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The Scituate Animal Shelter went global in January, adding orphaned kangaroos and wallabies to its list of critters that need help.

The shelter usually focuses on more local and less exotic creatures. The shelter found homes for more than 500 dogs, cats, bunnies, and the like last year, and reunited 55 lost pets with their owners.

But after learning about the devastating impact that the fires in Australia were having on wildlife, the staff at the Scituate shelter felt compelled to act.

So on Jan. 8, the shelter asked its volunteers and supporters to make pouches for orphaned kangaroos and wallabies who needed the comforting pockets usually provided by their marsupial mothers.

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A week later, the shelter had received and shipped more than 225 pouches to Australia, according to Ashley Davis, the organization’s director of programs and operations.

Davis said many of the pouches came from local crafters who were excited about using their skills for a good cause. Even more of the cloth bags came from people who said they’d “never sewn a day in their life” but learned, mostly from YouTube tutorials, because they wanted to help, she said.

“We had many families come in saying that they worked together with the kids to make the pouches,” Davis said. “They made a day of picking the fabric out together and working on them. Some of the fabric choices are pretty adorable — cartoon characters or koalas.”

Davis said she has never sewn anything before but made a large pouch that “is a little rough looking” but that she hopes will work.

The shelter also has a link on its webpage — scituateanimalshelter.org/help-kangaroos — to a site for financial donations to the Australian wildlife relief efforts.

This isn’t the first time the Scituate Animal Shelter has helped with distant animal disasters. In 2017, the shelter collected about a ton of pet food and supplies for pet owners impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

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Closer to home, the Scituate Animal Shelter is always looking for homes for its adoptable animals. As of mid-January, that included six dogs, eight cats, and a pair of “bonded” rabbits who needed to be placed together in one home. Over the years, the shelter has found homes for ferrets, birds, snakes, a hedgehog, and a pig, as well.


Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.