Ir­win the kan­ga­roo has landed in a new home in Ok­la­homa, p. 36.

Modern Healthcare - - Editorial -

It’s al­most enough to make Out­liers break out in a cho­rus of “Tie Me Kan­ga­roo Down, Sport.” A kan­ga­roo story with a health­care an­gle!

It seems city of­fi­cials have agreed a de­pressed woman can keep a par­tially par­a­lyzed kan­ga­roo at her home in Bro­ken Arrow, Okla., just weeks af­ter she was warned that the ther­apy pet might be run out of town.

The Bro­ken Arrow City Coun­cil unan­i­mously voted last week to cre­ate an ex­otic an­i­mal or­di­nance ex­emp­tion that would al­low Christie Carr to keep Ir­win the red kan­ga­roo within city lim­its un­der cer­tain con­di­tions. The or­di­nance re­quires a $50,000 in­surance pol­icy in case of in­juries caused by the an­i­mal, and a donor stepped up to over Carr’s costs.

Carr is un­able to work be­cause of her health and has found com­fort in the com­pan­ion­ship of Ir­win, whom she met while vol­un­teer­ing at a lo­cal an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary on the ad­vice of her ther­a­pist.

Ir­win frac­tured his neck and suf­fered brain dam­age when he ran into a fence, and Carr of­fered to nurse him back to health. Ir­win can­not stand or walk on his own, al­though he can hop with as­sis­tance. Coun­cil mem­bers had been con­cerned that the kan­ga­roo could present a risk to pub­lic safety.

Na­tive to Aus­tralia, healthy male great red kan­ga­roos can grow up to 7 feet tall, weigh more than 200 pounds and bound 25 feet in a sin­gle leap. But vet­eri­nar­i­ans say Ir­win will prob­a­bly not grow larger than 50 pounds be­cause of his in­jury and be­cause he has been neutered. Carr’s ther­a­pist has cer­ti­fied the an­i­mal as a ther­apy pet un­der the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act. “My life cen­ters around him,” Carr says. “Ir­win has brought me out of my shell.”

The mar­su­pial never leaves the house with­out first get­ting dressed. The clothes—a lit­tle boy’s shirt cut and sewed to ac­com­mo­date his neck, some­times a tie, and jeans or slacks with a hole cut for the tail—are nec­es­sary for ther­a­peu­tic rea­sons and to pro­tect him against germs, Carr says.

Ir­win is also very so­cial me­dia savvy, with his own Face­book page and Twit­ter ac­count. And of course he has a web­site: Ir­winKan­ga­roo.com

AP IM­AGE

Christie Carr shares some af­fec­tion with her ther­apy an­i­mal, Ir­win the red kan­ga­roo.

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