Mike the kangaroo has become a beloved part of the Dreis family.
He provides comfort and affection to Kayla, the Dreis's 16-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome, and has brought the entire Dreis family joy.
So when their homeowners association in Spring, Texas, told them they had to get rid of the loving marsupial, the Dreis household balked.
Kayla's parents, Jeni and Nick Dreis, bought the red kangaroo a few weeks ago, and planned to hold onto him for at least a year before Mike is placed in a wildlife park, where he can run free and entertain even more visitors.
Kayla has made her thoughts clear on the matter. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Kayla said of Mike: "I like to snuggle with him. He's silly. And he loves me."
But on February 20, Estate of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association sent the Dreis family a letter threatening to end the girl's relationship with Mike immediately.
The letter read, according to the Daily Mail: "Please immediately remove the kangaroo from your property as it is not a household pet nor can it be maintained for any business purposes. You are asked to correct the violation immediately."
Right now, 6-moht-old Mike weighs in at about 10 pounds, or about the size of a King Charles Spaniel.
The Dreis couple has started a wildlife refuge called Texas Downs for children like Kayla, to "enrich their lives and encourage independence through agriculture and wildlife programs."
The wildlife park was scheduled to become Mike’s home, but for now, it appears he's as domesticated as any cat or dog. Mike even sleeps in a bag the family placed on a door which simulates the feeling of being in a mother's pouch.
Kayla said of the prospect of losing her furry companion: "I would cry."
So it's no surprise that the Dreis parents wouldn't give up on Mike. They dug in their heels
And the Dreis parents aren't giving up on Mike either. They have dug in their heels and refuse to separate their daughter from her bouncing buddy.
Nick Dreis told the Chronicle: "They haven't taken the time to really get the details. The animal is only out in the yard for a few minutes a day, and he's behind a 5-foot fence. He's basically an indoor pet, like a dog or cat."
The homeowner's association would not comment when reached by local reporters.
Watch footage below of Mike hopping around and learn more about his tale, Courtesy of KHOU-TV: