Craig Stover has seen hundreds of patients in his decade as a chiropractor.
But none have been as unique as Oliver, who Stover treated Friday morning at his Tribble Gap Road office.
The 4-year-old drew quite the audience for his treatment, which included use of an activator, a metal implement that Stover thumped along Oliver’s spinal column to encourage nerve-to-brain communication.
“He’s so calm,” said Maggy Nadasdy, office manager.
Added massage therapist Sharon Borbely: “He’s better than my husband was when he came in here.”
Nadasdy said she “figured he would be kicking or jumping around.”
That would seem likely since Oliver is an agile wallaby, a species of kangaroo native to northern Australia.
Oliver made the trip to Stover’s office from his home at the Kangaroo Conservative Center in nearby Dawsonville.
The director of the center, Roger Nelson, said Oliver’s calm behavior during the treatment was typical of most of his species.
“They’re good-natured,” Nelson said. “They’re not mean or aggressive … some people think of kangaroos boxing with people, but that’s not a natural behavior.”
He noted that Oliver in particular enjoys being around people.
“He was hand-raised from the time he was a baby,” Nelson said. “He’s always very docile.”
The 68-pound animal had been in discomfort for nearly a week, Nelson said.
“We think he hit a fence in the wrong way and crunched his neck,” Nelson said.
He told Stover that the animal, which could live more than 20 years, had poor use of his “arms” and had been falling to the left and lying on his side more than normal.
Oliver stayed perfectly still without sedation as Stover worked on his spinal column.
Stover also used a laser acupuncture machine on the wallaby, which he said can help “anything with a spine.”
The creature’s pointy ears seemed to perk up when the treatment began.
“You like that, don’t you?” Stover asked his furry patient.
While Oliver was Stover’s first kangaroo, he’s not the first animal to be helped by him.
“I’ve worked with cats a little, but mostly dogs,” Stover said. “I’ve got a love for all animals.”
Nelson said Oliver was referred to Stover by his veterinarian, Randy Esbeck with Sawnee Animal Clinic.
“That’s why we’re here,” Nelson said. “[Esbeck] thought this would help him.”
Stover said his canine patients typically show signs of improvement within short amounts of time.
“Usually within about four hours after they get adjusted, [their owners] start to see results,” he said. “In 10 years, we’ve only had one dog we didn’t help.
“We’ve had dogs that were paralyzed and started walking again after just a couple of adjustments.”
As for Oliver, Stover gave him a positive prognosis.
“I think there’s a good chance he’ll be doing better soon,” he said, noting that the wallaby was better behaved than many of his human patients.
“He was very calm, which was kind of a surprise. I thought he’d be more kicky when I adjusted him.
“My human patients, some of them, can be a lot more vocal. They get a lot more excited, some
The chiropractor said treating Oliver was “a good opportunity.”
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life and figured if I could help a kangaroo, that’s a good thing.”