Sadie was a part of my daily life for 6 months before she went back to the farm where she was born. The farm where she had stayed with me decided they didn’t want cows on their property and I couldn’t find any farms nearby that were suitable to board her, so she had to leave. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, openly wept, when we loaded Sadie and Honey into the trailer to leave. I spent about 20 minutes every single morning sitting on a stool with my knees tucked under Sadie’s massive belly, hands on her teats, forehead resting against her warm flank. When she first arrived at the farm, she would run away if we touched her. Here’s a clip of my 4 year old son holding out a big handful of lush grass for Sadie- she snatches it and then jumps away quickly.
Slowly, over time, she became less skittish. Eventually, she grew to enjoy being brushed every morning from nose to tail before we milked her. She would even look for the slice of organic apple she knew was in my coat pocket for her. She was not much of a morning cow. She really liked to sleep in and as the sun rose later in the morning, I really had to encourage her to go into the barn. Sometimes I would take advantage of her sleepiness to rub her face and hold her horns until I’d annoyed her into getting up.
It has now been 6 months since she left me. When I arrived to help milk this week (I drive just under 2 hours each way once a week to help milk all my mentors cows and see Honey and Sadie) he had just finished milking Sadie and shooed her from the barn. Sadie walked all the way around the barn, pushed through the crowd of un-milked cows, poked her head in the doorway and watched me. When I was done milking an hour later, I went out to see if Sadie would let me touch her. She did. She stood stock still as I scratched around her nubby horns, brushed her sides and itched the bottom of her neck. As I stepped back to admire her – fat and sleek from all the lush spring grass – she disappeared back into the herd. Yep, I’m pretty sure she remembers me. (smiling through tears of happiness)