FILED IN: Happy Endings

Family fights home association to keep kangaroo

Animals are much more than just cute, furry beings. Recently, Nick and Jeni Dreis of Spring, Texas brought home a 6-month-old kangaroo to serve as a vocational training animal for their 16-year-old daughter, Kala, who has Down Syndrome.  Mike, a red kangaroo, came from Texas Downs, a facility serving disabled adults.

Mike, the kangaroo. Photo via Channel 2 Houston

Mike has been living with the Dreis family for a month and has already been teaching Kala.  Jeni told KVUE in Texas, “Kala has been learning to care for him, and Kala has learned how to meet [his] needs above her own.”

However, things have not always been hopping along for the Dreis family.  In February, their neighborhood Homeowners Association sent the family a letter declaring that kangaroos are not household pets and that Mike needs to be given up to an appropriate home.

The media immediately latched on to the Dreis’ story.  Support for the family poured in from all over the world.  The family’s fight to keep Mike was on.

Jeni told Channel 2 Houston, “I called the management for the HOA and I explained that our kangaroo would not be here for very long and was here for the special needs program for our daughter.”

The Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association has recently altered its stance and will now allow the Dreis family to keep Mike.

Jeff Crilley, an HOA representative explained to the Houston Chronicle, “They (HOA officials) were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes. We trust that the family is going to be working in good faith to find a more suitable home for the animal.”

Mike is expected to live with the family for about a year.  After a year, he will become part of a wildlife preserve created by the Dreis family.  In addition to the wildlife preserve, the family is also creating an organic farm and education center to serve children with special needs with the purpose of teaching them life skills.

The Dreis family has garnered a little fame from their fight.  They are slated to appear on Animal Planet in June.