On a ranch, every day is different and try as you may – all things do not go according to plan or on your schedule. When I first got to the ranch, I was up 24-7 checking cattle. After a couple of calving issues where things did not go as expected, my vet told me that I could sleep outside every night with all the cows, but I would never save them all. He told me that I had 500 “women” in my maternity ward – and with 500 expectant moms – all things would not go perfectly.
Our first doggie of the season was Pearl – as in “Pitiful Pearl”. Only doggies get names. That’s because we become the surrogate parent – taking care of their every need – so we start calling them by name. The name just comes to you after a few days because the calf takes on a very definite personality. We have had Wild Thing, Crazy Baby, Little Bit and on and on. Well, Pitiful Pearl (Pearl) lost her mother shortly after she was born. We took Pearl to the barn. Pearl was very lonesome and sad.
Then steer calf 122 from another herd developed an infection and had to be taken to the vet. When 122 came home, he still had to be given an antibiotic for several days. (Now for those that follow farm-use of antibiotics – any calf on the ranch that is given any antibiotic is pulled from the herd so it is not sold for human consumption.) So, 122 ended up with Pearl.
Pearl just fell in love with 122 and now has a new BFF. She does not let him out of her sight. Even when he had to be doctored, she would wait patiently beside the squeeze chute while 122 was taken care of. She showed no fear – Pearl was there for her BFF 122. Today, they are still together – grazing – sleeping – afternoons in the shade – always together side-by-side.
As for me – on my vets orders I have cut back from my 24-7 vigil, but I am still trying to protect and save them all.