The Story of the Smallest, Dearest Steer

3 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Not every animal on Locket’s Meadow has a “happily ever after” story. For some, the only solution to their situation is half an answer, or the best we can do with what we have.

I absolutely know that animals understand everything about their situations. Everything. Cows, horses and pigs standing in chutes, shuffling to their death, know exactly where they are going, and no, they DO NOT want to go there. Way back when we rescued 4-month old PMU foals by the truckload we were faced with young horses who were devastated at being separated from their mothers. Devastated. No one can tell me there is no love between an animal mama and her babies; I have seen it when they are together and I can see it when they are separated long before their time.

Mikey’s situation was unusual for us. I got a call about a bull calf who was going to be euthanized along with his mama and daddy. The man who owned them had died and his family was unable to take care of them and decided that if they sold them there was no guaranteeing they wouldn’t have to endure the nightmare of the slaughterhouse. I respect their decision, as a quiet, dignified and painless death beats the crap out of the alternative. Normally we only rescue veal calves, but something about this one felt so . . . sad . . . I had a vision of a very tiny calf with tears in his eyes. . .

I called the daughter and said I would be happy to take the calf and the mama. I was hesitant to take the bull as even the mild-mannered ones can be a handful. She responded that only the baby was available. She had cried long and hard over her decision, but the parents would go together. Nothing would change her mind.

We went to pick up baby Mikey that weekend. When we arrived at the farm I scanned the paddock and didn’t see anything as tiny as what I had envisioned, and it turned out they had brought him into a stall to make it easier for us. He was so small I looked right over the top of him. His mama stood at the gate watching. She knew. Mikey’s head hung down into the shavings on the floor. He knew. Everyone knew the entire story, everyone was sad to their very core, including all the people involved. We loaded Mikey into the trailer and he and his mama exchanged a few sad bellows . . . and we drove away.

I want to say that Mikey is happy, happy, happy every day and is best friends with his paddock-mate Holstein Benny Coconut and the sheep. And he is best friends with his buddies. But here’s the thing. He never, ever recovered from losing his mama. And he never will. There is a sadness about him that everyone can sense, and his buddies, who can play pretty rough out there, are careful with him . . . always so careful.

And one other thing . . . Mikey never, ever grew. It’s been years since he arrived, and despite getting as much food as everyone else, despite a clean bill of health from the veterinarian, he is the exact same size he was the day he arrived at around 6-months old. The vet said maybe he was a throwback to a early generation of small Herefords but I don’t believe it.

As an animal communicator, I am privy to so many secrets . . . some that I will tell, and some that I will keep to my dying day. I have never told Mikey’s secret before, but here it is now. That day we loaded him into the trailer and he called out his last farewell to his mama whom he loved so much  . . . that day he decided he would always be exactly the same as he was then . . . he would never change, he would always be baby Mikey. That way, if ever he should find his mama again, she would always recognize him because he would look exactly as he did at the moment they said goodbye. Even if it only happens as he crosses the Rainbow Bridge to meet her, as is the case, she will be able to spot her boy before he even begins to scamper towards her.

Go ahead. Tell me I’m insane. I don’t care at all. I live the exact life I have chosen, and because of it I am so privileged, so blessed, to know so much about the animals with whom we share this planet. I know that our tiny Mikey is melancholy. But he is here. And he understands love as well as anyone I have ever met. He is grateful and kind, and he knows he is a lucky little steer.

And for Mikey, that will just have to do.

Kathleen Schurman is the owner of Locket's Meadow farm animal rescue and sanctuary. they are currently raising funds to continue their work through Gofundme.com.

 

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