law states that Dexter, and other monkeys, are illegal within city limits. The Osbournes live outside city limits, so are not affected by the regulation, and it does not prevent Osbourne from playing with her newfound friend and pet.