Constable Scott Mason, 27, Cue, WA
The roo was trembling as he was carefully handed to me. Poor little fella, I thought, nursing him.
He had been brought into the Cue Police Station, where I work as the community liaison officer. The little joey had been found alive in his mother’s pouch after she was hit by a truck on the highway. While he was a bit dehydrated and in need of a feed, he was in perfect health. So I happily agreed to take him home with me to recuperate.
It wasn't long before the roo was like my little shadow
After getting some advice from a local wildlife organisation, I made him a milk mixture to drink. But the shy guy was so stressed he couldn’t eat. I placed him in a pillow case in a dark room so he would feel like he was in his mother’s pouch. But after 10 minutes he was even more distressed. So I picked him up and gently lowered him into the front of my shirt. Immediately he snuggled in! He must think I’m his mum, I realised.
Soon he was happy to have some formula and explore the house. And it wasn’t long before the roo was like my little shadow, following me around at work. Then at home he’d hop into my shirt to rest.
I named him Cuejo after the area we lived in and he quickly became the talk of the town! But I wasn’t the only one with a newborn on my hands. My wife Samantha, 28, had just given birth to our first child, a gorgeous bub named Theo. She’s living in Perth while I’m away working so it has been a bit tough for both of us. But now I have little Cuejo, it’s like I have a second baby that I’m raising on my own!
Just like Samantha, I’m up every three hours preparing bottles and patting Cuejo to sleep. He’s the sweetest little creature, always nuzzling into my chest.
Even though I adore Cuejo and think of him like family, I have to remember he isn’t my pet. He’s a wild animal and one day he’ll go back to his natural habitat. It will be hard watching him leave and knowingI might never see him again, but every parent knows when it’s time to cut the apron strings!
For now I’m just glad we could give him a second chance at life.
Originally published in that's life! Issue 16, 2016.