In May 2005 I embarked on an extraordinary, adventurous journey and, at the time, did not even realize it. Like too many others, I purchased the “cutest ever” tiny little monkey when she was only 9 days old. Mia, a Java macaque, would forever make things different for me in ways I could never have imagined.
My life up to that stage was focused on living my version of the American dream. I was raising a beautiful family, had recently started and was growing my own business, and always had a soft spot in my heart for animals. I will skip the trauma, frustration and danger experienced over the next five years of attempting to keep a non-human primate as a family member. Suffice it to say that a wild animal does not belong in anyone’s home!
I knew things had to change and finally, after extensive and thorough research, the decision was made: our darling Mia was moving to Oklahoma to a place called Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary. The voice on the phone and the emails we exchanged made me feel certain that I was making the correct decision for our Mia! However, this was as torturous as giving up a human family member.
Arriving at the Sanctuary after a 15-hour drive, we were warmly welcomed. The voice on the phone now had a beautiful warm smile and a very friendly face to go with it. That face belonged to Linda Barcklay. Linda opened the doors of the Sanctuary in 1992 and in 1995 incorporated and became a registered non-profit Organization.
I found out that the Sanctuary was named in honor of the first monkey Linda rescued. Her name was Mindy Sue and she had been utilized in research. She was an adult, age unknown, and was small for her species and severely underweight. She also had severe health problems: she vomited frequently, and the only way she could be kept hydrated was by receiving subcutaneous injections of fluids containing electrolytes. Though Mindy Sue only lived another 5 years, and passed away after a severe stroke, Linda stated, “she changed my life forever!”
Linda quickly realized there was a desperate need for good sanctuaries to house the many other non-human primates being released from laboratories or being rehomed from pet situations. Her path was clear and Linda embraced it and dedicated her time, her love, her energy and all of her resources to saving as many individuals as she could.
Over the past 20 years Linda has rescued hundreds of monkeys, educated thousands of humans to the plight of captive monkeys and changed the lives of dozens of humans, like me, whose perspective on life regarding the rights of all sentient beings were forever altered because of her passion and example. I remain a dedicated and passionate supporter of Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary and will continue doing everything that I can to carry on the legacy initiated by Linda Barcklay.