My Pet - Oscar the emu

By Madeleine Caccianiga

The sight of an emu in the backyard never seemed strange to Kelly Sullivan while growing up on the farm at Katunga, because that emu had a name and was considered part of the family.

Seventeen years ago, Ms Sullivan’s father arrived home with a baby emu which he had taken on from a family friend.

‘‘We got home one day and Dad had a box in the lounge room — we opened it up and here’s little Oscar, he was only a day old,’’ Ms Sullivan said.

Falling in love with the little guy, Ms Sullivan said arrangements were made inside for Oscar to stay off the carpet.

‘‘He lived inside for a few months — we had to put barriers up against the doors so he couldn’t get into the carpet areas and then after that he was adopted by Daisy our cow and she mothered him until she died, which was only a few years ago,’’ she said.

Ms Sullivan said Oscar became known to everyone in the town and formed a close bond with the whole family.

‘‘He got out once and Mum received a phone call to say he was out on the road, so Mum was out there in her dressing gown walking him down the main highway to bring him home,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s never hurt anyone, he’s always just been so friendly, even towards the kids — sometimes the kids are a bit scared of him because he’s so big, but he’s a gentle giant.’’

Ms Sullivan said although Oscar had a jealous streak with the sheep, he got along with all the animals on the farm.

‘‘He’s just like any other pet that people have, like a cat or a dog, Oscar is like that for us — we even had family photos taken in the backyard and Oscar was a part of that,’’ she said.

Like all animals, Oscar has been visited by the vet.

‘‘We did have a few scares with him getting hurt where we got the local vet out and they had never dealt with an emu before, so that was a first time for them,’’ Ms Sullivan said.

It was then that the family discovered Oscar’s love of homemade cake.

‘‘The vet thought he might have had a bit of brain damage because he had run into a barbed wire fence. It was quite a lengthy healing process and Mum was very concerned because he wouldn’t eat and then one day she fed him a bit of chocolate cake and that was that, he came good,’’ Ms Sullivan said.

‘‘From then on if we were away on holidays Mum would make sure he had enough food — sometimes even date cake.’’

Now watching her children grow up with Oscar, Ms Sullivan said although having an emu as a pet could be seen as unusual, Oscar was pretty special.

‘‘He is forever by our side, you’ll be in the back corner and you’ll call out to him and he comes wandering up for a pat and he loves a bath under the sprinkler — he’s just a part of the family,’’ she said.

If you have a story about your pet you would like to share with The News, phone Madeleine on 58203226 or 58203221.