Matt Mathews, one of the most sought-after boudoir photographers in the Southeast and a multiple time world-qualifying barrel racer, is also a fierce animal advocate and has spent years rehabilitating one of his favorite creatures: opossums.
Mathews has a huge fan base on social media, with over 56,000 followers on Instagram alone. Between showing his photography and making funny videos online, Mathews shows off his animals-- horses, dogs and cats-- and his “baby”, an opossum named Donovan.
Now, after Donovan was taken by the state on Friday, Mathews doesn’t even know if he’s alive.
“He’s my baby.”
It was Friday. Mathews was at work, getting ready for a shoot at his downtown Birmingham studio, when he got a call from his husband. His husband said there were four game wardens from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, three vehicles blocking the driveways, and they had a search warrant. They were coming for the four-year-old opossum.
“Why did you need four wardens? Why did you need three vehicles to surround my house, when I have one possum who is not doing anything wrong?” Mathews said.
A representative for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division did not respond to AL.com’s request for comment by the time of publication.
“What about the people who are poaching and killing endangered animals? What about people who are fighting dogs and chickens? What about the people who are starving horses?” he said.
I hate stories like this. Look at this fella. He's just minding his own damn business and taking beautiful pictures of a litany of ladies with scars to show that they are still beautiful! He's gassing them up and making them feel as sexy as he does when he's barreling around the barrels on the local rodeo circuit. He's photographing them while they are wearing boots and chaps and cowboy hats. It's that damned ole rodeo. Despite the fact that Matt Mathews (it's not a weird name. Find a new slant), brings joy everywhere he goes, the authorities started raining on his parade and taking members of his family without his consent. That's right. FAMILY.
You can't just say "oh. it's an opossum. That's not a baby. It's not a real member of his family" Bullshit. He loves that fucking opossum. Who wouldn't? Are we getting to the point where we cant appreciate a man who loves North America's only native marsupial which I remind you are known as Nature's purse?
"Hey Chaps! What kinda marsupial we talkin? I know there aren't many types of marsupials in North America. Is it really native to here or was it introduced centuries ago?"
Well, good question. One that I wasn't prepared for but, off the top of my head, this type of opossum is of the order Didelphimorphia which is endemic to the Americas. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 110+ species in 19 genera. Opossums originated in South America and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents. Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions.
In the United States and Canada, the only species found is the Virginia opossum. It is often simply referred to as an "opossum", and in North America, they are commonly referred to as possums. They should not be confused with the Australasian arboreal marsupials of suborder Phalangeriformes that are also called "possums" because of their resemblance to the Didelphimorphia, but you know that.
Anyway, when it comes to the authorities taking these family members because of "public safety" I believe that one rule should apply to "dangerous" animals as pets.
Can you fight it and win at an 80-percent clip?
If you can fight an animal and beat it more than four out of five times, you can raise it as your own child. That should be the rule. Can you fight a bear and win 4 out of 5 times? No. It's not a pet. A parrot? Yes. Raise that in a cage. A puppy? Yes. A cat? Yes. A frog? Yes. A fucking rhino? No.
See? That works and solves so many problems of governmental overreach.
There's one real solution here. Matt Mathews must fight his opossum Donovan to the death to prove that he loves it. If the opossum lives, he can't keep it as a pet. If it dies, that's his son that you made him kill. Happy? Fucking sick. I can't believe this. Why would you make him kill his only son? Do you think he's God? He's not. He's just a man who loves taking sexy photoshoots, riding in rodeos, and raising marsupials as his own. Leave the man alone, for Christ's sake.
Anyway, here are some tips about how to take sexier selfies.