For those readers new to my blog – welcome! Other readers will know the story of Elsie and Barney. But let me re-cap – Elsie arrived weighing just 120 grams – so tiny! She is the tiniest wombat joey I have ever had the privilege to worked with.
Barney joined Elsie months later weighing 600 grams. By the time Barney arrived in care, Elsie had overcome her struggles, survived wombat herpes, beaten a vitamin deficiency, recovered from a severe skin reaction to the sun and was a similar weight to the newly arrived Barney. Their full story can be found in my earlier posts.
Now, nearly two years on – it’s time for Elsie and Barney to be released into the wild. This time, the time to say goodbye is full of … excitement and happiness, a little trepidation and considerable heartbreak. Yes, I’m glad they survived to this stage, but no one knows the sadness a carer feels when release time comes. The Instagram photos, this blog, even the stories I tell, don’t do justice to the journey I have had caring for Elsie and Barney. I’ll tell you a secret…. I don’t really like getting up around the clock, I am terrible without sleep, I also never attend functions and cancel on people all the time ”because the animals need feeding”, I hate collecting grass and picking up poo – but it’s all part of what I do.
The end of Elsie and Barney’s time in care also represents the end of exhaustion – where I can finally stop and fall in an emotional heap. The initial worry that Elsie wouldn’t survive since she was so small, cleaning out her tiny nostrils so she could breath, using creams on her skin, giving vitamin B orally and just stressing over every change, every milestone and that every weight increase was enough ~ was exhausting! Once Elsie and Barney moved outside I worried about them being outdoors! Now I worry that they are so big, so wild, that they’ll escape their enclosure and drown in my pool! Every morning, my day starts by looking out of my back window at their enclosure to ensure it’s undamaged then at the pool to make sure Elsie and Barney haven’t managed to get out and drown in the pool! That sort of negative start to the day can be exhausting. All this sounds terrible but it’s not! There are so many joys, so many memories!
What will stay with me are the quiet times – the laughs, the cuddles and the joy that I wish I could articulate and the moments that go unseen because the camera wasn’t on. Caring for these animals is a privilege but that’s nothing to the love and joy they bring me. They make me a better person, they give me a unique sense of purpose, they remind me to be patient, to give up control because I can’t control what happens, and they give me an abundance of love. Sharing your life with an animal that would be enclosed in a secret world of a pouch, that has never opened its eyes before until it sees you, is an amazing experience. I thank Elsie and Barney for the joy they have given me.
A big thank you also to the readers of my blog and the thousands of Instagram followers who have followed the journey of Elsie and Barney almost from day one! I have had the opportunity to share Elsie and Barney with so many lovely people both in Australia and overseas. People have asked many questions and have taken the time to reach out and communicate! It’s not about generating ’likes’ or followers but rather educating others about these wonderful creatures. Maybe more people will slow down on the roads, stop to check pouches of run over animals or donate to animal charities. The many people that have reached out to me via Instagram along this journey, remind me that there is more kindness and good in the world than horror. I am forever thankful and a little overwhelmed by your kindness and support! I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
I’ll be blogging about other animals in care soon. But the story of Elsie and Barney is coming to an end. The memories however, will remain. ❤️