Flo is a cow who lives on a beautiful farm near Millbrook, Ontario. She spends her days in a lush, green pasture that borders on a country road. The cows have access to a nice pond for drinking and for cooling off in. She shares this pasture with a herd of cows and some newborn calves. Flo delivered a calf herself but it was born on a slope between the pond and the fence. It slid down and under the fence, becoming trapped outside the field. It’s not clear how long the calf was lying there, but the fresh umbilical cord showed that it had been born that day. It was also dry, which suggested that it had been lying in the sun for a little while. The calf may have tried to get back to its mother but the electric fence made this impossible. Dave was passing by on the road when he saw the cows enjoying a dip in the pond to get out of the heat. He stopped to video tape the cows as they did so. He noticed a cow to his left that was acting agitated. Dave doesn’t know a lot about cows but he knew it was unusual for a female to scrape the dirt and make so much noise. He set his camera on the fence post and watched, confused by what was going on. He could see that her ear tag said “Flo”. He eventually noticed that she was looking through the fence and then back at him. She seemed a little frantic as she mooed and he walked closer with his camera to see what she was doing. It became obvious that she had been asking for help. Dave saw her newborn calf in the long grass but he wasn’t sure if her behavior had been a cry for help or a warning to stay away from her baby. The calf needed to get milk from the mother and he could also wander out on the road if something wasn’t done. There was no gate nearby and Dave didn’t want to try moving the calf far away from Flo. Dave decided that the best way to help was to lift the wires and pushh the calf under the fence. The calf seemed to tired to help and there was no way to avoid contact with the fence. Flo seemed to understand that her calf was being moved toward her, but Dave was very aware that only a flimsy fence would be between them if she became upset with what was happening. Dave was getting shocked and the calf was too. He hoped it would not cry out in pain before he could get the job done. Eventually, the calf was on the other side of the fence and reunited with his mom. The two immediately sniffed each other and began walking out into the pasture together. Dave spoke with the farmer and his wife, who did not realize that she had calved. They invited Dave to join them as they tagged the calf’s ear and treated the umbilical cord with iodine. They checked the calf and found that it was healthy and unharmed. Dave took his camera along and filmed the two as they mingled with the herd. The calf wandered up to Dave for a curious sniff, as did Flo, seemingly recognizing him. They both wandered off and Flo’s little calf was soon happily nursing as if nothing had happened. Although Dave was slow to catch on, Flo was obviously distressed and was aware that Dave could help her. She looked at him expectantly as she paced between him and her baby in a very clear attempt to communicate. We often underestimate an animal’s intelligence and capacity for emotion. Flo showed a healthy amount of both in this case. You can’t deny the love she felt for her newborn calf.
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