Written by Michelle, Founder of Happily Heifer After Sanctuary
On my very first rescue over 4 years ago, I was helping a friend rescue 50 unwanted calves from a dairy farm that had shut down. When we arrived we saw a pen full of calves, separated from their Mothers by a fence. The Mothers were calling, crying, pacing, doing anything and everything to get to their babies. One cow and calf caught my eye in particular, they looked identical to each other and had an incredibly strong bond. The cow was frantic to get to her baby, crying out desperately. Her calf was a little older than the others, and completely terrified of the farmer.
I knew I owed it to them to fight for them to stay together, but after a long heated discussion with the farmer, it was made very clear that he was not willing to surrender or even sell the mother to us. She "owed" him money, and he said she needed to pay out her debts ... at the abattoir. She was being sent to her death in a few days.
Coming to terms with not being able to save her life and accepting there was nothing more I could do for her, was heart breaking. She stood in front of me, looked me in the eyes and in that moment, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
I walked up to her calmly and introduced myself.
I told her "I am so sorry for what you have been through, I am so sorry for what you are about to go through, and even though I cannot change or stop it from happening there is one thing I can do for you..." she stood there staring directly into my eyes, as if she was truly listening. As I looked back into her eyes, I could see that someone was looking at me. In-between tears I started to speak to her again.
"I promise you. Right here, right now, that although I cannot save you, I will save your son. And I will give him the life that you would want for him. A life full of kindness, compassion, and love. A life that all cows would dream of. Your boy will never have to worry about clean water, fresh food, or a safe home. I will tell your story. I will educate as many people as I can about what you and billions of dairy cows go through.. and how humans are unknowingly paying for it to happen. I promise you, I will do everything in my power to create change in your honour."
As I stopped speaking, she exhaled sharply. As if she was saying “Thank you”.
From that moment on, I knew that Blue, the calf, would be with me until his very last breathe.
Little did I know it would be much sooner than expected.
Baby Blue and Michelle
Blue has lived his absolute best life for the past four years, but unfortunately due to Blue's pale skin tone he is susceptible to cancers from UV exposure.
Despite our best preventative efforts with UV masks and zinc suncream, Blue was diagnosed with not 1 but 2 types of Cancer on March 14, 2023. In his right eye he had developed Ocular melanoma, and in his left eye Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). After research, and long discussions with our team of vets, we decided on a plan for Blue's care.
The reality of Blue developing not 1 but 2 types of cancer, means that if it has not already it is likely to metastasise throughout his body. If we were to try and eradicate both cancers, we would need to remove both of Blue's eyes. Leaving him blind, and confused. Due to the fast growing nature of these cancers, without treatment he would likely have 3-6 months to live.
We decided to remove Blue's right eye, because it was causing him a great deal of pain and discomfort. His left eye would remain giving him the comfort of vision for the months he has left. The SCC on the left eye is a fast growing cancer, so we do not know how much time Blue has with us BUT we do know that he will live everyday to the fullest!
Blue's Bucket List
We have started a bucket list for Blue. All the things that he would love to do in his life, and the things his mother would have wanted for him. So far he has crossed off eating a whole bag of potato chips!
Our hearts are broken knowing Blue's life is being cut so short, but full knowing the joy he has experienced and the time he has with us has been magical. Blue has lived the life of a cows wildest dreams, and will continue to do so until he takes his last breathe.
If you would like to contribute to Blue's Bucket List and help cover the costs of his medical treatment and treats we would be very grateful