Whenever we go through difficult times in our lives, we often turn to friends or family members for support. But more often than not, they are not able to understand how we feel and, instead of helping, they add to our problems.
It’s situations like these that make us seek out support elsewhere to help us cope; i.e., from support groups. It could be to recover from an addiction, to come to terms with a severe physical illness, to vent when dealing with a mental illness, to feel included when we are feeling left out, and so on.
The common goal is to share our feelings, experiences, and struggles so that we don’t feel too alone in the world. Through shared experiences, we process our thoughts and emotions with the hope of recovering and healing. It’s incredible how chance encounters and right timings can pave the way for genuine relationships that help us heal not only our bodies but our minds.
PAULA AND AGGIE
Paula is in her late teens. In her family, it is tradition that she already bears a child at her age. However, for unknown reasons, she could not get pregnant. Because of this, her family made her feel less of a woman.
To make matters worse, she became sick. But no one wanted to take care of her. To escape from her situation, she left home. A family friend advised her to go to a sanctuary for young women, which she did, and in this place, she found her new home.
A month after Paula came to the sanctuary, another young woman came in: Aggie, who lost both her mother and her best friend to illnesses. Similar to Paula, she came to the sanctuary in search of a new family.
When Paula and Aggie met each other, they instantly formed a bond. It’s as if they knew they needed each other. But Paula and Aggie are not humans. Paula and Aggie are Cows!
(The Farm Sanctuary)
Paula came from the dairy industry. Because she could not get pregnant and produce milk, the dairy industry considered her a liability. Aggie, on the other hand, had a much better life as a companion animal. But when she lost her guardian and Cow best friend shortly after, she was sent to the sanctuary as there was nobody to care for her anymore.
It almost feels as if their experiences in life were meant to happen just so they could meet. In each other, they found strength, love, and healing. They live at The Farm Sanctuary in the USA.
FORREST AND PIPPI
Forrest was born in a beef farm where his mother died giving birth to him. Struck down by even more cruel fate, he was born with his foot bent beneath him. His injury made him unable to walk or even stand properly.
Most cruel of all is that having injuries at a beef farm means that you are not profitable and will be sent off to be killed. In an unusual twist, the farmer and his assistant took a liking to Forrest and cared for him to full health, then decided to send him off to a sanctuary.
In the sanctuary was another orphaned Cow called Pippi who was born with a heart condition. She had a best friend named Poppy who had to go for surgery (she had a broken leg and pelvis from falling from a transport truck). When Poppy left for the veterinarian, Pippi became devastated and grieved for the loss of her friend. She didn’t understand that it was only temporary.
I’m sure you can guess what happened next. A month after her “adjustment” period, Forrest met Pippi. They instantly clicked and became friends. Forrest found a big sister in Pippi, and Pippi found a playmate in Forrest. The timings couldn’t have been more perfect.
Poppy, on the other hand, was paired with another special needs Cow called Peggy. They now live beside Forrest and Pippi. They, too, live at The Farm Sanctuary.
Happy endings all around.
DUDLEY AND DESTINY
Perhaps the happiest story of all belongs to Dudley and Destiny.
Dudley and Destiny are rescue Cows staying at The Gentle Barn, Tennessee. They liked each other so much that in 2016, they got married! Destiny’s life was meant to be a cruel one as she was born to the world to be killed. She was also born with an infection that traveled to her bloodstream and settled on her right leg. Since she was going to be eaten anyway, the veterinarian did not want to spend any effort in treating her.
As if a blessing in disguise, her predicament made the farmer take matters into their hands and they nursed Destiny back to health. But without professional medical attention, her condition would still get worse, and everything would end up in vain. The farmer grew fond of Destiny and, not wanting to see her slaughtered, surrendered her to a sanctuary.
Dudley, like Destiny, was also born to be killed. He was taken away from his mother as a Calf to be raised for slaughter. At the ranch where he was taken, he accidentally got his leg tangled in a baling twine. Having received no veterinary help of any kind, his leg fell off due to blood constriction.
In another twist of fate, the rancher’s friend, having seen Dudley’s condition, reached out to the Gentle Barn for help. Dudley spent five months at a large animal hospital and was made a leg prosthesis. Soon after, he went home to The Gentle Barn where he met Destiny — and the rest is history.
Two years later, however, Dudley passed away due to an ulcer which was beyond treatment.
The Gentle Barn remembers Dudley’s legacy: “He helped adult amputees have hope. He modeled perseverance and resilience to foster children of all ages. He gave and received hugs from thousands of guests from around the world. He inspired thousands of people to go vegan. He was loved by thousands of school children who’s [sic] teachers made him the focal point of their daily lesson plans. He showed the world how intelligent and affectionate [C]ows are when given a chance. He inspired, and taught, and changed us all forever!”
As for Destiny, she is still living in Gentle Barn with other rescue Cows finding peace and comfort in one another. A happy ending still, after all.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COWS
In their 2017 research called “The Psychology of Cows” published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition, Dr. Lori Marino and Kristin Allen found that Cows are “far more sophisticated and sensitive than the simple grazers they are perceived to be by many members of our own species.”
Cows demonstrated that they “are able to make sophisticated discriminations among not only objects but humans and conspecifics; possess not just simple emotions, but several emotional capacities, such as cognitive judgment bias and emotional contagion; show an apparent emotional reaction to learning which may reflect a sense of self-agency similar to some other mammals; have distinct personalities; [and] exhibit several dimensions of social complexity, including social learning.”
Humans have made use of cows for their flesh, bones, skin, and milk. But knowing now that cows aren’t that different from us (they are in fact actually very much like us), maybe it’s time we reconsider their value, morally speaking, and end the exploitation that they are facing. We have the power to stop it right now when we choose to eat plant-based, choose synthetic leather, and drink plant milk.
UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME
Just like us, Cows have complex emotions. They mourn, grieve, experience joy and happiness, and long for friendship and companionship. In each other, they find comfort and support.
The sanctuaries that exist to protect them deserve all the praise for their hard work and compassion for animals in need. Here’s to hoping there be as many sanctuaries as there are slaughterhouses someday – enough until all the Cows have a home.
(The Farm Sanctuary)
Documentary: A young activist goes deep into dairyland where he takes on the giants of New Zealand’s most powerful industry, and reveals how the sacred cash-cow industry has been milked dry.
His journey exposes not only the sustainability crisis and the dangerous denial of impending agricultural disruption, but also what New Zealand and other countries can do to change their fate. (text taken from IMDB)