Luna has one of the most heartbreaking stories of our residents. She is such a beautiful soul it is terrible to think of what she endured.
We heard about Luna in August of 2018… a 12 year old, blind cow who was no longer producing enough milk to be worthwhile to the dairy she had spent her whole life at. Born blind, she was kept indoors chained to a stanchion – she was able to stand up and lay down only. She had over 10 babies at this farm – each one taken away “As soon as they hit the floor” – those are the dairy owners words. After 9 months carrying her baby – she had mere minutes with it. I cannot imagine her despair as her baby was taken away and she couldn’t even see what was happening.
So now, 12 years and 10 babies later – she was considered a burden. She didn’t make enough milk to cover her feed and make money. So, she was going to be sent to the slaughter house for ground beef. Being blind, she would have had to go directly to the facility (No auction) and be put into the direct kill line. There are expenses associated with this – not to mention shipping alone. We were able to offer to cover her transport cost – but to us instead of the slauger house. At her age – she wouldn’t have been worth the transport and slaughter costs – her body would have been ground up and used in cheap processed foods or dog food.
The day we heard about her, she came here. She was supposed to be dead that evening. We waited anxiously all day – we had seen no pictures and had very limited information about her. The truck pulled up and we held our breath…I had run out to the feed store to buy a halter for her so we could get her to her makeshift stall.
We opened the back of the truck and we did not see a cow… we saw a terrified, tiny baby calf. This was Zoey, she was less than 24 hours old and the farmer did not want to deal with bottle feeding her and then trying to sell her so he put her on the truck with Luna. Barely able to stand and running a horrible fever – we knew she was unwell. We had the vet out and she already had pneumonia – the vet gave a poor prognosis based on her age and warned us that the it was very possible she would die during the week. She didn’t – we did all we could for her and it payed off.
Once we got Zoey safely into the barn – we started the task of getting Luna to her stall. She had never worn a halter, been on grass, or walked before she was loaded onto the truck that day. We managed to get her off of the truck and we stood in shock looking at her eyes. we knew she was blind but we did not know she had a condition that made her blind. Her eyes looked fake and they were bulging out more than normal because she was terrified.
The 150 foot walk to her stall was horrible – her back legs were giving out because her muscled had atrophied from 12 years of never being used. It took us nearly 30 minutes but we managed. She even sampled some grass for the first time in her life.
The following days were hard – dealing with Zoeys illness and with a 1500 lb cow who was terrified of us and cowered in the corner of her stall. It however, took her less than one week to know our voices and our smell. She learned we were her friends, her family, and we would never hurt her. Once Zoey was doing better – we introduced them. Luna was so confused … she sniffed the little one and then started licking her. For the first time in 12 years she was able to dote on a baby – it was not her baby but that didn’t matter to either of them. Calvin – our other rescue calf who had been with us a month already was welcomed to the little family with plenty of kisses and nuzzles.
After having Travis Strong, an opthomoligist, assess Luna’s eyes – we decided the best treatment for her was bilateral enucleation (Surgical removal of both eyes). They were chronically dry and itchy. She would rub them on anything she could and we were worried she would ulcerated or puncture them. What we didn’t realize, was how difficult it would be to get her the treatment she needed and deserved.
Our opthomolgist did all he could in terms of filling out a referral and speaking directly to the staff at OVC – one of the most well known large animal facilities in the area. They however declined her treatment – using different excuses each time. Sadly cows are not seen the way people see dogs, cats and horses who routinely have this procedure done. We were beyond disheartened to basically be told no. We did pre op bloodwork and were happy to pay whatever the surgery may be. Ultimately Travis and Sarah (A sanctuary vet) Offered to preform the procedure here. In hindsight – it was the best option. She did not have to be trailered which is extremely stressful to a blind animal – and she was able to stay with her new family which she had grown dependant on.
Luna had the procedure done and was instantly happier. As soon as she was done surgery she started munching her hay like nothing had happened. She wore a protective eye mask for 3 weeks while the incision healed. We checked her incision twice daily to be sure she didn’t have any infection or swelling. She had no complications at all and we couldn’t have been happier with the level of care and respect the vets showed her. They even did the surgery for the cost of drugs alone and donated their time – they are life savers!
Luna continues to improve daily – she loves being groomed and will fall asleep with her nose to the ground. She get stronger every day and come spring she will move out to a 2 acre pasture with the babies. We have fenced 2 acres for them but now have the task of leveling old tractor furrows and digging out trash piles the old property owner buried. Lastly , we need to get a structure out there for them so they can 3 season out there. We will be raising funds for it shortly as the fencing used the entirety of the gofundme we had run and then some. (Fencing was 6,600).
Every day Luna impresses us with her zest for life and how much love she has to give. Any human who went through what she did, would be a mess, and rightfully so. Luna has left that behind and is completely embracing the life she lives now – surrounded by love and with a family of her own. Everyone who meets her is likely to get some big rough kisses and a nuzzle – she is an angel.