In January this year, Justine King and Greg Pointing were evacuated from their Bundanoon property five times along with 30 animals.
It has been a tough year for the pair who run Dimmocks Retreat Wildlife.
In October last year, severe winds blew over their aviaries.
The bushfires also did significant damage to their property which was further compounded by heavy rains which flooded their garage and destroyed their supplies.
"You just don't know what to say. It's definitely very surreal," Justine said.
It was a less than ideal start to the year and a very difficult time for both them and the animals.
Along with themselves and their dog, Greg and Justine had wombats, possums, birds, turtles, kangaroos and rescue ducks with them when they had to evacuate.
"It was just about getting all the animals out."
And as well as the logistical difficulties of all this, Justine said it was made even harder by the fact some of the animals like the kangaroos were not used to travelling.
"The kangaroos hadn't been in the car before. They looked at it like it was a monster."
They were unable to take the animals to Moss Vale Showground as they were wildlife so they went instead to a friend at Berrima.
"We made it work," Justine said.
Since the fires, they have welcomed two new wombats- Boulder and Ruby.
Boulder suffered not only physical but psychological damage from the fires.
Justine said when he first arrived he was cranky and tended to bite.
But in the space of five months, all that has changed.
"Now he's a really happy little guy."
And while Justine said the public perception was that injured wildlife were being cared for by lots of people, the reality was very different.
It is just her and Greg, a registered veterinary nurse, who care for the animals and the COVID pandemic has made their job even harder.
They have lost several volunteers which has increased their workload.
"We've had to look after ourselves as well. We can't afford to get sick- you need two people. There's a lot of work to be done.
"We are not the only carers in our region but there is a very limited amount of carers to take on all the wildlife."
The community may not be able to help in person but Justine said there were plenty of other ways to contribute.
"People like to help in different ways and I try to be creative with how people can help."
Dimmocks has a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for repairs needed at the property.
Justine said they also had an online store where people could purchase soft toys.
Another popular initiative is to sponsor a joey where people receive monthly newsletters with progress on how their joey is going.
"There are different ways people can feel they contribute."
Since the fires, they have constructed two permanent feed shelter stations which provide the animals some relief from the sun, and rain.
Dimmocks Retreat Wildlife is a registered charity and has been helping wildlife in the Highlands for the past five years, while Greg and Justine have been in the area for the past seven years.
"We were looking for a tree change. One day we had a coffee in Bundanoon and I instantly fell in love with it," Justine said.
"We're not going anywhere. We love it here."
The pair is also looking to expand on their existing facilities.
They now have the only after care clinic in the region for wildlife.
The pair are also members of a licensed rehabilitation group and trained to care for wildlife.
A supply shed has been built as well as an extension to the joey area and Justine said they hoped to expand their reptile and lizard facilities.
"We're slowly building on what we've got."
Vsit https://www.dimmocksretreat.com.au/ to learn more about Dimmocks or to make a contribution.
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