Friday, June 17, 2011

Gone in a Flash - Merrilyn Pt 9

Joeys are not forever.  They are temporarily in your care until the are old enough and strong enough to be released to a life in the wild.  They are not pets and you know they will be with you for just a short time.  Logic therefore says - DON'T get attached.  Not only do you eventually release a joey into the wild, but many die along the way from disease, injury and attacks from predators.  Wildlife care can be a thankless, heart-breaking task.  The problem is, those who decide to be involved do so because they have big hearts and big hearts get attached.

I had raised joeys before, and lost joeys before and I knew the realities, but for some reason Merrilyn and Buster burrowed deep into my heart.

It had taken only a couple of months for Merrilyn to grow from a helpless, very sick, fur less joey
To a healthy joey, who, on this occasion, climbed onto my lap and settled in for a nap.
She also loved her "brother" Buster who had grown into a beautiful joey.
I took them for walks across my property a couple of times a day.  They were still kept inside at night, safe from predators, and these walks helped to strengthen their bodies.  I still recall the first time Buster took off across the paddock, (field).  I held my breath.  Would he turn and come back?  He did, charging at me at break neck speed and rushing past, only to turn and come back again.  His joy in the freedom was palpable.  On the walks he would rush off and little Merrilyn, about 1kg, (2.2lb) lighter than him would chase his heels and do her best to keep up.

On this particular day Merrilyn had weighed in at just over 3.5kg, (7.7lbs).  She still spent a good deal of her day in her pouch.  She was on 3 bottles a day plus grass.  She had also drank some water for the very first time in the morning.  We went for our walk at about 4.30pm and all was going well when a wild adult female kangaroo came from no where and raced past us, coming quite close.  Merrilyn must have thought this kangaroo was Buster and so she took off after her and in seconds they were both gone from sight.  I ran and called and then realised I was probably frightening the adult and causing her to run faster and so stopped, but they had already gone right across the open paddock and into the bush beyond - somewhere Merrilyn had never gone before.  I was horrified.

We returned Buster to his pouch in the house and then set off to try and find Merrilyn.  I walked and called but could find no trace of her.  No trace of any other kangaroos in fact.  I went several kilometres, checking side tracks with no success.  Bottle time came and went and I knew she was out there somewhere - hungry, getting cold and she had never been out of her pouch this long.  She was tiny and night was closing in and she was a long way from home.

I returned for a torch and then went back out to look some more.  Tears flowed down my cheeks and I felt enormous guilt and sadness.  If only I'd seen the adult coming and popped Merrilyn in her pouch, if only we hadn't walked that way, if only, if only.  I felt that crashing around in the bush at night would only frighten her more and so I sat in a clearing and talked quietly, hoping she would hear my voice and show herself.  I also cried quietly, knowing I could be miles away from where she was.  She might already be dead.  Running wildly through forests joeys can hit trees and break necks and limbs.  She may have run into roaming dogs or foxes.  She could have been caught on a barbed wire fence.  None of the pictures that came into my head were pretty.  She was so small, she had gone a long way from home, how could she possibly survive a night alone?  Two feed times had now come and gone.

I stayed out until nearly midnight and then was talked into going home to bed.  Buster seemed to know something was very wrong.  He was very subdued, only popping out for his bottle and then tucking himself tightly back into his pouch and not coming out again.  I sobbed myself to sleep.  How could I have let this beautiful creature down so badly?  

It was still dark but I realised I was awake.  I'd heard Merrilyn call out but I knew it was a dream.  I lay there tears streaming and wondering how soon light would come so I could go out looking again.  Then the noise came again.  I was sure of it.  A joey was calling.  I looked at the clock 5am.  I was out of bed and on my way outside in a flash.  Buster poked his pose from his pouch but I was halfway out the door.  Light was just starting to creep over the paddock and amongst the trees close to the house I saw movement.  I ran towards it but the shape ran quickly away.  I stopped, realising if it was Merrilyn she would be very frightened, having spent a night alone.  I sat down on the dew covered grass and started to talk to her.  I could not believe my eyes.  From the darkness she reappeared.  Shaking and very nervous but it was Merrilyn.  She had found her own way home.  

It took about 15 minutes for her to come right up to me and then she fell into my lap.  I scooped her up and headed inside and popped her into a pouch.  I made up some rehydration fluid and I warmed her on my lap as she sucked down the entire bottle.  I just held her, tears of gladness flowing now, but also knowing we weren't out of trouble.  Stress is a joey killer.  It was still possible she would go into a form of myopathy where her organs would close down.  She didn't want to let go of the empty bottle so I replaced it with one with a closed teat so she would not be sucking in air.  She was sighing and even let out a few noises that sounded like moans, and I continued to hold her and talk to her quietly.  She slept.

When she woke she was still very nervous but took a bottle and slept again.  The next time she woke I took her outside and gently popped her out of the pouch.  She stood steadily, which was very reassuring, and she went to the toilet and then collapsed back into the pouch.  This time we both slept on the chair together.  Merrilyn had used up the second of her nine lives but she had made it through.  It was nothing less than remarkable that she had found her way through territory she had never been in before and survived the night at such a young age.  If I hadn't realised it before, I now knew that this was no ordinary joey.

Missed the first 8 parts?  Find them here. Part 10 will be posted next Friday, and there are new characters to join in the fun soon.  In the meantime come back on Monday to join in 
Thanks to Teralyn Pilgrim for hosting this and you can join this blog fest here.

I'd also like to acknowledge two other bloggers this week.  Lindy from Lindy Legends and other such nonsense.  Who's post on how to create your own blog button resulted in me finally organising mine, (which you can grab over in the side bar) and she also made me one of her blogs of the week - thank you so much Lindy!

