Linda, who has lived with us since 2006, arrived at our New York Shelter with twisted back legs and feet and a stiff gait, caused by a broken pelvis which had never been treated when she was a calf. After many diagnostic tests, surgeons at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals determined that no procedure could reverse the damage to Linda’s body, and that any trauma to her hips or back could cause further harm and even full paralysis. Because of this, Linda’s doctors recommended that she live with our sheep rather than the cattle who (due to the fact that they are as large as or larger than Linda) could easily injure her by accident. Thankfully, Linda lived very happily among sheep and goats, though it was clear that she still desired to mix with the cattle who daily mooed back and forth with her from a few barns away. Linda’s wish more recently came true, however, with the arrival of a special cow named Tricia.
A few months ago, we received a call from a former dairy farmer desperately seeking help for a special needs animal. She explained that when she left the cooperative dairy she was a part of, she took a blind cow who she had raised from a calf and moved her to another farm, hoping to keep her safe from harm. But the farmer who agreed to take the cow in continued to breed her, and after she gave birth to a son (a byproduct of no use to the dairy industry), he decided that she was not worth the extra work it took to care for her and planned to send her to slaughter. After convincing the farmer to spare Tricia if she could find another home quickly, the woman begged us to take the cow in and we agreed, knowing that we could provide the special care and environment she would need.
When Tricia arrived at our New York Shelter, she not only turned out to be the tiniest cow we had ever seen, but was also so distraught that she spent her first day here mooing loudly and circling her pen. When we could not console Tricia after her first 24-hours at the sanctuary, I called the woman who had asked for our help to see if she had seen Tricia act like this before. Tragically, she revealed to me then that Tricia’s calf had only recently been taken to slaughter, and the poor cow’s distress suddenly made all the sense in the world: Tricia was clearly still mourning the loss of her son.
Because Tricia was so heartbroken, we quickly vaccinated and wormed her and made sure that she was healthy; then, we introduced her to Linda as soon as we could. After all, the two seemed like they would be a perfect match since Tricia was so small and would pose no danger to Linda. When the two met, Tricia was beside herself with joy and spent hours licking Linda over and over again. At first, Linda was a little bit apprehensive since she had never lived with other cows, but within a few hours, she was licking Tricia right back.
Now the pair are inseparable and Tricia spends her days laying in the straw, licking her pal until she is practically soaking wet. She no longer cries out or moves in circles – the only exception being if she is separated from Linda for even a moment (in which case Linda will now cry out too). Looking at them together, it is clear that these sensitive and sweet animals needed each other to be completely fulfilled — and it’s as if Tricia came here not only so that her own life could be saved, but also so that she could give Linda a second chance for true happiness too. They are a perfect example of the power of love and cow kisses, and we just know that they’ll be Best Bovine Friends Forever.