Irwin the kangaroo has landed in a new home in Oklahoma, p. 36.
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
Christie Carr shares some affection with her therapy animal, Irwin the red kangaroo.