Also please go and join in the fun with Nicole at Word of Mouth Musings.  I've been enjoying her Time Travel Tuesdays where you can revive an older post, and I'm going to check out her Fabulous Facebook Friends Blog hop this weekend.  Nicole asked me about a facebook page which reminded me to get my act together on that one too and so you can "like" the kangaroos of the scrubby bush facebook page now too! 

See you all next week and have a great weekend! Love and hugs, Cheryl.
PS to those wondering - I have changed the "comment luv" back to plain Google comments as it seemed to be creating problems.  Hence quite a few comments have "disappeared".  Thankfully I still have email copies and I thank you for them all!

OK am also adding this to the Love Links 11 Party over at Free Fringes.  Many thanks to Erica for the opportunity to share my blog to a wider audience.  Strongly recommend you go and pay her a visit!  

28 comments:

  1. I just knew it would have a happy ending. Lovely story.

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  2. Oooohhh! Can't get enough of this story....... Now I have to wait another week for the next installment.

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  3. Adorable pics!!

    I've got something for you and/or the kangaroos over at my blog. Come on over to get it.

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  4. Oh, that made me cry. So glad the story had a happy ending.

    Have a great weekend!

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  5. I love a story with a happy ending.

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  6. Oh my God, Cheryl, that is the sweetest story. I had an incident like that where I searched and searched for my beloved pup. I cried for hours not knowing where he was or if he was hurt. That is such terrible a feeling. I so glad Merrilyn found her way back to Mama! I found your blog through Bryce Daniels. We are fellow Sweet Blog nominees so I thought I'd take a look. Bryce was right, there's no way I could NOT fall in love with Merrilyn! I'm your newest follower, so you just might be seeing me around a bit.

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  7. That was so sweet! :) I know absolutely nothing about kangaroos, but I was captivated throughout the story. (Obviously, that speaks well of you as a writer.) I'm so glad that I started following your blog!

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  8. I was totally terrified your story would end poorly so you can imagine the bright smile on my face when Merrilyn returned home. I don't think Merrilyn, especially, and possibly Buster will ever really leave you. I saw a program on Animal Planet where South Africans had rescued a baby hippo. The 'baby' (now quite grown) would leave the water to visit them.

    We leave the 28th on holiday for Italy...hope I don't have the wifi problems I had last year so I can continue your fabulous posts. I'm so in love with Merrilyn!!

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  9. Awww thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I've had emails about people in tears and though I certainly don't mean to make you cry, I do want to share this story with you. We share our planet with such beautiful creatures - let's make room for them too as we progress. Thanks everyone for visiting and sharing your heart thoughts.

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  10. Had the tears rolling down my cheeks with that one! I had a puppy missing for 10 days so I know the joy you felt getting Merrilyn back!! You are a wonderful mommy and the roos do well because you are a wonderful caretaker! Great story!!!!

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  11. Oh my gosh! I was ready to cry right along with you. I'm so glad Merrilyn is back safe and sound. Poor baby. And poor "Mommy", too!

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  12. This is better than any reality show on TV! Maybe besides a book deal, a TV one would be good too...I never realized how delicate roos are..great education and entertainment Cheryl!

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  13. Oh my gosh, I can't even IMAGINE what you were feeling those hours she was missing-I'd be a complete nervous wreck!

    She's a smart one though! Even though she was scared and stressed, she knew her way back home :)

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  14. Oh, what a great story. I totally cried. I'm so glad she's safe. Thanks for stopping by A Wide Line again, and for the kind words. Q is my treasure. Thank you.

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  15. What a moving story. The Joeys are so beautiful. I can relate to the attachment one creates to an animal. Obviously I've never held a Joey in my arms but I did have a hand in Sheltie rescue. What brave little darling they are.

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  16. Loved the happy ending. Bet Buster was relieved.

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  17. Cheryl, it is fantastic to meet you. I love this story, it is so sweet! How amazing to get to raise a joey. I love animals, they're so wonderful.
    I haven't ever drawn Kangaroos, but I would sure be willing to give it a try.
    Hope you have an awesome weekend.

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  18. I LOVE your button! I REALLY need to get my act together and make one of my own. I put your button on my blog page of favorite blogs.

    I liked you on Facebook, too. Your blog is growing wonderfully. It's neat to see bloggers add new things.

    Thanks for the wonderful story. You are a very talented writer. I was definitely in suspense in this post.

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  19. Love the pictures and the story! Thanks for sharing these. I still dream of taking my kids to see Kangaroos in Australia some day. :)

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  20. Oh phew! I was holding my breath reading this right til the very end when she reemerged!

    My husband is Australian, we've been there together several times, and my son was born there. We don't live there now so I'm hoping that some day, I can bring my son to his country of birth to meet some kangaroos. :)

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  21. I've just read all nine parts. Amazing. I am so glad she came home. I was freaking out there for a while.

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  22. Oh my, I was so scared for you ad Merrilyn! Could not wait to find out if she found her way home. You tell a great story, touching> And it flows so smooth. I enjoy reading you.

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  23. That is Amazing! I'm so glad the poor thing found her way : )

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  24. What a wonderful thing you do. And I too am glad this story had a happy ending.

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  25. Even knowing Merrilyn survived this adventure, I don't think I breathed through the whole incredibly told story.

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  26. I didn't breathe reading of this adventure. It brought back memories of our galah, Boris, who took off one afternoon after being startled by a dove. One day, I'll share that story if it interests you.

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  27. This had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through - both times - even when i knew the outcome.

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