Ooroo the Kangaroo
Candy and Ooroo - A Love Story
On first sight, Ooroo was a less than 'awe-inspiring' specimen of a kangaroo. I felt certain we would part company in short order - hence his name, Ooroo (which means 'Goodbye' in Australia). He was a sparsely furred and terribly stressed joey (the name for a baby kangaroo). His tiny, wizened face and agonised eyes clearly indicated nothing could restore his will to live. The shock of being brutally parted from his Mother and his kangaroo world were simply too much to cope with.
**This is not a photo of Ooroo - this is my Snoopy - BUT all ALL baby kangaroos look SO alike at this stage - and I just had to zoom in on this 'worried' little face to show you how irresistible a joey is. Sadly, the photos of this period are really sparse - blame the 'tyranny of distance' - the nearest processing of photos was just too far away, and too expensive for us in those 'poor' (but amazingly 'rich') days.
On making my initial judgement on the likely survival of this tiny 'skeleton', I hadn't taken into account the life-giving love that my sweet puppy, Candy could and would, most willingly offer. It would follow that EVERY new 'rescue' animal would be given a formal introduction to this loving and loveable puppy, and without exception receive a solid, wet lick of approval... as the first step in the mothering process.
When Ooroo the kangaroo received his official welcome, he blinked, clicked his tongue several times and fell in love. I have no explanation of why some animals will declare for friendship, whilst others declare war - but it happens, and thankfully acceptance is mostly the case (or has been, in our menagerie!). This love story was inspirational in its height of acceptance of ALL differences and depth of pure love.
I Love You More
... no, I do!
A combination of warm drink of 'roo potion'; a hot water bottle wrapped in a fluffy towel; being tucked into a hanging jumper on a chair back in front of 'old faithful' (my wood stove), and several more 'roo potions' throughout the night, found Ooroo alive and clicking before daylight next morning. Did I also detect an eagerness to continue the love story initiated the night before with my beloved puppy, Candy?
He willingly accepted his cuddles, calories and 'come out' from his artificial pouch, but the thing he anxiously sought and adored was Candy's clean-up of his face and chest. A routine was established that first day... a ritual. Candy would wash Ooroo, then Ooroo would hold Candy's face with his delicate little paws and lick off surplus droplets of milk clinging to her whiskers.
They talked to each other constantly - he with his kangaroo clicks, her with small puppy whines and soft 'woofs'. I was 'mother' to both, an essential part of their well-being and love, and they were 'siblings', no matter their genetics. Their love story grew daily.
...well, it was a 'learning curve'
Ooroo grew in strength, health and confidence, and my two sweet babies began their intrepid exploits. They started innocently enough - just your average joey and puppy learning about the World around them. The long wooden verandah was an adventure in itself for Ooroo, and the two steps down provided a challenge. But Candy showed him her puppy trot version of navigation, and he learnt his translation - one gigantic joey jump!
And now, bright new vistas opened up to our baby kangaroo. Candy taught Ooroo the questionable delights of visiting pigs, goats, lambs and emus. And because Candy followed me to our outside 'loo', and outside 'wash-house' (laundry) and generator room, he learned the ins-and-outs and horrors (in relative order) of these rooms, too.
Inevitably, Candy decided that Ooroo should learn to traverse paddocks and their necessary fences. Candy was adept at passing through ringlock fencing with a 'nose forward, twist of the body, flip the back legs through' action. Unfortunately, Ooroo's body design was somewhat differently. He could poke his head and front legs through but couldn't achieve the essential 'twist'.
I watched this happening from a distance, with neither participant aware of my existence, and was entertained and deeply moved by their actions. Candy would perform her manoeuvre and 'woof' on the other side of the fence. Then Ooroo would try all types of twists of his body - fail - worry - withdraw and click -and worry some more. Candy would once again, ever so patiently, go through the entire routine... again... and again.
Adventures... on the 'other' side
Finally, unbelievably, Ooroo mastered the technique, to be greeted by loud exuberant barks from his rather maternal puppy 'mentor', as well as countless enthusiastic licking-type rewards to his face... the puppy equivalent to hugs and kisses, maybe? Whatever, Ooroo clicked joyously and the pair took off to explore the 200 acre (80 hectare) paddock.
