Tag Archives: rescue animal

Chatting with a Cow Named Gail

I volunteer at a local farm animal rescue called, Maple Farm.  It’s about an hour away from our place and is located in Mendon, Massachusetts.  When I tell people what I do, half think I’m nuts and half are in awe.

Animals are the most compassionate, forgiving, non-judgmental and loving beings alive.  Yes, they definitely have their good days and bad days but after a week of sitting in an office, nothing makes me happier than hanging out with a bunch of goats, pigs, feathered friends, sheep, cows and llamas.  It’s therapy.

My homies are happy to see me and search me out for pats and snuggles.  We chat about how their week went and what they did while I was away.  A big topic is always the weather, especially now that we’re heading into the cooler temps – those with fur coats are no doubt greatly relieved.  And I’m constantly having to tell them, “No, I don’t have any snacks for you….”  Although they can still clearly smell the apples, berries and melons on my hands I just cut up in the prep room.

A Saturday routine consists of a variety of activities:

  • Cutting up fruits & veggies for 11 goat trays & 2 pig buckets
  • Sweeping out the main barn before the tour begins
  • Giving out pats and snuggles
  • Refreshing water buckets
  • Cleaning out Boo-Boo, the young cow’s stall
  • Rotating the veggie & fruit boxes in the walk in fridge
  • Taking selfies with the goats
  • Composting
  • Breaking down boxes
  • A few more selfies and time out for pats and scratches behind the ears
  • Scooping up the llama poop out in the field
  • Talking with Gwen the turkey, who supervises the water bucket refills
  • Cleaning out Pom-Pom, the duck’s area if there’s time
  • More sweeping before the tour…don’t you guys know I just did this?
  • Cleaning out the duck pools
  • More snuggles and pats

Over time, simply from going to the farm, bonds develop with the animals and no matter how busy the day becomes, there is always time to take a break and sit with your extra special friends.  On my very first day of volunteering (photo above) I met Gail, an elderly cow, who is kept in a barn down the way with her friend Emily… a goat.

I always make sure to stop in and check on my little buddies.  (Little being a relative term, as Gail probably weighs in close to 1,000 pounds.) I check their water.  Fluff their hay.  Take out any “piles” that may need to be removed.  It’s the least I can do for my  friends.  I want to make sure they know, while they aren’t in the main barn, they’re not forgotten.  Every time I go, I spend time talking with each of them.

Emily, the goat, is very shy.  However , on my last two visits she’s come up to sniff my hand all over.  Today was no exception.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  We’re definitely making progress. She is so curious.  I just know she wants to be pat, she just doesn’t know how.  We’ll get there.  It may take us a year.  Someday, we shall pat.

Today, Gail was laying down and chewing her cud.  I sat down next to her, with my legs crossed.  (Yes, I sat right down in the hay. Some people would be horrified at this – seriously.  It’s not like I was sitting in a pile of poop, people. )  While I sat next to Gail we chatted about her week and how she had been since I saw her last.  She had a little respiratory infection previously.  All the while I was stroking her neck and cheek.  Without warning, she turned her head and leaned her head right into my chest and put her head on my lap.  Her big brown left eye looking up at me.


I just did 27 summersaults in my heart!

And that quick she picked her head up again.

I think I just got a cow hug!

I commented as calmly as possible to my better half Eric, who was on the other side of the barn door, “GAIL JUST PUT HER HEAD IN MY LAP!”

My chat continued with Gail and we talked about the weather and how it was cooling off and going to be a nice week ahead for her.  Much better than the previous few weeks and  I thought she would find fall a lot nicer.  With that, she again leaned over and put her head back into my lap.

Holy guacamole!  I just got another cow snuggle from Gail!

There are just some things in life that will send you over the moon.  For some, it might be riding in an exotic sports car, or having a fancy piece of jewelry or big house.  Maybe it’s finally owning a particular piece of artwork or learning to play the piano or getting reservations for a highly rated restaurant.  Who knows, it could be wearing a pair of designer shoes, going to a concert or solving a challenging scientific equation.

For me….it was sharing a moment with a 1,000 pound sentient being and having her trust me enough to put her head in my lap.  Not once, but twice.


Saving Mrs. Pickles – a Shar Pei Rescue

Our first meeting at the local shelter.

What a story.

We rescued Mrs. Pickles from the local shelter and her story is below.
If you feel a Random Act of Kindness coming on, please consider donating to her account at the Southeast Alaska Animal Medical Center.

8231 Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK 99801

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
– Milan Kundera

The Reason Behind Saving Mrs. Pickles…..the Fundraiser

We had fallen in love with Sadie at the Juneau Humane Society several weeks ago. She was found running in a field and her owners never came to pick her up from the pound. From the day we met her, we went every day to walk Sadie, as she was called. We were excited to add a new member to our family.

After being approved to adopt her, we took Sadie, who we had renamed to:

Mrs. Pickles, to our vet prior to signing the paperwork.

Dr. Taylor informed us because she’s a Shar Pei mix, she will require entropian eye surgery, which is quite common for the Shar Pei. The easiest way to explain the surgery is due to the eyelashes rolling into her eyes, the skin has to be removed. If you don’t do the surgery, the animal, in all likelihood, will go blind.

The good news was Mrs. Pickles only had some scaring on her cornea, which wouldn’t leave her blind. The bad news is the surgery costs $1200! Even worse, is if the surgery doesn’t work completely the first time, they may have to do it a second time!

We returned to the vet and sadly told them we couldn’t afford to take on a dog with such health issues. That night we went home and drank a GIANT bottle of wine as we were both heartbroken we couldn’t bring her home.

For days tears flowed. I was worried the next adoptive family wouldn’t get her eyes fixed and that was so important! We heard another family was interested in Mrs. Pickles and then we learned they declined adopting her due to the medical expense.

The next day I went back to the pound and started walking Mrs. Pickles every day. Her situation wasn’t her fault, so why shouldn’t she get out for a walk each day?

After a few days we agreed something had to be done.

We contacted the pound and told them we’d like to adopt Mrs. Pickles. Our plan was to hold a dog walk fundraiser for her, with Mrs. Pickles passing out doggie bandannas to all her furry friends who attended.

However after bringing Mrs. Pickles home, we realized her eyes were bothering her more than we thought. They’re squinty and watering not to mention painful as she paws at them or rubs them on the floor. Sooner, rather than later, is our theory on the surgery.

Mrs. Pickles is scheduled for surgery this Thursday, April 28th. Dropping off at the medical center at 6:30AM.

We have set up an account for Mrs. Pickles at our vet’s office.

If you would like to donate to the Save Mrs. Pickles fund, please contact the Southeast Alaska Medical Center at 907.789.7551 or 8231 Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK 99801

Thank you for your consideration of a Random Act of Kindness, it is greatly appreciated!

~Donna, Eric, FeeBee, Liggy and Mrs. Pickles