Excerpt from Old McLarsen (Oooroo means Goodbye) for ‘distant’ prompt 13/3/2020
“They really thought they were brother and sister.”
“And they really thought you were their mother, just like all your pets and rescues.”
‘They’ were our little dog Candy, barely out of puppyhood, but a born mother – and my latest rescue Ooroo, the baby kangaroo none had expected to survive.
Can’t help a sigh. A lifetime ago, but Kanute and I share memories of these two as fresh as a new-laid egg.
A routine began after Ooroo’s first feed. Candy enthusiastically washed his chin and mouth, then he took his turn, holding her face with delicate paws, licking off surplus droplets of milk clinging to her whiskers. They talked to each other constantly; he in clicks and her with gentle whines and soft ‘woofs’.
As Ooroo grew in health, strength and courage, we would often hang his ‘bedroom’ on the back of a chair in the sun on the verandah. Soon he was ready for his next great adventure—coming out into the world.
“Had to carry him at first, tiny paws clutching tightly to my arm… and his worried face peeking out at the alien world.” But always he was totally trusting when Candy was by his side to encourage him.
Navigation of the verandah steps proved a major learning curve, but what an introduction to the great outdoors. Candy taught him the questionable delights of visiting pigs, goats, lambs, and hens populating various areas of our house yard. Every time I went outside Candy and Ooroo followed, close on my heels like a small dust cloud. Together we went to our outside loo (or toilet); the outside wash-house (alias a laundry); and the generator shed. Ooroo learned the ins-and-outs—plus the horrors—of the alien and alarming noises of these rooms.
Next, Candy decided it was time for Ooroo to discover the world of the paddock. She had become adept at negotiating the ring-lock wire of the fences with a nose forward, twist of the body, flip the back legs through action. Unfortunately, Ooroo’s more complex body design meant poking his head and front legs through was the easy part. But not so the essential ‘twist’.
“What a terrible tangle he’d get into.” Kanute shakes his head. “He wasn’t prepared to face it at all, really. Without Candy’s woofing and wheedling, he’d never have risked it.”
The view of them from my distant kitchen window had me highly entertained and deeply moved by their pantomime. Candy performed her manoeuvre and woofed. Ooroo tried various twists of his body—failed—worried—withdrew and clicked—and worried some more. Candy patiently repeated the entire routine—again, and again. Her determination to introduce him to the joys of an adventure on the other side knew no boundaries.
Finally Ooroo mastered the technique, to be greeted by exuberant barks and more vigorous face-licking. He clicked joyously and the pair took off to explore the 200 acre (80 hectare) paddock. The opening lines of our favourite old song, Henry Mancini’s ‘Moon River’ echo in my mind –
‘Two drifters, off to see the world.
There’s such a lot of world to see’
Author’s Note: Sorry, no cover pic today – just about to head out the door for a four-day getaway. Maybe on the other side, and before the next prompt rears its ugly head!