ROSIE'S TALE

A tribute to Roo Gully's
'Miss Cocky'

On the evening of December 9th, 2001 our beautiful Rosie, died at Roo Gully.

Rosie

Rosie arrived at Roo Gully on the 21st August 1998, after her mother was killed in a road accident.
A cheeky young joey she was never liked cuddling up on your lap,
instead preferring to bound from chair to chair,
before standing on your chest blocking
everyone's view of the TV.
Rosie Miss Cocky
Her mountaineering skills made us joke
that she must be the reincarnation of Sir Edmund Hilary!
Rosie on couch
Rosie stands on couch
Rosie had character and being so full of bubble and bounce
her antics quickly earned her the nickname 'Miss Cocky'.
Rosie with Sadie
She bonded with Sadie, our oldest roo. They soon became inseparable.
Where Sadie was Rosie was, learning the skills of being a roo.

Rosie learned her lessons well, and then decided it was time for fun!
At first this hyperactive youngster frustrated Katie, our second oldest roo,
who was handicapped by her amputated foot.

Rosie could run like the wind.

But Katie soon mastered the art of taking short cuts,
ambushing our cheeky joey, giving her a clip around the ear
when she overstepped the mark.
Rosie Katie play
As Rosie grew she blossomed into a beautiful young roo, she and Katie became our loveable rogues.
Life suddenly became hectic for us.
Our troublesome duo's adventures took them further away from Roo Gully
than any Gang member had gone before,
Katie Rosie tired

Even though they always returned home exhausted, and sometimes frightened half to death, we could see the twinkle in their eyes
as they planned their next run into the bush.

When Katie left her youth behind, forced into adulthood prematurely by motherhood,
Rosie ably stepped into her shoes.
She became the teacher and led the twins, Molly and Polly, into mischief. Again she had been a good student, learning all of Katie's bad habits,
and even adding some of her own. The twins learned well!
Rosie twins play

Rosie enjoyed being a teenager and for a long time escaped the amorous advances of the boomers
in her preference to play in the bush. And play was something she did - with all of her heart.

But adulthood was imminent.
Hormones stirred and, perhaps urged on by those wafting from her older sisters,
Rosie entered a period of great confusion.

Rosie nanny
She sensed the contentment Sadie and Katie felt fulfilling their roles as mothers and she wanted the same, but the boomers had gone so Rosie assumed the role of nanny and helped us with the orphaned joeys.
We knew she was born to be a mother.
Later that year the bucks returned, but Oliver, the dominant wild boomer, ignored Rosie.
He wanted Sadie and was prepared to wait until her joey was old enough to leave the pouch.
Rosie grumpy
Confused and frustrated our fun loving Rosie suddenly changed.
She became grumpy and bad tempered.
We were confused too. Why didn't the bucks want Rosie?
Dr. Jules Vandenbergh, our vet, wondered if she suffered from a hormonal imbalance,
then we were stunned when another scientist suggested Rosie could be a hermaphrodite.
During our research into this subject we thought there was a possibility.
Rosie was very large for a doe, extremely powerful
and we had often joked about her 'boomer chest'.
Rosie strong
Rosie beautiful
Plus she really was very beautiful.

All supposedly indicative of a creature having both male and female reproductive organs.

However before we could take the samples to either confirm or dispel this theory Oliver gave us the answer.

He chased Rosie around the garden
and then mated her - under our veranda.
Oliver chases Rosie

Western Grey mating is often a prolonged and violent affair,
and it was distressing for us to watch the roo we loved being subjected to such aggression.
It was difficult to stand back and let nature take its course, but we did,
our only consolation being, with luck, Rosie would get her joey.


And she did.
Four weeks later, on the 8th January 2000, Rosie gave birth to a daughter.
We named her Eucalypt.

We will never forget that morning.

Eucalypt born
Rosie was certainly the centre of attention as each roo approached
and sniffed her. To regain her own space she cuffed a few ears, and everyone returned to the business in hand, eating.
Then Sevvy, a young orphan we were raising, slowly sidled up to Rosie and very gently sniffed her pouch.

Not to be left out I carefully opened Rose's pouch.
There sucking healthily on a teat was Rosie's pride and joy.

How tiny and vulnerable her joey looked,
but oh what a precious sight.

Eucalypt new born

As we expected Rosie was a good mother,
and although she did not allow us to film inside her pouch as much as Sadie and Katie did,
we managed to capture some wonderful footage of Eucalypt growing and developing.

Then on the 9th August 2000 tragedy struck.

