He's sweet, cuddly, and loves cottage cheese. He's Barley the Awesome Possum, and you're invited to his birthday party.
Though most people couldn't imagine having a possum as a pet, Lea Murray, a registered veterinary technician at East-West Animal Hospital, couldn't imagine life without her special possum, Barley.
Murray adopted Barley after he was the sole survivor of an accident that killed his mother and siblings. Since he was young and suffered from metabolic bone disease, Murray filed to get a permit to make Barley a permanent part of her home.
Barley even sleeps with her, Murray said.
You can't just make a possum a pet, you have to have a permit, which requires specific circumstances and special care for the animal, Murray said.
Since she adopted Barley, he's become the mascot of the East-West Animal Hospital, joining Murray every day at work, on outings and on lunch breaks.
"I've never had a better pet," Murray said.
It's been a year since Barley was born and entered Murray's life. That means it's time to celebrate. The community is invited to join the fun at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, at 1524 Land O Lakes Blvd. in Lutz.
The party will feature pizza from Uptown Pizza and cake from Publix. There also will also be raffles, door prizes and "I partied with Barley the Possum" T-shirts for sale.
The money raised by the event will be donated to wildlife rescue organizations, so other animals in situations like Barley's can get the care they need.
For more information about the party, check out the details on the Lutz Patch calendar. And to learn more about Barley and his human mom, check out the video above!