Barney’s vet trip


You can read Barney’s full story all through my earlier blogs. Dear little Barney is very sweet and today was his visit to the vet for his microchip. All of our wombats in care are microchipped and eventually released back into the wild at the appropriate age. Then, if they ever come back into care – as road victims or with mange or displacement of habitat – we can scan them for a chip and know who they are and where and how they’ve survived in the wild.

Barney getting ready for a big day!

Most of the vets are great and treat our wildlife for free with no cost to our volunteer organization. We really appreciate the service they provide to us. However we often have to wait as their paying (domestic pet) customers come first!


So our day started at 6:00 am as usual – Barney (and Elsie) had the morning bottle, ate grass and eventually headed back to their enclosure (bed) as all good nocturnal animals do! In the afternoon, I went into their enclosure and removed Barney. The vet trip had to be done in the day, while Barney and Elsie were sleeping, to minimize their stress and so they wouldn’t notice that they’d been separated. We arrived at the vet at 2:30 pm and Barney was checked in and I left…

And I waited..

And I waited..

At 6:00 pm I phoned and was told the vets hadn’t had time to check Barney and would get to him in a few hours…

Finally at 11:00 pm, 8.5 hours after taking Barney to the vet, I went to collect him regardless! They still hadn’t had time to look at him – so there was no microchip! I know microchipping is considered non-urgent care but I wish they had told me earlier that they’d be too busy. 8.5 hours is a long time for a wild animal to be left in its crate, separated from mum, with no milk and surrounded by barking dogs!


Baby wombats in the wild make a loud hissing noise when they are scared or separated from mum. I could hear Barney making this noise in his crate as soon as he was handed over to me! Had me been calling out for me the whole time he was at the vet? I placed Barney (who was still in his crate) in the cargo section of my SUV and drove off. Luckily my husband was driving because suddenly there was a thud! There we were … at a set of traffic lights, in the rain, on a busy Saturday night, with Barney still hissing – but now he was standing on his hind legs looking out of the back window of my car after he’d smashed his way out of his crate! Now what a photo that would have been! But I was too stressed to take one! I also couldn’t jump out at the traffic lights, stand in front of the cars behind us and try to wrangle a wombat from the cargo hold of my car! So as the lights turned green, I took off my seat belt, climbed into the back seat, reached over into the cargo hold and dragged a 12.5 kilo hissing, stressed wombat over into the back seat and onto my lap.

Now Barney can relax.

As soon as Barney was in my arms, he stopped hissing, relaxed and went to sleep! Poor Barney! What a stressful day! I managed to get my seatbelt on and Barney slept all the way home, peacefully in my arms. Not the safest way to transport an animal, but in this instance – reducing his stress was the priority!

When we arrived home, I held Barney for another 20 minutes while he slept. Then it was bottle time – six hours late and 18 hours since Barney’s last feed! Barney was very stressed when I put him down to prepare his bottle.

Bottle time, but still clearly stressed .

Barney was reunited with Elsie at bottle time. Clearly they missed each other!

After bottle time, Barney and Elsie ate grass and played. I stayed outside with them for a long time tonight…. It’s now 3:30 am – they are safe, well and happy. What a big day/night!


Our job as wildlife carers is to support the animals in our care, advocate for their rights and to make sure that their heath and emotional health and well being is supported. As I’ve written before, our work isn’t always glamorous nor does it change the world, but tonight, for one little animal, I was its whole world! Never doubt the bond between carer and the wildlife in their care.

I’m off to bed! Thanks for reading.💕. There will be more blogging soon!

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Published by helenjhardy

Wildlife carer, animal rights supporter, teacher, presenter.

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