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Red kangaroo, used as pet therapy, hops home after escaping backyard enclosure

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 3:38 PM CST
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MADISON, Miss. (WLBT) - A kangaroo named Rocky is back home after turning the streets of Madison into a wide-open Australian playground Tuesday.

Rocky is a 2-year-old kangaroo that his owner, Dr. Alyssa Killebrew uses while in therapy sessions as a child psychologist.

Rocky’s adventures began around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“He’s been in our backyard in a cage, and there was a neighborhood child that wanted to come and see Rocky and forgot to lock and close the gate,” Killebrew explained.

As soon as she realized Rocky was on the run, Killebrew, who happens to be seven months pregnant, took off with her nanny to find him.

“I just couldn’t get it out of my mind that if someone got hurt, I just couldn’t live with myself, so we ran around trying to find Rocky,” she said. “We went all around Madison.”

Alyssa finally spotted her four-legged mammal on I-55 in Madison. “There were cars, you know stopped - everywhere looking - taking pictures and videos,” she added.

One image, snapped by Micky Vesa, went viral minutes after we posted it.

It was his first and last time escaping, Killebrew says.

Alyssa’s husband, Keith, is now taking the kangaroo to the couple’s farm in Flora. But not before Rocky gets a little R & R Wednesday.

“Bless his heart, when he got back, he was so tired that he just laid down, and all he wanted to do was just drink,” she said. “He was exhausted.”

A few chickens will greet Rocky and a watusi, and Killebrew even wants more animals, including a zebra.

Interestingly, the couple recently opened a year-round camp for adolescents struggling with depression, grief, trauma, and substance abuse.

Red kangaroo, used as pet therapy, hops home after escaping backyard enclosure
Red kangaroo, used as pet therapy, hops home after escaping backyard enclosure(Dr. Alyssa Killebrew)

It’s called SEK Therapeutic Intensives, named after their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Killebrew, stillborn after Alyssa contracted COVID-19 last year.

“It has a biblical theme because the bible says to seek and you shall find and so our work there is to help people find their balance,” she said. “We created a ropes course and invited people who do equine therapy. They have camping tents, nature walks, and it’s just an amazing team of people that have come together to wrap their arms around children who have suffered loss.”

Right now, Rocky is the only animal on their farm that’s used as therapy for children. Killebrew said he was neutered to get rid of any aggression.

As for his adventurous nature, he won’t be returning to her backyard enclosure again.

“I can’t figure it out! He must have felt mighty good,” she laughed. “It was a wonderful event to see so many people that cared. They called animal control, and they considered darting him at one point, but none of that was needed because he hopped back home into his pan.”

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