It’s easy for us to imagine a dog being smart enough to get the attention of a human or for our canine companions to even be able to go get help in the event of an emergency. “Lassie, go get help!” is forever etched into my mind as the ideal for my own dogs.
We don’t normally think of cows as being as savvy, yet a video that is going viral is proving just that. Cows have an incredible capacity for communication and emotion.
About a year ago, a man named Dave who lives near Peterborough, Ontario, was reportedly driving by a farm when he stopped to get footage of some of the cows for one of his video projects. According to video footage, this is when he discovered that one of the cows — ‘Flo’ — had just given birth to a calf near the fence. The newborn calf had slid under the electric fence on the edge of the property and was now unable to reach it’s mother.
“Flo is a loving mother cow who has just had a calf. Unfortunately, she chose a spot beside the fence, near the pond, and her baby slipped under the electric fence as it was born,” the post explained.
Flo began to panic, as she could not reach her baby.
The story accompanying the video explained that the cow began to moo loudly when Dave approached the fence and was also pawing at the dirt. “Flo paced back and forth, continuing her odd behavior for about five minutes,” the caption said. “She was staring at Dave and then at the grass outside the fence. It slowly occurred to Dave that she was not angry, but possibly asking him to look outside the fence.”
There, according to the video, Dave discovered the helpless calf. All along Flo had been trying to direct his attention, essentially asking Dave to help her save her newborn.
“Flo’s young calf doesn’t have the strength, or the understanding to get back through the fence and she can’t get to him,” the post continued.
According to the video, the farmers had not expected Flo to give birth until the next day, so they had left the farm. Seeing as there was nobody around to help, Dave decided to step in and help the calf onto the other side of the fence.
Using a stick, he pried up the live wires of the electric fence and helped push the calf through. The caption revealed both Dave and the calf got a few shocks during this part. In the video, Dave can be seen comforting the calf as it tries to find its footing and as Flo turns her attention to the baby.
Right after the rescue, the owners of the farm reportedly drove past and stopped to find out what had happened. According to the video caption, upon discovering that Dave had rescued the calf, they invited him to join them as they treated the umbilical cord with iodine and tagged the calf.
According to the video, because of its experience with the electric fence, the calf was given the name “Sparky.”
After being tagged, Dave captured Flo and Sparky on camera approaching him, seemingly in recognition. According to the video and post, Dave believes Flo knew that a stranger could help her in her moment of need. “She knew what she needed and made a clear attempt to communicate. She also demonstrated a touching love for her newborn baby,” he said.
Since this encounter, Dave said that he has gotten to know the farmers and to understand their philosophy of farming. In a post from May 2019, he says “The farmers treat their cows almost like pets, and they have a very high regard for herd health.”
Dave now says that he has a greater appreciation for this kind of farming, and for cows in general. In his recent post, he describes the gentle relationship between cows and their farmers. “This herd is so well treated and so well accustomed to people that they have no objection to a human joining them in their meadow.”
Dave says he has even been able to sit in the fields with the cows and pet the calves.
“Anyone who understands cattle and farming will tell you that this is exceptional among protective mothers,” he said, “and it shows the kind of relationships that these cows are used to having with people.”
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