Friday, September 24, 2010
Day 1182's random story
Wes and I have a modern relationship. What I mean is, we do a lot of communicating via e-mail and text messages. It's kind of lame, but necessary. He always sends me links to things he thinks I will like, and this morning, it was two stories about unusual animal pairings (here and here). I was highly entertained, but also nostalgic because they reminded me of a childhood pet: Our cow named Rooster who thought he was a dog.
Yes, you read that correctly. You may know that I consider my childhood home to be a small farm in southern Tennessee, but did you know that my dad was a country veternarian (think James Harriot)? One day a local farmer appeared at his clinic with an hours-old calf that had broken his leg during or shortly after birth. His mother and twin calf joined the herd but he, of course, couldn't keep up. His leg needed to be fixed and he would have to be bottle-fed, and this farmer didn't have the time or means to do either. My mother -- who has a soft spot for all things small or helpless -- happened to be there that afternoon and volunteered to take him. So, my dad did orthepedic surgery on his leg and we brought him home.
Have I mentioned that we didn't have any other cows? Rooster (who is named after John Wayne's character in True Grit, Rooster Cogburn, and not a bird) spent the beginning of his life in our horse barn, where his constant companions were our dogs, particularly an Australian Shepherd named Nick and a little terrier mutt we called Little Orphan Annie (another of mom's rescues). The dogs licked him clean after his bottles and spent the nights with him, and to this day, we're all pretty sure that Rooster thought he was a dog.
After he was healed and big enough to go out into the pastures, he could always be called to the fence for some affection (he liked to be scratched behind his ears) and would follow us back and forth if we walked through the pasture to get to the pond or the cabin my dad built on the property. He eventually became somewhat of an escape artist, preferring to spend his days lounging with the dogs under the pecan trees next to the house than with our horses, none of whom ever gave him the time of day. Well-meaning passers-by often stopped to let us know that our cow was out, but he was stubborn, and not even bribes of feed and treats could get him back through the gate unless he wanted to go.
The picture above is not Rooster (it's from domino, actually), but I do have a similar mental picture of Rooster standing in our front doorway as my younger sister -- curious about whether he would come in -- called him from inside. Ever the sensible first-born, I closed the door before he could make his move. We both already knew that he definitely would have come in if given the chance!
Rooster died of complications due to old age a couple of years ago (a fate not many Angus cows see), which was for the best since we no longer have the farm. I'm sure Rooster would have been quite happy to move to Birmingham with my mom and live in her suburban backyard with the dogs, but I doubt her new neighbors would have been so amused!