Dodson, Montana, is about as quiet as you might expect for any town with a population of 124. Located in far-away Phillips County, Dodson is nestled along the serpentine Milk River, a perpetually tan–colored, muddy river lazily looping across the Great Plains just below the Canadian border.
The Milk River, by the way, was referred to as “the river that scolds all others” by the Hidatsa Indians. So, now you know that.
An interesting incident occurred near Dodson the other day. An automobile rolled over on Highway 2 just west of town. The two occupants of the car found themselves in a Fort Belknap hospital, but survived with only minor injuries.
When dispatched to the hospital to interview the driver of the crashed automobile, Montana Highway Patrol trooper Matt Finely, heard quite a story regarding the cause of the rollover. The driver of the vehicle informed the trooper she had lost control of her car after swerving to avoid a kangaroo crossing the road.
I’m pretty sure the trooper, just the same as me, and just the same as the last two people I threw rocks at, and just the same as all my noisy cousins, have seen the exact same number of free ranging kangaroos around here.
That number is zero.
And here is another thing. Montana state law forbids a person from keeping a kangaroo as a pet or farm animal. Weirdly enough, however, owning a wallaby, first cousin to kangaroo, is perfectly acceptable.
Hmmm. Maybe a wallaby, then.
After laughing at the notion of a kangaroo as the primary cause of the accident, Trooper Finley, drove out to the scene of the accident for further insight.
You got it. He found a kangaroo standing right there alongside the road.
Well, maybe a wallaby—our laws being what they are. Additionally, as Montanans, we are trained to differentiate between grizzly bears and black bears; not kangaroos and wallabies. And don’t you dare throw a wallaroo in the mix.
Trooper Finley, after talking with a few locals, was informed there is a kangaroo ranch near Dodson.
Again, maybe a wallaby ranch.
Trooper Finley made no attempt to capture the beast and also managed to keep his automobile on its feet.