ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A beloved St. Paul pet is being remembered tonight.
Mikee the monkey entertained people around the St. Paul lakes for almost 20 years. He was featured in more than 70 parades throughout his lifetime.
His owner, Roy Carlson, talks about Mikee the Monkey with pride, like he would about any of his five children.
“I’d play game with him, try to fool him and he was not to be fooled. He was smart,” he said.
Carlson bought Mikee almost two decades ago, and it became clear that the monkey caught on quickly to just about everything.
“I’d lay out five or six outfits everyday,” Carlson said. “He’d throw on the floor what he don’t want, which is a bad habit, but he would hug what he wanted to wear.”
Carlson credits Mikee with helping him eat healthy because of the monkey’s strict diet. He also got plenty of exercise with Mikee, walking around St. Paul lakes — with dozens of people stopping to stare and ask questions.
“A 45-minute walk around the lake turned into three hours sometimes, because we had to stop so many times,” Carlson said.
Nineteen-year-old Mikee — who Carlson says had a life expectancy of more than 50 years — died last month from a sudden heart attack.
“It happened so fast, I thought he was playing or he wanted me to get on the floor and wrestle with him,” Carlson said.
Carlson misses the curiosity with which Mikee looked at the world, and the way he made people feel.
“It is the best therapy a person can have, is love for an animal,” he said.
It was a life spent teaching humans about unconditional love, in a way only an animal could.
In the early 2000s, Minnesota passed a law banning people from owning exotic animals, but Mikee was able to be grandfathered in because he was already with his owner.
Mikee will be remembered on Nov. 5 at the CSPS in St. Paul from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.