Growing up on a farm can be a fantastic experience. You’re free to roam the great outdoors, climb trees, play in streams, and get into all sorts of shenanigans that kids growing up in the city miss out on.
You get a lot more exposure to animals, too. You learn how to care for them and how to read them, and again, get to experience all sorts of encounters that kids in the city don’t.
That’s not always a good thing, though. There are plenty of dangers lurking around every corner, and while growing up on a farm can teach you a lot, there are a lot of ways to get hurt, too.
Tanner Kleist, a boy from Wisconsin, learned that lesson thoroughly last month when he was trying to help out with some cows on the farm.
He was no stranger to the farm, as he’d been raised on it and was familiar with all the typical chores and its inhabitants.
“Feeds, bales, help milk calves,” his mother, Becky Kleist, said. “Rides in the tractor. Daddy lets him steer once in a while.”
The 9-year-old boy entered a pen of cows, allegedly to help out with a small cow, when something must’ve gone wrong and he fell under the feet of the cows.
These are big animals, and while they’re not necessarily vicious or cantankerous, if something gets them going they can easily run over and kill people who get in the way.
Fortunately, his sister was nearby, and she was able to help him out of the pen, but he was whisked away to the hospital and found to have severe injuries.
Since then, Tanner has taken up residence at American Family Children’s Hospital, and Becky said she “was there to watch him essentially turn blue.”
The doctors have — unfortunately — seen cases like Tanner’s before, but they did not have happy outcomes. His doctor even said that the past few similar cases he’s dealt with have ended with the child dying.
When the cattle trampled the 9-year-old, they understandably caused major internal damage, nearly shearing his liver in half and necessitating multiple operations.
But it’s been a month. And Tanner is still alive. His mother is certain that her son’s survival is a miracle.
Dozens of specialists have assisted during the surgeries, and while Tanner is not able to go home yet, he is still alive and that is giving his family hope.
“To know that that same surgeon has told me multiple times that this is typically not survivable, and then him saying the last three have died — yeah,” she said.
“It’s pretty surreal that, he may not say miracle but to us, he’s a miracle. To us, Tanner’s a miracle.”
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