This dog owner from Strathdownie in Western Victoria got the surprise of her life when her Golden Retriever brought home a new friend – a baby koala!
Of all the things that Kerry McKinnon’s dog, Asha, brought home, this one is by far the most unexpected.
“It was quite early in the morning, and my husband yelled out to me to come have a look at something,” Kerry told News.com.au.
“I didn’t know what he was talking about at first, but then I saw this tiny baby koala snuggled on top of Asha.”
Temperatures in Strathdownie usually drop to 5C or 41F in the early hours. Apparently, the joey sought refuge in Asha’s warm fur amidst the freezing weather outside. Kerry was completely caught off guard by the weird situation.
“I just burst out laughing. Poor Asha didn’t know what to think; she just kept looking at me with such a confused look,” Kerry recalled. “She looked a bit guilty when I came out to see what was going on. Her expression was hilarious.”
But Asha seemed to be loving her new companion’s presence.
“She kept looking back at the koala bear, but she wasn’t trying to get him off her or anything. She was happy to let him snuggle into her,” Kerry said.
Kerry and her husband never found out exactly how the koala ended up attached to Asha. But Kerry’s theory is that the little marsupial got separated from its mother.
“I think the koala bear baby fell out of his mum’s pouch and didn’t know what to do. He would have just wandered over to our back porch and seen the dogs in their beds, then decided to snuggle in Asha’s fur because it’s nice and warm,” she said.
As unusual as the situation was, it was a good thing that Asha and the koala found their way to each other – the latter may have been put in grave danger if they didn’t.
“Asha definitely saved the koala’s life by keeping him warm. He would have died out there if left alone all night. The poor thing could have been taken by a fox or something too,” Kerry said.
When the time came to separate the two, the joey put up a “huge fuss”, making it difficult for Kerry to split them apart.
“I think dogs have that protective instinct. The koala didn’t want to leave Asha’s back. When we took the koala off to wrap it in a blanket, it hissed at me and carried on,” Kerry said.
“I think it would have been happy to have just slept there all day. It was really an amazing animal friendship to see and so uniquely Australian.”
Thankfully, the lost koala is all well. After being checked by a vet, the baby was put under the supervision of a local koala carer and would remain so until it is ready to be released back into the wild. Watch the news feature about this story below:
What a sweet story! Asha is such a good girl for letting the baby koala snuggle into her fur. Hopefully, all things will go well for the marsupial once it is released back into its natural habitat.