Colby, the eight-month-old red kangaroo joey, would have known he would be best friends with Betty Middleton almost immediately. Maybe it was the attention. Maybe it was the bottle of milk Betty fed him. Maybe it was just one of those unspoken bonds. Fate, even.
Mrs Middleton, who turned 92 in March, had told her granddaughter Sheree Middleton that she had never seen a kangaroo.
Sheree decided she would do something about that. She reached out to Lachlan Gordon at the Oakvale Wildlife Park, who said the story touched the hearts of the keepers and organised to have Colby the kangaroo make a house call.
"I think she thought I was joking at first," Sheree said of when she told her grandmother Colby would be coming to visit.
But after getting through some first-greeting nerves, Betty and Colby hit it off.
Colby had been hand-raised at the Wildlife Park, Mr Gordon explained, where he is a kind of mascot for more than 60 macropod variations around Australia - some of which are critically endangered.
Though Sheree was willing to reimburse Mr Gordon for Colby's visit, he said it was a voluntary effort. Sheree has since made a donation to the Wildlife Park's Save Our Wildlife conservation program.
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