Happy Monkey Day! Dec. 14 has been established as Monkey Day and the time to celebrate all things monkey! The purpose of the special monkey-loving day is to raise awareness of the theory of evolution, medical research and animal rights, according to Days of the Year, with organizations around the globe holding events, festivals and sit-ins to raise awareness of the plight of our monkey friends.

And while Monkey Day is all about the monkeys, occasionally another primate group slips in to enjoy the day as well, like apes. Apes are different than monkeys; the easiest way to tell is to check out the derrière. Monkeys have tails (think spider monkey, capuchins) and apes do not (think chimpanzees, orangutans), says Save the Chimps.

For our Monkey Day celebration, we are giving thanks and paying homage to the wonderful people who work tirelessly for the monkeys in need at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville, Fla. Not all rescue and sanctuaries are the same and Jungle Friends sets the bar high with their high-quality care for the retired laboratory research monkeys, ex-pets and those confiscated by authorities when needed.

Once the animals are in Jungle Friends' care, they live in large habitats specific to the animal's needs with their physical, emotional and psychological well-being in mind. The sanctuary houses capuchins, marmosets, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys and tamarins.

Their research retirement program has enabled them to take - throughout the years - hundreds of monkeys from research laboratories, whose lives took them from caught in the wild, to capture, to sold for research, to living decades in small isolated cages at a research facility.

The lucky ones retired eventually, and Jungle Friends welcomes them with open arms, through the generous donations that come through their research retirement program. We owe the research monkeys this and much more! At Jungle Friends, they are getting a chance at a real life. For many monkeys, this it the first time in their lives they have something to live for and a future that's bright.