NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) - Kayden Watson lived through what would drain most grown ups but at least his 'monkey friend' was there for him during the entire ordeal.
"He carries it everywhere. He rubs his nose with it to go to sleep," his mom Jennifer Harkin says as her spry 2-and-a-half-year-old literally runs circles around her. "It's his best friend and unfortunately, we just don't know where it is right now."
Kayden was born with Short Bowel Syndrome, which is diagnosed in about one in 1000 people. Treatment has required 11 surgical procedures.
"The monkey was in the operating room with him," his mom says.
But on Monday, after Kayden and his family had lunch at a North Attleboro Dairy Queen, his 'monkey friend' was no longer hanging around. Jennifer remembers her 15-year-old daughter saying that she brought the brown stuffed chimp that's attached to a soft brown blanket back to the car.
"That's the last time we saw it," Harkin says.
The stuffed simian search was on.
Kayden's family spent about four hours on Route 1 looking for the monkey, but there was no sign of him. So, they launched an online hunt on a Facebook page called Kayden's Korner .
Then, Kayden and his parents hit the streets in Cumberland and the surrounding area, posting fliers that explain their plight.
"Is this for your monkey friend," Harkin says, while helping Kayden tape a flier to a pole. "Say, come home monkey friend."
Harkins says the workers at Dairy Queen searched the restaurant and couldn't locate the wayward monkey blanket.
"We think he might've thrown it out the window on the way home," she says. "He's done that before."
"Tell him you just want it back," Harkin tells Kayden, as they look into an Eyewitness News camera.
"I just want it back," young Kayden says with a smile.
If you're thinking they could fool the kid with a replacement, think again.
"He said no. I just want my monkey," Harkins says, explaining what happened after her aunt offered an imposter. "He knows the feeling of it. He knows the smell of it. He knows everything about it. It's not something that you can just replace."
And so the search continues, with no tip considered too small. If you've seen the monkey with the special power to help a young boy deal with almost a dozen operations, log onto Kayden's Korner .
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