Helen the bison came to the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio, Oregon when it became too expensive for her former owner to cater to her. There were other animals in her new home, but no one wanted to associate with the suspicious bison who kept to herself. Worse, she couldn’t even see anyone. Her blindness made her unable to trust and she was lonely, moving around the 6-acre field with a depressed gait for many years.
We all need someone to love and hold.
The director of the farmhouse, Gwen Jakubisin explains that Helen was super nervous around the goats and sheep and all efforts to pair her with a male bison proved abortive. She couldn’t trust anyone and none of the other animals bothered to try.
Until the young Oliver came along. Oliver is a young calf who was born at the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. His mother, Betsy the cow was rescued from an abusive dairy farm in 2016. In 2017, when Oliver was only four months old, the curious pooch developed a deep love for Helen and with time, she began to warm up to him. They’d graze together, share meals, and walk the fields for hours.
Oliver was such a great influence on Helen that her entire demeanor changed and she began to socialize with the other animals. He tore down her defenses and taught her to open up to people so she could be happy.
According to Jakubisin, Helen seems to have adopted the young calf and she cares for him like a nanny would a baby.
“I catch them grooming each other which is amazing because I don’t think Helen has ever had that opportunity to express that motherly instinct before. The change in her demeanor is incredible, her joy is palpable,” Jakubisin said to USA Today . “Betsy usually drops Oliver off at ‘daycare’ and roams around while Helen watches over him for the rest of day, and she’s cool with that.”
Best friends forever
The size difference is significant, but it doesn’t matter. They love and look out for each other and Helen finally has a reason to be happy .
Jakubisin says their connection might have a physical manifestation. Oliver’s fur has taken on Helen’s color instead of his mother’s. He used to be a sandy fawn-like his mom, but he now has a smoky brown like Helen’s.
“He’s actually turned into a baby buffalo,” Jakubisin said jokingly.
The lighthouse is a rescue and rehabilitation home for abused and neglected farm animals. They currently house over 250 animals including pigs, cows, horses, chickens, sheep, and goats.
According to their website, they are a group of volunteers whose mission is to “help shine a light on the realities of animal agriculture and lead the way to a more compassionate world.”
“At Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary we believe that every individual has the right to freedom,” they wrote on Facebook. “Freedom from pain, freedom from fear, and freedom from oppression. We provide those with the most heartbreaking stories hope and the promise of the freedom to be themselves. A promise of companionship, of love, and of care. “Our sanctuary is home to 250 non-human animals who have seen the very worst of humanity and every day they amaze us with their profound abilities to love and to be loved, even after the tragedies they have endured. Our goal is to share their stories with the community and bring about positive change in the way they are viewed by society.”
Image Credits: The Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary / Instagram
- Lauren Hernandez. Blind bison lived a lonely life until she met a calf to love. USA Today.https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/humankind/2017/06/15/blind-bison-lived-lonely-life-until-she-met-calf-love/102895108/. Retrieved 25-02-2020
- Denis Tymulis. Blind, Lonely And Ignored By All Other Animals, Helen, The Bison, Seemed Destined For Loneliness, But Then She Met Oliver. Bored Panda. https://www.boredpanda.com/best-friends-blind-bison-cow-lighthouse-farm-sanctuary/. Retrieved 25-02-2020
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