Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Honorary Appaloosa

In this difficult economy, many animals are without homes and finding new ones has become more difficult than in previous years. This problem is not unique to horses and can be a special challenge for farm animals that have become family pets. “Smooches” the cow is a ten-year old Holstein who lost her home and simply needed a place to live out her life.

We met Smooches over two years ago. She completely won us over with her endearing personality and fondness for treats. When her family lost their farm, Smooches' prognosis was not all that good and her owner, concerned about her safety, asked for our help in locating a suitable new home. Her concern was well-founded. Smooches has had a long history of mastitis. This fact and her advancing age, make her no longer suitable as a breeding or milking cow. She was at risk of being made into freezer beef, a risk her owner was unwilling to take.

While many people keep horses they can no longer ride, most do not realize that cattle can make equally good pets. This is largely due to the way that most are handled, or rather, not handled. Most cattle in this country are raised for commercial purposes and generally receive little or no socialization with people. They are unsurprisingly wary of humans. But most family cows are handled extensively. Any large animal that you are going to get that personal with needs to be gentle enough for you to work with without injury to either of  you. These cows often bond with their owners and can become very affectionate. Tom and I have a special soft spot for these sweet old girls, who have spent their lives being valuable members of someone's family.

While Smooches is not an Appaloosa, we have awarded her the first “Honorary Appaloosa” status ever given to a bovine. After talking to a number of  candidates, we are happy to report that she has found a wonderful new home. Our sincere congratulations to new mom, Taby, on the newest member of her family! Big thanks also, to Smooches' former owner for her compassion and willingness to do the right thing.