runaway cow live with deer
Penelope Wilson
Penelope Wilson
March 4, 2020 ·  3 min read

Runaway Cow Lives With Deer in the Woods for a Whole Year – A Tale of True Love and Acceptance

Home is wherever you feel accepted, loved, and safe. It may not be the best or the most luxurious of places, but you love it all the same.

In 2017, Bonnie the cow was born on a beef farm in Holland, New York. When she was only four months old, and not far off from being sent to slaughter, the owner of the farm had passed away and the family had to sell off all the animals. 

Bonnie, young, intelligent and intuitive, sensed imminent danger as she was about to be loaded onto a trailer with the rest of her herd. She found a moment of distraction and ran away, deep into the woods where she found the most unlikely and unusual home – among a herd of deer roaming the forest.

 They didn’t have any particular place they called home. There weren’t any stalls or pens or certainty of food. They didn’t have protection from the harsh weather. All they had was each other, and the deer accepted Bonnie as a part of their family.

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She survived in the woods for a whole year

Bonnie’s story was told by Farm Sanctuary, America’s first shelter for rescued farm animals [1]. The non-profit organization, founded in 1986 “promotes laws and policies that support animal welfare, animal protection, and veganism through rescue, education, and advocacy.”

Bonnie thrived and found love in the company of the deer. Her entire family and herd of friends had probably been slaughtered, leaving her all alone in the world. She found comfort with her unusual new friends, moving with them for an entire year. She was photographed by hunters who were astonished at the sight of a young cow grazing with deer.

Soon, lots of people who lived nearby or toured the friendly woods became concerned about Bonnie’s safety. She couldn’t survive the harsh winters of New York out there, unprotected and exposed among wild animals who were naturally adapted. People tried to take her in but she was too skittish and untrusting, never letting anyone come too close.

Until Becky came along. Becky is the friendly woman who owns the part of the woods where Bonnie and her deer family roamed. She brought Bonnie food and fresh beddings every day through the harsh winter until the cow began to trust her. This was probably the reason why Bonnie was able to make it through the winter. Someone had been looking out for her and thinking of her welfare. 

They loved her, but she needed more

Soon after, Becky realized the woods wasn’t the best place for Bonnie. She got in touch with Farm Sanctuary’s New York branch and some volunteers came over to help Bonnie. As expected, the sweet pooch wouldn’t let anyone but Becky get too near, and the volunteers had to return two more times in the course of two weeks before she could warm up to them. They gently secured her in a trailer and she was taken away to the farm.

Bonnie ran away from her first home because one would assume she was afraid of being slaughtered. Fortunately, she’ll be spending the rest of her life on an awesome farm, surrounded by her kind and thriving in all the love she’ll ever need.

Farm Sanctuary made that happen. The non-profit has two farms in the United States – a 275-acre farm in Upstate New York and a 26-acre farm in Southern California.

According to their website: “We rescue, rehabilitate, and provide lifelong care for hundreds of animals who have been saved from stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. At our three shelters, rescued residents are given the care and love they need to recover from abuse and neglect. All of the animals enjoy nourishing food, clean barns, and green pastures each and every day.”

The organization is funded through donations, tours, overnight accommodations, conferences and retreats to promote animal right laws across the country. Click HERE to find out more about them.

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