And now a new challenge was mine! If Candy and Ooroo weren't within shouting or even whistling distance by late afternoon, I needed to hop into our VW station wagon to go search the paddocks. Sooner, or more often later, I would see two familiar shapes in the distance. When they caught sight or sound of the car approaching they would stop in their tracks and wait patiently for their 'taxi' to escort them home.
I would pull up alongside them and reproach them for their naughtiness - and inevitably be answered by many licks and clicks. With the back hatch open and a few snaps of my fingers, in they would both jump to ride home for tea - each in its own way telling me full details of this latest adventure.
Space! - ...not the Outer kind.
And just when I thought I had seen everything, my pair of rogues almost gave me a nervous breakdown. Some 70kms away at our nearest drive-in theatre, a film I had longed to see was showing on that Saturday night. We had organised the entire day to be able to treat ourselves and actually go and see 'a movie'. But, my intrepid pair chose this very auspicious occasion to go a-wandering and like Bo-peep, 'I didn't know where to find them'.
I was desperate. Here were my babies gone missing, and at the same time, my first chance to see just one of the films I'd been missing so badly, for so long. After fruitless hours of searching until it was dark, the men finally convinced me there was nothing more to be done for my babies this night and I reluctantly agreed to go to the film.
'Ryan's Daughter' - ...the Movie I Just Had to See!
Need Something to Cuddle About Now? - ...I Did!!
Coincidence?...I prefer to call it Destiny.
At the half-way interval we went to the Snack bar, and amongst many other conversations overheard a critical one, and I repeat it (almost verbatim!)
"Jeez, tonight I saw everything! We're driving along this road, right? And in our lights there's this goddamn 'roo - a little 'un. Yeh well, that's not so unusual, but this one's got a mate trotting alongside - a little yellow dog! So I figger they'll take off, right? Nope! The little buggers just stop and stare at the lights, blinking lots - but they don't take off, right? So jeez, I stops. I opens the bloody door and gets out to have a look. What do you reckon the little buggers do? They jump into the car, sit up on the front seat and wait to be goddamned sho-furr-driven somewhere, don't they? Tell you what mate, I was spooked! Damnedest thing I've ever seen. And they're home now in cages, both whimpering and clicking and I'm buggered if I know what I'm going to do with them".
I fought my way through the throng to reach the saviour of my babies, and to explain the inexplicable. I'm still not sure who was more relieved, but certainly it wasn't my 'sho-furr' husband when he discovered he would need to take me 20kms even further away from home to collect my little loves - after the movie.
But even he weakened when he saw the tumultuous welcome of the babies at the sound of my voice. And the further disbelief on the face of the 'rescuer' was a treat when I opened the cages and my 'darling daring duo' rushed out - not off to the wide-open spaces, but instead into the arms of their 'Mum'.
I Love You Rolf Harris - ...and Thank You for SO many laughs!
The End of This Story - ...but not the end of the Whole story!
A postscript to this story was that the tale naturally spread and gained momentum, and I was generally considered to be 'kinky' in this very traditional farming area - a lady(?) who raised 'roos and other creatures all together, so none knew who or what they really were.
I loved that!
**In the photo PLEASE ignore the hairy people - concentrate on the middle of the photo - one of the roos in the background is actually Ooroo, and the 'camera shy' doggy in the front is my beloved 'golden girl', Candy. The rest are assorted other lamb and goat 'rescues', and the gorgeous Lassie belonged to our boss, but spent half her life at our place being another 'mother' to my waifs, and 'big sister' to Candy.
Need some more 'Roo Reads'? - ..these sound cute
- Candy - A Honey of a Dog
Ten years can seem a lifetime when you're a dog lover - and you don't have a dog of your own. This was the life of the sweetheart I waited for, the dog I called Candy.
- Kangaroo R&R - Rescue and Rebirth
Some of our 'furry' children have been kangaroos. One look into a baby kangaroo's eyes, and you're guaranteed to lose your heart. I did... many times over.
- Farmers? Are You Serious?
Two eager city office workers making a tree change to the country. Could it, would it work? 40+ years later we're still farmers, so guess it did.