Mike Miller Monkeys Around
When he's on the basketball court, there is no such thing as monkey business for Orlando Magic Forward Mike Miller, who is very serious about his game. But off the court, it's a different story. Miller spends a lot of time "monkeying" around with Sonny, his pet monkey.
Sonny, a three-month-old Java Macaque who weighs less than five pounds, lives with Miller in his Windermere home. Sonny has his own bedroom, equipped with toys, climbing devices and room to play, yet still sleeps with Miller in his bed every night and wakes at 7:30am.
There are more than 13 different types of macaques living in many regions, ranging from Japan to Morocco, but most can be found in Asia. Most macaques can live for 20-40 years and have many different vocalizations. They also communicate through the use of gestures and facial expressions. Macaques usually range in size from 20-25 inches long.
When he's fully-grown, Sonny will weigh up to 15 pounds and have the intelligence level of a six-year-old child. For now, though, he still wears diapers and drinks baby formula out of a bottle. Miller is working on potty-training Sonny and weaning him off the bottle to regular "people food". Until then, Sonny continues to climb and jump around the house like a curious toddler wearing his diaper.
Miller has always loved animals, and in addition to Sonny, he has three dogs, a Weimaraner named Zeke and two Great Danes, Domino and Rookie, and an aquarium filled with exotic fish. Sonny and the dogs get along great, Miller said. In fact, Sonny often amuses the clan by dangling from the tails of the three dogs.
"They're just my life. They keep me busy and I have fun with them. I think that's the most important thing," Miller said.
In order to own a pet monkey in Florida, Miller had to be licensed by the state. Once that was taken care of, he purchased Sonny from a professional breeder in Missouri.
"You should always go the safest route possible," Miller said. "His family and extended family have all been bred here in the US, so I wasn't worried about anything."
When Miller is not home, he has a baby-sitter come over to watch Sonny. After all, he is still just a baby. Miller compares having the monkey to being a parent-you always have to be aware of what he is doing because he is your responsibility.
"He is actually like a kid really, so for everything you go through if you have kids or are going to have kids, he's a great test," Miller said. "You have to change his diapers, give him his bottle, and he wakes up in the middle of the night. There's all that kind of stuff. He makes you think that you have a little kid, but he makes it fun."
And just like many parents want their children to take after them, Miller has aspirations for Sonny to be a great basketball player. "As soon as he's old enough, I hope to teach him how to dribble."
For now though, Miller just enjoys hanging out with his little buddy.