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Eddie

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Eddie, feeling safe and secure at last. Photo by Stefan Waldorf.

Pinky time! The fate of many young joeys depends on the luck of the draw. The mother, or doe, hit by a car will either die immediately or lie in agony flung to one side as the car races on without pause.

Some have better luck when the car stops to see what has been hit. This is the story of Eddie.

Imagine for a moment the first weeks of a joey’s life. This little pink blob’s most prominent feature is the forearms – which are more advanced. Eyes are closed, ears stuck down on the head, tail barely there. Eddie is a Western Grey and the doe, feeling the start of birth pains, finds herself a quiet spot and prepares a pathway through her fur, from the cloaca to the relaxed pouch.

Having defied all expectations, the tiny joey has instinctively crawled up the furry roadway and crawled into a pouch which
is warm, sticky and, most importantly of all, has a soft long nipple to clutch onto. The joey automatically fuses its mouth around this life-giving food source, safe and secure. It’s in this environment that the joey will continue its development even when the doe is bouncing along in her search for food.

The joey is just a sucking, sleeping microcosm – the doe’s precious cargo. The only disturbance is when she puts her head into the pouch to lick and clean her newborn. This is the life.

Then imagine again. Some weeks later you world is literally turned upside down. By now you have released the teat and only
feed when you’re hungry. Lots of noise – the doe has stopped moving – voices, strange noises as car doors slam. The reassuring sound of the doe’s heart beat has stopped. More voices – the doe is rolled over – excited voices, “Pinky here!”

The joey is pulled gently from the sticky, safe and familiar pouch and placed in something that is dark. The joey struggles calling out ‘chuck chuck’ or growling, but to no avail. At least it’s dark.

The joey is placed inside someone’s shirt, where it’s warm and you hear the familiar sound of a constant ‘thumpty, thumpty’ it’s comforting; not quite like the doe’s heart beat but reassuring all the same. You’re the lucky one – you’ve been rescued by someone who understands what you need. You whimper quietly
searching for the comfort of a teat.