There are few presents better than a new friend for one’s birthday, and I feel very privileged to have gotten to know Josephine this year. We first met when Sean and I stopped at Potoroo Palace on the way home from our honeymoon in the south of New South Wales, and she’s been in my heart ever since.

Potoroo Palace, for the uninformed, is an incredible animal sanctuary, primarily for Australian marsupials that are under threat by feral animals – especially foxes and cats – and all other critters affected by highway accidents, negligent owners, drought, etc. Prior to coming to Aus I had no idea how many little defenceless marsupials call this place home. Sugar gliders, quolls, potoroos are just a few of the extra-adorable (and endangered!) ones that will persuade the most ardent cat-lover to put a leash on it.

Josephine has grown since we saw her last in March. She’s now around 12 months old and is much more assertive in her den. She’s burrowed countless holes into the dirt and can be seen popping her head up from any of them at random. She’s free to come and go as she likes, but she’s still a big baby, and depends on the carers at Potoroo Palace for some extra help and a lot of affection since her own mother died in a highway accident when she was still in the pouch. Josephine now enjoys head butts, and you have to watch carefully when stepping into her domain as she’ll take a few steps back before beginning her run into your leg. It might sound funny, but it can hurt if she catches you off guard! She’s not trying to do harm, just playing and testing out her abilities. Wombats are built like little tanks, with their skulls extra thick at the front for precisely this purpose. Interestingly, wombats also have an extra bony plate on their backside to use against any predators that try to follow them underground into their burrow – a threatened wombat will fight the predator by turning its bum to the foe and thrusting upwards to squash the predator’s head against the top of the burrow. They’re cute, but dangerous!

Hello 33… I feel so lucky to have another lap around the sun with Sean and Josephine. Life just gets better. ❤