I had just prepared myself a little lunch one day, back in about the year two thousand and five, when, I heard a little knock at the front door. I’m fairly sure it was early on in two thousand and five because we hadn’t lived here very long and Steve, my husband, was still working at the Can Plant in Kent, Washington. Also, Mom and Dad hadn’t moved out here yet, which we had been preparing for that year. I had been busy cleaning all morning. I made a half of a tuna sandwich and a cup of tea, which I planned to eat at the front window, sitting in my rocking chair, so I could see the birds and squirrels in the front yard. It’s a good thing I was going to sit at that moment because I wouldn’t have heard this if I hadn’t been right there. It was so quiet but definitely it was a knock. Here it came again. Just a tiny little knock. I didn’t see anyone just by glancing out the window as I went to answer the door. Wondering just who it could be, I opened the door slowly and only an inch or two just so I could peek out. We live in the country, fairly secluded, so I am pretty careful about answering the door if I’m not expecting anyone. There was no one there. I saw no one. I opened the door a little further and still couldn’t see anyone yet. Knowing the storm door was locked I opened the door a bit more and stepped so I could see around the facing. I was totally taken aback at just who I came face to face with. Well, it would have been face to face if I had stooped a little bit….. ummm, I mean, quite a bit, rather. Standing there in front of me was a darling, three-foot tall, Kangaroo. Yes, a Kangaroo. At least to my knowledge, at that time, that was what he was.
“Well hello there little guy,” I said while looking around to see if someone was with him. He was alone. All alone.
“Where in the world did you come from?” I asked, as if he could answer me. He just stood there looking at me, with an almost pleading look in his eyes. I was a little in shock, myself. I mean, who has a Kangaroo come knocking at their door in the middle of the day, or any other time for that matter? For a moment, I pictured him standing there wearing a red cap and a small red plaid vest, saying, “Please help me, I’m lost.”
“Well, we gotta find out where you came from but first we gotta tell Steve.” I continued talking to him as if he was a little person. Stepping out the door I held my hand out to him. He just stared back. I inched my way around him then started walking backwards, with my hand out to him, saying, “Come on Baby.” He started following. I went very slowly, not wanting to frighten him.
“It’s okay little guy. I won’t touch you and I won’t hurt you. You come with me. Come on baby, let’s go get Steve up.” Steve worked a twelve-hour night shift at a job that was an hours drive from home, which in essence gave him more than a fourteen hour day, or rather, night. He had a sleeping room in the garage. He set the room up with air conditioning, a blackened out window for complete darkness, and a heater for winter. He could sleep soundly, without interruptions from what ever I was doing in the house during the day. I kept coaxing the Kangaroo, patting my leg, and calling him along. It seemed he understood what I was saying. He followed, slowly, but he followed, all the way around the house to the back patio.
“Okay, now, you stay here baby and I’ll be right back,” What was I thinking. If anyone had witnessed my on going, one way conversation they would have thought me a nut for sure. The Kangaroo looked around and took in everything there was to see. I took off, bursting through the garage and slammed the door to Steve’s room open.
“STEVE…GET UP, GET UP, GET UP ! ” I shouted as I shook his shoulder.
Steve jolted up to a sitting position saying, ” What the, what’s going on?”
“You have to get up right now. There is a Kangaroo on the patio, hurry, come on, you gotta hurry!”
“Oh for Pete’s sake,” he moaned as he covered his head with the blanket and crashed back down in the bed. “I don’t know what you’re up to here, but quit. I’m tired.”
I grabbed the blanket, pulled it back off his shoulders, and said, ” NO, I’m not playing. You have to get up….there really is a Kangaroo….COME ON, HURRY UP ! and with that I took off again headed back to the patio. My new little friend was right where I had left him, watching the garage door, I guess maybe for me to come back. By the time I got over to him, Steve was coming out the door.
“Well, I’ll be, ” were the first words out of his mouth. ” Where in the world did he come from?”
“I don’t know. He just knocked on the front . I opened it and there he was. Isn’t he about the cutest thing you ever saw?” I was still so excited I could hardly talk.
“KNOCKED?” “You’re telling me he knocked?”
