If you're unhappy and you know it clap your hands—or get a kangaroo?

I understand depression. I've been there, been on meds for that. And I have several folks near and dear to me who survive each day only because of the coping chemicals they've been prescribed, the antidepressants they rely on. It's a serious issue and this post is not meant to make light of that. At all.

That being said, though, I don't think owning a kangaroo is the answer to depression. Or if it is, I want one of my own for giggles and kicks (har har). Or maybe a wild animal of another sort, a koala or a panda—heck, maybe even an elephant—instead.

Seems a woman in Oklahoma swears by the depression-easing effects of her pet kangaroo. I'm not talking a stuffed Roo but a real, live (albeit partially paralyzed) romping, stomping marsupial. Well maybe not so romping and stomping considering his paralysis but the fact remains she has a freakin' kangaroo she swears keeps her happy.

According to several stories from the Associated Press last week, Christie Carr was encouraged by her therapist to volunteer at a local animal sanctuary to help ease her depression. Which is where she came to know and love Irwin, a kangaroo named after animal expert Steve Irwin. Seems Irwin crashed into a fence, suffering brain damage and becoming partially paralyzed, and kind-hearted Carr convinced the sanctuary folks to let her take home injured Irwin to care for him.

Care for him she did...and does. Carr dresses the one-year-old red kangaroo in little boy's clothing, feeds him meals of salad and snacks of Cheez-Its and Cheetos, and keeps him with her always, everywhere, including the grocery store. Carr feels so strongly about Irwin that she's willing to run from the law to continue keeping her comical kangaroo by her side.

When officials in her hometown began to question what will happen once Irwin is healed from his crash and becomes a potential public safety issue, Carr took offense and took to the road. More than once. When questions first arose, Carr packed up Irwin and headed to live with her parents, saying she no longer felt Irwin was safe from possibly nefarious officials. Then, when the heat was turned up in her parents' town, Carr set out for another town, one where Carr hopes to stay with a friend—with Irwin, too—until things are sussed out.

Irwin the kangaroo may have helped with Carr's depression, but I dare say her obsession with him has sent her racing full throttle into Looneyville.

There's hope for a happy ending, though, at least for Irwin and possibly for Carr. Irwin will surely eventually recover from his injuries and paralysis. At such time I imagine he'll let it be known he's grown tired of the little boy jeans with a hole cut for his tail, the diapers Carr keeps on him, the carseat he's made to sit in while on the road—or on the run—with his captor protector. How will Irwin express his distaste? With big, powerful kicks, I have no doubt, as all self-respecting kangaroos are wont to do. And maybe, just maybe, he'll kick some sense into the wacky woman who helped heal him and she'll reluctantly agree to set him free. Or at least return him to the sanctuary where their silly story began.

I certainly don't know the depths of Carr's depression, but there's no doubt her judgement is clearly clouded, for how could any rational person possibly think a kangaroo makes for a good therapy pet? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a cuddly kittent or an ever-adoring Labrador to ease the pain and isolation of the disease? I'd think either would be a more acceptable choice, providing purpose and affection yet requiring no running from the law. They'd require no kangaroo-size diaper changes, either—a huge plus, if you ask me. (Even just the idea of having to deal with that would be enough to totally depress me in the first place, negating any and all chuckles even the most comical of kangaroos could possibly offer.)

Nope, I don't get it. I don't get Carr's rationale for running from town to town with a kangaroo. No matter how depressed she might have been or continues to be. A kangaroo in diapers, for that matter. Come to think of it, I also don't get how you'd even diaper a kangaroo—especially considering the holes she had to cut in the tot-size trousers to accommodate Irwin's tail. Seems the diaper would need a hole, too, rendering the Pampers pointless. Like the rest of the story, it just doesn't make sense.

I'm crossing my fingers for Carr—and for Irwin—that somewhere, somehow, Carr makes sense of the mess she's made, that she heads on home, that she returns Irwin to his. Before things get ugly...or seriously Thelma and Louise like. Then, if she really feels she must, maybe Carr can adopt a different pet for therapeutic purposes. Maybe one that doesn't go against local zoning ordinances. More importantly, maybe one that requires a litter box instead of diapers.

Photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

If money and logistics (and common sense) were no consideration, what wild animal would you choose to have and to hold as a therapy pet?