BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — An Oklahoma woman suffering from depression has found solace in the company of an unusual companion, but local city officials worry that the therapy pet -- a partially paralyzed kangaroo -- could become a public safety risk.
Christie Carr is seeking an exemption from the Broken Arrow City Council to keep Irwin, a 25-pound great red kangaroo that she cares for much like a child. Irwin rides in a car seat, is dressed in a shirt and pants each day and is rarely away from his doting caretaker.
At the advice of her therapist, Carr began volunteering at a local animal sanctuary, where she met Irwin, then just a baby. Less than a week later, the kangaroo named for famed Australian animal expert Steve Irwin ran into a fence, fracturing his neck and causing severe brain damage.
Carr volunteered to take the animal home and, while nursing him back to health, developed a bond. Irwin cannot stand or walk on his own, although he is slowly gaining back mobility and can hop three or four times in a row with assistance, she said.