Brewen’s on the one step program. #Dachshund #BrewenNBronson #Dogsofinstagram #Dogs #Doxiesofinstagram #Doxie #Doxies #Dauchsies #Dachsies #Dachshundsofinstagram #minidachshund #Barkbox #Dog #Instadog #instadachshund #wienerdog #Wienerdogsofinstagram #Hotdog #Hotdogs #Hotdogsofinstagram #Wienerdogs #Smoothdachshund #petfancy #wienerschnitzel #Boss by brewen_n_bronson

Norman was a gentle giant with a big heart. He and his companion, Elly May, had lived at several sanctuaries before their arrival at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, where they lived out the rest of their lives. They were inseparable right up until Elly May’s death, which was three and a half years ago. A fellow volunteer, Jennifer (pictured with Norman), described that time:

‘When she died suddenly, we found Norman standing over her body. We had a burial, and he stayed at the site for days. He then removed himself from the herd and went into mourning, staying behind the carriage house, not eating for two weeks.’

Eventually, Norman rejoined the herd but arthritis slowly crept up on him and would have killed him slowly if renal failure hadn’t gotten to him first. Arthritis, a by-product of the genetic manipulation by humans to create cattle ever larger, is devastating to theHolstein cows. When people would visit the sanctuary and see Norman, they would inevitably exclaim 'I have never seen a cow so big!’ Of course they hadn’t. Who sees adult males born in the dairy industry outside of a sanctuary? Usually they are killed at birth or at a month old if they are raised to become 'veal.’ The same is true of the females. By the way, only a small percentage of female calves are kept alive for a few years to replace their mothers in the cycle of pregnancy and betrayal.

Norman died back in 2010. To those of us who knew him, it feels like the ending of an era. It is hard to imagine the sanctuary without him. I still look for him when I am there. He was a refugee from the dairy industry, a male Holstein whose life ended at 12 years old – 12 years longer than the dairy industry would have allowed him to live. He died of old age – old age for a male Holstein that is. The natural lifespan for most cattle is much longer.

Norman stood at about 6'3" or 6'4" at the shoulder. Though his massive size intimidated some, he was the most gentle of all the cattle…

It is knowing the various individuals at the sanctuary that makes it feel so personal when people eat animal products. It is Norman who is being killed for that glass of milk or stick of butter or cheese. It is as far from abstract as it is possible to get once you have a chance to know them, to have faces and stories and personalities to go along with the realities of what it means to be owned, to be property, to be considered a 'what’ instead of a 'who’ by this world they are stuck living in. Our choices matter. Our choices are, quite literally, life and death decisions.


Brewen and Bronson. Bestie “Step” Brothers. 😉 #Dachshund #BrewenNBronson #Dogsofinstagram #Dogs #Doxiesofinstagram #Doxie #Doxies #Dauchsies #Dachsies #Dachshundsofinstagram #minidachshund #Barkbox #Dog #Instadog #instadachshund #wienerdog #Wienerdogsofinstagram #Hotdog #Hotdogs #Hotdogsofinstagram #Wienerdogs #Smoothdachshund #petfancy #wienerschnitzel #Boss by brewen_n_bronson