Empty nest syndrome? Fill it with a baby kangaroo.

I generally only watch nature shows on television when I want to appear as though I’m educating myself about something important, like the plight of the prematurely balding Rogainian monkey, when in fact I’m actually planning to do an independent study of the REM sleeping pattern on our couch.

However, while watching a documentary about the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia, I discovered something I never knew:

I want…

We NEED our own kangaroo.

As I watched three babies snuggle together in a blanket and play with each other’s big floppy ears, I inadvertently let out a sound that my wife mistakenly thought was a joyful whimper.

“Was that you?” she asked from the dining room.

“What? No WAY! Ha Ha! It was the kangaroo babies on TV.”

“It sounded like it came from the couch.”

“Nope! Must be the Surround Sound,” I said.


Even if I DID emit a joyful whimper — which I’m NOT saying I did — could you blame me? Hypothetically speaking…

Don’t get me wrong. I love our two dogs. And we have a cat. But you can’t have fun boxing with your dog or keep snacks in its handy built-in pouch. And kangaroos even burry their own poop! Sure, our cat will do that, but it’s usually in one of our shoes.

The more I watched Chris Barnes, a.k.a. “Kangaroo Dundee,” spend time with the kangaroos in his sanctuary, the more I thought to myself:

That could be ME.

Of course, I’d first have to justify having a kangaroo in our home. This would mean convincing my wife of the benefits. It doesn’t matter what our kids think because, in a few years, they’ll be gone, leaving their mother and I to nurture our loving, unmoody kangaroo baby. In fact, I’m going to list that as benefit number one: Having a kangaroo will fill the void left behind by our children. Sure, this won’t fill the void of dirty dishes left in the sink, wet towels on the floor and no food in the refrigerator but, thanks to the love of our kangaroo baby, we’ll adjust!

Another benefit is that kangaroos are very protective of family. While it’s true that dogs are just as protective (and maybe a few cats), there’s no comparing it to the threat posed by a 6-foot-tall kangaroo boxing your face and then rabbit-kicking a would-be burglar through a window.

I pity the fool. (To the right)

Kangaroos are also very quiet. They don’t bark when they’re mad or whine when they want something. Come to think of it, that’s another void our kangaroo won’t be able to fill once our teenagers leave home. Still, I’m going to list it as a benefit since it means our home won’t sound like a den of wild hyenas every time someone delivers a pizza.

Another benefit of having a kangaroo is that they aren’t very good at climbing stairs. Given that our bedroom is on the second floor, we’ll never have an intimate moment ruined because our kangaroo is staring at us from the foot of the bed, licking itself or barking to get in. It also means I won’t get squeezed out of bed in the middle of the night because, at some point, our kangaroo has wedged himself between me and the headboard.

Without question, the biggest obstacle in convincing my wife to get a kangaroo will be how big it could get. Though it takes a few years before they reach adulthood, once they do, it can be like living with another full-sized person. With a four-foot tail.

If he gets this big, I’m cancelling his gym membership. Just sayin’

This has already got me thinking about an alternative; something kangaroo-like that my wife would be willing to compromise on. As it turns out, wallabies are members of the kangaroo family and much smaller! Naturally, the smaller size would mean little “Wally’s” pouches won’t be able to hold as many of my favorite snack foods. Plus, he probably won’t be able to fend off an intruder more than three feet tall. But he’ll be a “starter” kangaroo while I lay the groundwork for a full-sized kangaroo later.

I plan to talk with my wife about it tonight, right after I show her a photo of a wallaby holding a teddy bear.

*joyful whimper*

Hey! That wasn’t ME!

Man, I really need to turn down that Surround Sound…

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

11 thoughts on “Empty nest syndrome? Fill it with a baby kangaroo.”

  1. Yep. I’m convinced. Although I used to tell the kids if anyone ever broke in toss the nearest cat at them. That cat will be nothing but machetes by the time the intruder knows what happened

        1. Hahaha! I sensing a sequel to “I Bought a Zoo” coming on soon. When I was younger, we had a burro named Milton (Yeah, we’re like that) and we occasionally donkey-sat for a neighbor. I have to say, the donkey had much less attitude.

  2. My friend had kangaroos that lived near-by in Australia and they were always in her yard. She would probably argue on the side of reason and tell you having one as a pet is a bad idea. 🦘🦘

    1. Well, they are illegal here in the U.S. (and even Oregon), so I’ll either have to get onto our state congress to change the law, move to Australia or become the “Joe Exotic” of kangaroos somewhere in Florida where it seems anything goes!

No one is watching, I swear...

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