Creek fast flowing
Rosie tried to cross the swollen creek and fell.
Her pouch filled with water and Eucalypt drowned.
Rosie, in a vain attempt to save her joey,
tipped her out onto the creek bank and came home for us.
But even though we tried to resuscitate Eucalypt it was too late. She was all ready dead.
Before we buried Eucalypt in our bush cemetery,
Rosie said good bye to her baby.
It was a heart breaking scene.
Goodbye Eucalypt
To a mother, be she human or animal,
a baby is the most precious and treasured gift she can ever possess.
It is part of her, has started life and grown inside her.
The mother has endured the physical and emotional stresses of giving birth,
and has bonded with her defenceless offspring, therefore her sole aim is to rear it successfully.
Rosie grieves
When she fails the burden of loss is overwhelming,
and so Rosie grieved.

The Western Grey kangaroo is one of the few macropods that does not exhibit the embryonic diapause,
they have no baby on hold, and being seasonal breeders Rosie had to await Oliver’s return.
It was to be a long agonising wait.

In the following months we shared her grief.

Every morning she searched the house looking for Eucalypt,
and even rolled up towels trying to push them inside her pouch.
We felt so sorry for her.
Rosie towel

We thought of many ways to help her.
We even considered allowing her to adopt one of the orphaned joeys we were raising,
but there were many problems.
Scientists told us kangaroos do not accept a joey that is not their own,
and can even be violent to one, and we had evidence of this.
Even more of a problem was that Rosie was not a good home comer.
Roo Gully was not fenced and all the roos were free to go.
Rosie often had wanderlust and would spend several days in the bush,
so if we had put Paco or Bron inside her pouch we could not monitor the situation.
If Rosie dumped one of them we would not know where
and losing another joey would be too much for us all - including Rosie.

It proved to be a long winter.
Spring was late, then suddenly late one evening we saw Rosie standing in the bush.

Rosie and Oliver
Oliver was standing beside her.
Rosie looked our way, then turned and followed her boomer
through the gum trees. We did not see her again for three weeks.

When Rosie returned there seemed to be calm about her, and she easily settled back in life at Roo Gully.
A week later, on what would have been Eucalypt’s first birthday,
Rosie gave birth to her second daughter, Bracken.

As we expected Rosie was a nervous mother second time around,
and so we totally shocked when we discovered she wanted to share Bracken with us.
We found this extremely humbling because we felt we had failed Rosie when Eucalypt drowned.
She had come to us for help and we had let her down. Or did she know we had tried?
Or was it because she knew we had shared her grief for all those months?
We would never know, but going through the sad times with Rosie had bonded us closely with her.
And our reward was to share Bracken. It was a wonderful time in our lives.
Rosie was so loving, and together we watched Bracken develop into a beautiful young joey,
celebrating all the milestones in her life together.

It was a mild winter, and I will never forget all the times I lay in the long grass, Rosie lying beside me, Bracken looking out of the pouch, and both happy for me to gently stroke her.
Rosie Bracken Carol

Life seemed to be so good - then tragedy struck again.
Rosie suddenly became sick and died.
We were devastated.

7am that morning Rosie was fine, but by 8am we knew something was seriously wrong.

Her face was swelling and she was staggering as she tried to walk.
She was carried her into a shade clothed area under the veranda,
where she was free of irritating flies, and our day of hell began.
Rosie sick
Jules, our vet, had been seriously ill for months so could not travel to help us,
but by phone he tried to talk us through the crisis.
Suspecting an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to an insect bite or sting,
or thinking she might have bitten by a spider or snake,
Rosie was injected with all the drugs we thought would help her, but none did.
Her face continued to swell and her tongue was so swollen it protruded between her teeth.
Our hearts went out to her.
Rosie dying
Tears flowed as we sat and talked to our Rosie,
and even more so when she insisted on leaving
her protected area to feed her joey, Bracken.


By evening she was having difficulty breathing so I left Roo Gully for a mad drive through the bush
to Jules' home to pick up a drug we hoped might save her life.

Just five minutes after I left Rosie tried to feed Bracken, stroked her, tried to lick her,
turned her back, took a couple of laboured hops and died.

 

Rosie's body went to Murdoch University in Perth
where a post mortem discovered she died from haemorrhagic septicaemia,
probably caused by a severe bacterial infection.

Rosie grave

Rosie was cremated and her ashes brought back to Roo Gully, where they now rest next to her first daughter Eucalypt
in our bush cemetery.

Those who loved Rosie through the Tales shared our grief.
Tthose who met her, laughed at her antics and shared her love were devastated by her death.
There will never be another kangaroo like Rosie. She was kangaroo perfection.
A majestic animal, our largest roo, powerful yet full of grace.

She will never be forgotten.


Rosie will live on in all our memories and through her daughter,
now renamed Bracken Rose.

Rosie final photo

On behalf of Rosie we thank you for caring, and for loving her too
Rosie's Tale © Roo Gully 2001