A 4-month old cow named Bonnie hardly left her mother’s side. Life was perfect in the herd. The calf was born in upstate New York, but when the owner of the herd died, Bonnie’s life changed. Like so many millions of other cows, Bonnie and her mother were slated to be sold and separated. It was looking to be a sad day for this baby cow. One day, last summer, as the herd was being loaded up, Bonnie took a chance and made a run for it. She disappeared into the nearby woods, hoping to find a new–and happier–life.
Residents find local cow escapee something of a myth.
As time passed, and the weather turned cold, no one was able to capture the calf. Thankfully, they knew where she was. Eyewitnesses spotted Bonnie walking through their property, while others were photographs shot on wildlife cameras.
People of Holland, New York have had very different opinions of what should be done with the fugitive cow.
“Venturing out of the safety of the forest only for occasional sightings, Bonnie quickly became a local celebrity, dividing the Holland community into two groups: those who were ‘Team Bonnie’ and rooted for her to survive, and those who were determined to shoot and eat her,” Meredith Turner-Smith, media relations specialist for Farm Sanctuary, told The Dodo.
‘Babe in the Woods’ Remained Hidden
Though both groups searched for Bonnie, no one seemed to be able to find this “mythical” bovine. However, hunters were able to pick her up on game cameras, and what they saw truly amazed them!
She may have lost her family, but Bonnie wasn’t alone in the woods.
Bonnie finally had a family again. The deer seemed to have accepted her as part of the herd.
“Since she had lost her first family (and cattle are herd animals), the deer helped Bonnie survive and accepted her as their own — eating, sleeping and running together!” Turner-Smith said. “Like a deer, this ‘bovine Bambi’ would disappear into the forest whenever people appeared.”
People who have been following Bonnie’s story knew she couldn’t stay out in the harsh conditions: snow, cold temperatures, etc. She couldn’t stay with her new herd if she wanted to grow up strong and healthy. Luckily, Bonnie was being looked out for.
A neighbor named Becky decided to help Bonnie survive the winter.
“A kind neighbor knew the woods were no place for a cow and helped her survive the winter by trekking through the snow each day, bringing food, water, and fresh bedding to her on a sled,” Turner-Smith said. “And after slowly winning Bonnie’s trust, she called Farm Sanctuary for help.”
Over the course of two weeks, it would take three attempts to capture Bonnie and bring her to the Farm Sanctuary.
“Since it was too risky to try catching her in the woods, we built a corral around her eating space, patiently waiting to close her in,” Turner-Smith said. “Bonnie was very wary of our presence, however; she only let Becky touch her, and would run away if anyone else got too close.”
Finally, with the help of a sedative and some food, they were able to safely capture Bonnie. After what happened with her family it’s understandable that she would be mistrustful of humans. When she woke up on Farm Sanctuary, safe and warm, it must have been clear this was the best move for Bonnie. Even though she had to leave her deer family behind, she quickly began making friends with the animals of the Sanctuary.
New Friends at Farm Sanctuary
Bonnie’s journey home was a community effort and one that paid off. Without the help of Becky and the Holland community, Bonnie would not grow up strong today. “Bonnie beat the odds,” Turner-Smith wrote. “Here, our resilient new friend will spend her life in peace, surrounded by caring humans and a loving herd of her fellow rescued cattle.”
Check out Bonnie’s new home and the friends she’s made.
Featured Image via screen capture from the website The Dodo