When a horse rescuer named Kelly first caught sight of Valentino, he was struggling down a stockyard aisle on his knees as workers goaded him with shaker paddles and wooden canes. He was only about a day old, one of many newborn calves brought to a livestock auction in Pennsylvania that day. These calves are “byproducts” of the dairy industry — an industry that must keep cows pregnant to keep them lactating. The male calves clearly cannot produce milk, and most cows are impregnated through artificial insemination; bulls are rarely kept on a farm. The majority are sold to be slaughtered for veal or raised for beef. If you have ever driven by a feedlot, you can see that more and more Holsteins are being fattened up there than ever before.
Small and hobbled by leg deformities, Valentino was considered an unmarketable “defective” and would likely have been left to a slow death. The livestock auctions are full of meat buyers who are looking for the animals that will require the least amount work and reach the highest body weights.
Valentino’s disability became his salvation. Since he was in such bad shape, he was unwanted — and so now Kelly had a calf. She brought him back to her farm to receive care and veterinary attention. Though splints and physical therapy were recommended for Valentino’s front legs, the vets had never before seen the type of deformities present in his front and hind legs. They didn’t know how to address the condition, and so the option to euthanize was now on the table. Despite his health problems, however, Valentino was a happy calf. Seeking further help for him, Kelly reached out to Farm Sanctuary.
Guys, my mum volunteers for this dog rescue and they currently have a dog in that desperately needs some donations!
“Dallas was rescued by Hounds in Pounds form a high kill shelter. He has neurological problems after being hit on the head by someone. He also has been diagnosed with Parvo. His vet bill is currently standing at $1300. No donation is too small… every dollar will help us to help him.”
Little Harper was the first goat I saw when I went to the Hudson Valley property. She appeared to be looking desperately for her mother, who was likely among the many dead animals we discovered there. She was tiny and looking for milk, and desperate to be taken care of. She was really very smart and followed us around until we finally figured out that she had something really wrong with her. She was the first goat driven to Cornell, where doctors found she was not only covered in diarrhea and emaciated, but also suffering from bronchitis, pruritis, anemia, a heavy load of internal parasites, and a nasty infestation of biting and sucking lice. The entire ride from the farm to the hospital — which was over 4 hours — this tiny little being was grinding her teeth in pain, shivering, and sneezing out horrible-smelling nasal discharge. She knew she needed help and once she was in the car, she collapsed and was notably ill. Harper remained at Cornell for nearly two weeks, too weak to return to the shelter.
When she arrived back at the sanctuary we attempted to put her, along with her other sickly buddies, with the main group. Once again, Harper was having none of it and ran to everyone who came in — crying. We realized she was just too small and not quite strong enough, so we moved her into the Melrose Small Animal Hospital, along with her best pals Dana and Hope.
She is one of the smallest goats we have ever had, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in supersonic personality. She knows how to get what she wants
— which is, first and foremost, attention. More than food she wants to be noticed, and often because of her size that means she goes under her goat friends to see caregivers as they enter.
She is the goat sleeping in my lap during the taping of our Hudson Valley video where we described the rescue. And she is still a lap goat. She loves to fall asleep in your lap, and when she first arrived she did so while suckling on the corner of your shirt or a string on a sweatshirt.
She still struggles with chronic coughing, but there is no sign of infection or pneumonia. She will never be able to move in with a larger herd. First of all, she is very tiny
— and we could easily lose track of her. But most importantly
— no one puts this baby in a corner.
And her next adventure is a move to the shore! Oh yeah
— Jersey!!! She and her goat peeps will be there soon and you will be seeing even more of Harper and crew!
Twin Girls for Aretha: Min and Lulu finally arrive
After much anticipation, multiple ultrasounds, and just a little bit of (extra) R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Aretha goat finally had her babies. We had been concerned for
weeks, because (a) she is a pygmy and smaller in frame and (b) we
had rescued along with her so many large and unaltered males. We did not
know what to expect with the birthing process and we did not wish to risk
losing Aretha or her babies. That meant very closely monitoring her
condition. And when her udders began to fill up with milk (a sign she would soon
go into labor), we sent her off to Cornell University Veterinary Hospital with
friend Panza in tow (no one wants to go to the hospital without a friend).
A retired bricklayer’s act of kindness four years ago has won him a penguin friend for life.
When João Pereira de Souza found an oil-soaked bird on the beach near his southeast Brazilian home in 2011, he cleaned off the penguin, fed him some sardines, and when it was strong enough, took the bird to the beach, expecting it to swim away.
But the black and white Magellanic penguin, now known as Jingjing, refused to leave.
This is Archie (also known as Sir Archibald), one of more than 170 animals we and fellow rescuers saved from a backyard butcher in the Hudson Valley.
Due to his size and weight, we initially took Archie to be a young goat, but his horns and teeth tell a different story: He is definitely an older male and was likely used for breeding purposes at the farm, whose proprietor was clearly raising goat kids for meat. Like several of the other goats, Archie collapsed during the rescue operation due to his ill health. He was taken straight to Cornell, where he stayed for a week, unable to use his back legs. Diagnostics, including a spinal tap, determined that he had p. tenuis, and he was started immediately on treatment.
Although he is still about 30 pounds underweight and still has a touch of rear leg ataxia (drags his hind end a bit) he is in great spirits, in no pain and is very, very active. He is also very close to Tatiana, another beautiful girl from the rescue, and just moved in with Chucky and Benedict, two other special-needs goats who will likely spend the winter in our Melrose hospital. This group still has a long way to go before they are fully recovered, but we are happy to be with them every step of the way!
This dapper gentleman is finally safe and secure at sanctuary. He and his fellow goats went through a lot, including seeing the deaths of many of their family members. And even through all that, Archie has learned to love his human animals and loves nothing more than to press his head softly on yours or nibble the tip of your nose.
When he first arrived there was talk of calling him “the Donald,” but I think he is more of an Anderson Cooper or even George Clooney in goat form. You decide.