I have the most amazing life! Yes, I know it’s not nice to brag or boast about one’s good fortune, but seriously, wouldn’t you? Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to live the dream when just a few years ago the dream seemed so far out of reach.
When I look outside and see dozens of wallabies enjoying their lives, I smile because, finally, I’m doing the same thing. It’s surreal to think that while I’m mixing joey formula and bottle feeding a dozen bubs, getting cuddles and kisses from them in the process, so many other people are slogging away at work behind a desk. Even more mind-blowing is that I was one of them!
Why would anyone do that when they could be doing this?
It’s a simple question with a simple answer, yet many people feel stuck in their lives and are unable to make a change. Sure, it takes guts to go against ideas of success and happiness that society has drilled into your head. It takes a bit of determination to ignore well-meaning friends and family who offer advice for your life. But, in the end, it’s all about you and what will make you happy.
I can’t look at these furry faces and believe anything I ever did at home was as important as being here with them now. As much as I’d like to believe that I’ve had an impact on the lives of many wallabies, in reality, they have had a greater impact on me. It’s changed my world view and is something I hope to keep with me forever.
Despite being a relatively young chap, Zack definitely loves his nana naps. I often find him sprawled atop the hay in this portacot near our donga. He seems so content and relaxed.
Zack is from the group of wallabies Darryl released before I arrived. He’s old enough to spend nights outside as part of the mob but hasn’t truly become wild yet. I’m not even sure if he’s left the property to explore the national forest behind us as he always seems to be hanging around the donga or enclosure. Perhaps he’s just a smart guy and prefers a bit of luxury to roughing it?
Zack frequently shows up at our morning and evening feeds hoping to blend in with the babies and get a bit of milk. He never pushes his way to the front of the queue though. He’s quite happy to wait it out to make sure milk doesn’t go to waste. If, by some miracle, the bubs leave a half-full bottle, it always goes to Zack. It’s more for comfort than necessity, and I assume it’s like a human baby who doesn’t want to give up a pacifier or stop sucking its thumb.
Even though I wasn’t around to help raise him, Zack is social and friendly toward me. I’ve discovered that some wallabies, especially the females, can be a really conniving. They’re only friendly when they think you’ll give them some sweet potato. But, Zack is nothing like that. He enjoys a feed as much as the next wallaby, but he’s also happy to get a good neck or belly rub.
It’s no surprise then that he’s managed to become one of my favorite wallabies at Brindle Creek. Zack has such a pleasant personality that I don’t think he’s alpha material, but you never know. And if he’s not, well, that’s okay too.
When I first met Darryl, he was caring for a tiny pouch-bound joey named Lily. He took her everywhere – work or play, day or night. She was his pride and joy and rarely left his side. He adored her and she him.
When I arrived at Brindle Creek, Lily had grown into a fine young lady. She hopped around the donga, and Darryl would let her roam free during afternoon feedings. She never went too far and always returned when it was time to come inside. She was still the little princess and slept in Darryl’s room at night, but she had certainly turned into a big girl.
When we put together a large enclosure to serve as a romper room during the day for the young joeys, Lily joined in and spent her days outside munching on grass, lounging in the shade and living a great life. This space introduced the bubs to the outdoors while still keeping them safe from any predators. It also gave the wild wallabies a chance to learn their smells and introduced them as new friends.
After a period of adjustment, we began letting the joeys out of the enclosure to explore the sanctuary’s property after their morning bottles. They seemed hesitant to wander very far at first but soon discovered the joys of freedom. They boldly approached some of the larger males who were dozing under trees. They raced around in wide-reaching circles with looks of glee on their faces and mischief in their eyes. But, when dinner time arrived, they’d all be back desperately wanting their bottles despite having grazed all day on grass and macropod pellets. What a delightful life they all lead!