“Yep….twice. He knocked twice! What do we do with him?” I asked Steve. Ah yes, at last, the real problem just came to light.
“I mean,” I said, continuing before Steve could say anything, ” it is Memorial Day weekend and it is three o’clock on Friday, and everything will be closed by four or so and everyone will be gone for the weekend, if they aren’t already. You know us, Steve. You know that if he stays here until Monday or Tuesday waiting for someone to be around to contact, then he won’t be going anywhere. HE WILL BE HERE TO STAY! You know how we are. He’ll have a name and his own little house by then. You know that. We have to do something, NOW!”
“Okay, but first what do we do with him for now? What do you suppose he would eat? Where do we put him while we find out something?”
“Well,” I said, “We could put him in one of the dog kennels but not knowing what he might be used to that might scare him. What about the garage? Couldn’t we just put him in the garage while we make some phone calls?”
“Sure, that would work. Tell ya what, I’ll get some hay from Harley’s shed to make him a bed and then he’ll be fine for a bit.” Steve answered as he went to the horse shed to get the hay. Harley was our horse. The only one we had left. Before we moved here we had five. But the kids had all grown up and left home, except for our youngest, and she and I couldn’t take care of five horses. Steve was working two jobs at that time. So we kept her horse and found new homes for the others. Harley, was a Welsh/Arab cross, stubborn for sure, but we all loved him. Steve got the hay and we piled up a nice pile to make a temporary bed for our visitor.
“I wonder what his name is? I’ve been calling him Baby and he’s been coming right along with me.” I said to Steve as we walked back to the house after bedding the little fellow down.
“Don’t even worry about a name. You don’t need to worry about that because he’s leaving soon. As soon as we can get him gone. Don’t get any ideas, no names. Got it! He laughed as he looked me in the eyes, straight on, holding me by both shoulders. You understand that, right?” Although he was laughing, I knew he was dead serious.
“Yes,” I said, and smiled back at him. “I understand. Besides, I don’t even know what to feed him. Oh, we’re going to have to figure that out. Let’s go find someone to call.” We went in and started a list of possibilities and their phone numbers. Okay, here we go, first on the list is the Humane Society. I dialed their number and got an answering machine. Please call back on Tuesday. Next King 5 news; no answer. News 7 ; no answer, the radio station; busy, busy, busy. Now what. Who next? Alright, I’m going to call city hall and see if they can steer me in a direction.
“Hello, Gig Harbor City Hall, how can I help you?” The voice on the other end, a woman, sounded pleasant.
“Hi, my name is Sandy and I need some help. It’s about a lost pet.
“Oh, did you try the humane society?”
“Yes ma’am, they are not taking more calls until Tuesday.”
“Okay, well dear, is it a pet you lost or you found it?”she asked.
“Oh, I found it, or I guess he found me.” I answered
“Is it a dog or a cat?” again she came with questions.
“Okay……now first, my name is Sandy Rogers, I live on the Key Peninsula. This is not a joke. Please promise you won’t hang up on me.”
“Alright….” she said, very cautiously. “But why would I? I mean what’s wrong, what is this pet?”
“Now don’t hang up. I am not kidding about this. Ummm, he is a Kangaroo, a small one, and we really need to find some one to take him today. Everyone is closing and we didn’t know who else to call, that’s why we are calling you. Maybe you have some ideas?
“There was silence on the other end of the phone. A long silence.
“A Kangaroo? You are really telling me a Kangaroo?” she said very slowly. “This must be a joke.” She added.
“NO MA’AM, please, this is no joke. We’ve tried the humane society and the news and radio stations and can’t get any answers and we have to find some place, some one to take him, TODAY!” I answered frantically thinking she might be on the verge of hanging up.
“Well I’ll be, really, a Kangaroo, ” she said again and then added “I was just thinking, well, have you tried the Fish and Wildlife department?”
“No, oh wow, we never even thought of them!” I was excited about this prospect and she even provided me with a phone number. I called and got an officer Jeterson to commit to coming out to take a look at what we had. When he got here we just about died laughing at his remark.
“Hey, are you folks sure about what you have here?” he asked as we led him in the direction of the garage. ” I mean, do you think maybe it could be an opossum or something like that? Maybe a skunk.”
