There are people who love animals, and then there are Theresa and Tony Matthews. The Australian couple has dedicated the last eight years of their life to rehabilitating and caring for baby kangaroos that have been orphaned.
Tony and Theresa never set out to turn their home into the Our Haven Wildlife Shelter. In 2010, a man drove up to their house and asked if the couple could look after wildlife. The man had a baby kangaroo in his car that he left with Tony and Theresa. They named him Bobby, and the rest is history.
“We realised that there was no one here for these joeys and they were being euthanised,” explains Theresa. “Not because there was anything wrong with them, but because there was nowhere to go.”
Tony and Theresa now care for eastern grey kangaroos and swamp wallabies until they’re old enough to be released back into the wild. Baby kangaroos, in particular, need plenty of attention because they easily suffer from stress.
“Because of our love for kangaroos, we just opened up our home to them, and this rescuing got bigger and got bigger,” says Theresa.
The couple currently has 17 baby kangaroos and three swamp wallabies living in their home. They run the Our Haven Wildlife Shelter through donations and Theresa’s salary. They also have volunteers who help to feed and take care of the animals. Currently, they are raising funds so they can expand their sanctuary and have more land for the kangaroos.
Of course, living in a home full of baby kangaroos and wallabies isn’t always a picnic. Personal space is sometimes limited, and Theresa says it’s not unusual to wake up with one of the animals on her head.
But for eight years, the couple has taken care of baby kangaroos as a labor of love, even if it’s sometimes sad to say goodbye when the animals are ready to go back to the wild.
“It’s hard to say goodbye and I always cry all the way home but, you know, it’s about them not us,” says Theresa. “We’ve done our job, so we’ve gotta let them go.”