Beloved Mikee the monkey of Maplewood passes away

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Roy Carlson and Mikee the monkey of Maplewood, Minn. brought smiles just about wherever they went. But Carlson says Mikee passed away last month and it’s like losing a member of the family.

Whether they were walking around the lake, or riding around town in an SUV, it's easy to see Carlson and Mikee shared a special bond.

But after nearly 20 years of monkeying around together, Carlson says their case of animal attraction is over. 

"I kind of get choked up talking about it, but he was the highlight of my life and many other lives," Carlson said.

Carlson bought the pig-tailed macaque in Las Vegas back in 1998 after the five children he and his wife raised left home.

Over the years, Carlson and Mikee went everywhere together from parades to weddings and complete strangers would often stop them during their regular walks around Como Lake and Lake Phalen to pose for pictures.

"He loved people," said Carlson. "He loved going out to big displays. We'd go to Irishfest, Saints game. Sit outside. All the cops knew us. They'd come out of the gate to get their picuures taken. He was a celebrity everywhere he went."

When the state passed a law banning exotic pets back in 2005, Carlson was grandfathered in and he believes Mikee was the only legal pet monkey in the state.

But fate threw a monkey wrench into their life together, when Carlson says Mikee had a heart attack and died unexpectedly early last month after fluid built up around his heart.

"One gasp of air," said Carlson. "It happened so fast you would not believe it. I tried to resuscitate him. Did everything I could. Rushed to the vet, but there was no saving him."

For now, Carlson is grateful for the time he and Mikee had together.

He says the last two decades with a monkey on his back weren't quite so bad.

"It was just like having a kid who was grownup, but he never grew up," he said. "It was so much fun."

The public is invited to attend a celebration of life for Mikee on Sunday, November 5 at the C.S.P.S. Hall at West 7th Street in St. Paul from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.