“Oh my gosh.” I said, as I just about fell over. “NO sir. It is not. It’s a KANGAROO!” We got to the garage and opened the door. There sat our little visitor on his pile of hay. He was so cute, not budging a bit, just sitting, holding one hand in the other, seeming so patient with us. I already wanted to say we made a mistake, please go and just leave him here. but I knew we couldn’t. I knew it would take time to learn how to care for him and provide the necessities for a healthy home for him, so I kept my mouth shut.
“See officer, a Kangaroo, just like we told you,” Steve said with the biggest grin on his face. “So what do you suggest we all do here?”
Officer Jeterson just scratched his head, rubbed his chin, and said, “Well, I’ll be.” which seemed to be the phrase of the day. Then, he stood there staring at the Kangaroo and, yes, the Kangaroo stared back.” I still wanted to rescue him from whatever the officer might come up with. My heart was starting to ache.
“Well, folks,” he started slowly and we could tell he was trying to think of a good reply. ” I guess I could take him with me and I’ll figure out something later. I don’t suppose you know what to feed him?”
“No Sir, we don’t. We could go look it up though and get some ideas.” Steve answered.
“No, I can do that once I get home. I think I have a box we can put him in to put him in my truck. He can ride up on the front seat in the box. I’ll get it.”
“What do you think you will be doing with him?” I asked.
“Well, there must be some way to contact his owners. I’ll be trying to figure that out but he’ll probably stay with me for the weekend because it’s just too late to put much else into action on a holiday weekend.”
“Okay, but let us know what becomes of him would ya please? My concern was still growing by the minute. What if he didn’t find an owner? What if no one came forth to claim him? Then what would happen to him? Now, I was sorry I had called around, rather than just handled it myself. I could have kept him, posted adds about him and looked for his family myself. I should have done that but no, I had to make sure he was gone, right away, because of my inability to stay unattached to any living creatures (except maybe a snake). So we watched as officer Jeterson plopped him in the cardboard box on the front seat of his gray, Ford F150 truck. I understood the box. It was a really nice truck with a completed computer set up centered from the dash to the console between the bucket seats. Besides, the little guy might not like riding. It was best to keep him enclosed and buckled in good. He shook our hands, said thank you for taking the Kangaroo in and got in his truck. We, of course, thanked him too for coming to get him. We stood there as the truck pulled out and down the driveway.
” I wish we hadn’t called for help,” I said to Steve.
“Ya, I kinda know what you mean,” he replied. “But, it was what was best, I’m sure.”
The next day it was all over the news about how an unidentified couple had reported that he had knocked on their door and how the Fish and Game Department had turned him over to the Tacoma Humane Society that morning. Steve was headed home from work when he heard it on radio station KMPS. As they were talking about it, the owner called them and said she was on her way to get him. She was in tears as she had feared she would never see him again.
“That was us!” Steve shouted at the radio. “We tried to call you yesterday.” He pulled the car over and tried to call again but couldn’t get through. The lines were all busy. He called me, told me what was going on and to turn on my radio. I did and the TV too. I also got the busy signal when I tried to call. So, we would continue to be the unidentified couple. Officer Jeterson did contact the owner and give them our name. They called and thanked us over and over.
“I told her that I was so surprised that he knew enough to knock on the door. She told me that he was actually a Wallaby, that his name was Buddy and he did it all the time at home. He would go outside for a while in the yard, then knock when he wanted to come in. He had his own little recliner for sitting in the house. He was house trained and would go outside to do his jobs. Yesterday, he just happened to find a small gap under the wire part of the fence and managed to squeeze through it. We figured he made a three to four mile cross-country trip through the forested woods from their place to ours. He was lucky. There are bear, coyote, and cougar in the area. Yes, he was very lucky. Being saddened at letting him go, we soon became overjoyed, realizing how much he was loved and missed at home. We had done the right thing. But if a Kangaroo, or Wallaby, comes knocking at my door again, I’m not sure. I might just have to keep him. So, again, I ask you, “What would you do if a Kangaroo knocked on your door? That doesn’t sound like such a silly question any more, now does it?