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Meet the rescue opossum who uses a wheelchair to get around

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-26 12:20:48-05

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kewpie the opossum is officially on the move and it’s all thanks to a new set of wheels.

At Wilderness Trail Wildlife Center in Laurel County, his caretaker Tonya Poindexter watches Kewpie maneuver across the floor in his customized wheels. The scene is majorly different from last fall when Kewpie stopped using his back legs.

“He wasn't able to walk anymore and he was dragging himself with his front legs,” she told LEX 18.

Kewpie was born with genetic defects, similar to dwarfism. He also has scoliosis, arthritis, and at less than two-years-old, he’s already considered elderly for an opossum. But Poindexter has been dedicated to giving him the best life possible since she rescued him in Lexington.

So when an animal mobility company called Walkin’ Pets reached out, she decided to collaborate with the New Hampshire-based organization.

“They contacted me and said, ‘Hey, we want to help you out with Kewpie,” she said. “They've never fixed a wheelchair for an opossum before, and I said okay.”

A few weeks later, the custom cart showed up, sized to Kewpie’s specific measurements. The opossum is still getting used to moving in his special wheelchair, but so far his caretakers are proud of his progress, including volunteer Karen Smith.

“They like to move around,” she said. “They don't sit still long. They have to go. And it gives him more, to where he can go.”

At one point, Walkin’ Pets also fitted one of Poindexter’s rescue deer with a wheelchair, a fawn named Clarice.

Now that Kewpie’s joined the club, she’s excited to see where he’ll go next.

“It takes a lot of time doing what I could do with him, but I mean, I love him, and he loves me back,” she said.

Poindexter began her wildlife organization in 2016. Her first animal was Pepe the skunk. After Pepe was killed, Poindexter said she dedicated her life to taking care of animals.

For more information about Wilderness Trail Wildlife Center, including how to donate to rehabilitation for animals like Kewpie, click here.