Pet possum is changing perceptions in Citrus County

Barley is not your typical possum

BEVERLY HILLS, Fla. - Most people expect to find animals inside Countryside Animal Clinic, but this isn't your ordinary animal.

This is Barley.

"He's the most amazing pet I've ever had," Lea Murray exclaimed.

Bright-eyed, but certainly not bushy-tailed, the possum became a pet last year when Murray, a vet tech, decided to adopt him.

Barley was the sole survivor of a car crash that wiped out his entire marsupial family tree.

"I did not want him to get euthanized, so I decided I was going to go ahead and take on the challenge," Murray said.

Murray is trying to be the best step-mom she can to young Barley. She's found diet tricks, like yogurt and Froot Loops, and has received a permit with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission so she can legally own him.

But it has certainly been an interesting journey.

"At first, people are like, 'Is that a possum?'  And then they're like, 'Well, can I touch it?'" Murray said with a chuckle.

Barley is surprisingly soft, and some would say even cute.  The house-trained pet comes to work with Murray every day, constantly altering people's possum perceptions with every step he takes.

Murray says more than 100 people showed up to his last birthday party when he turned one.

So much for dogs, this woman has found a new best friend.

"Best friend ever, "said Murray. "I'm so in love with him I can't stand it."

If you would like to get to know Barley you can look for him on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/barley.murray .  The possum also has his own email account at barleythepossum@gmail.com .

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