A cow with the nickname “the calf who lived” was rescued from the dairy industry and was raised as a puppy. She has brought her ‘human’ parent so much joy.
Ryan Phillips and his best friend, Jenna the cow, live on the edge of Williamsburg, Virginia. Cows are just “grass puppies” to Ryan.
Jenna and her twin brother were born in North Carolina on a dairy farm. Jenna was prepared for slaughter just days after her birth, as female Holstein calves with a twin sibling have a high likelihood of being sterile.
Fortunately, the dairy farmer’s daughter convinced her father to find shelter for the three-day-old calves rather than send them to be slaughtered.
An ad for the newborn calf Jenna that lived was only three hours away from Ryan’s home caught his attention. He drove to Durham, North Carolina, to bring Jenna, his first cow, home.
Jenna was named after the daughter of the dairy farmer who saved her life.
Ryan became Jenna’s parental figure because she never had the chance to meet her biological mother. Ryan gave her all the cuddles, scratches, and care a baby requires.
“From that moment forward, Jenna became my best buddy,” recalled Ryan according to Reader’s Digest. “I fed her three bottles a day for 6 months and slept with her in the barn many nights to make sure she never felt lonely.”
“Without her mother to pass her immunities through her milk, Jenna ended up being sick a lot in the first few months she was with me. I worried about her constantly as she lay sad and sickly with her head in my lap, with frequent vet visits to help her pull through,” said Ryan.
Jenna would follow him around the house from window to window until he walked outside to play with her. Jenna is a “1,000-pound puppy,” according to Ryan, and their favorite hobby is playing chase.
Jenna chased after Ryan from tree to tree, then they played a headbutt game to see who could move the other first. Ryan was always allowed to be the winner.
Jenna thinks of herself to be human because of the amount of time she and Ryan have spent together. Jenna even hid behind Ryan and reacted that she did not know what to do when another cow was saved to live with the family.
By chance, a lady named Mallory saw footage of Ryan and Jenna on his animal sanctuary website, Life With Pigs, a nonprofit devoted to caring for the animals at his farm.
Working together on a project to save a cow that had been mistreated on a farm enabled Ryan and Mallory to communicate all the time, eventually bringing them closer. They plan to be married this month, and Jenna is sure to be part of the ceremony.
Since Mallory drew Ryan’s attention away from Jenna, the calf grew envious of Mallory. However, Jenna is still a daddy’s girl though the two have formed a unique relationship.
At the Life With Pigs sanctuary, Ryan and Mallory presently own 23 animals: two cows, three pigs, three turkeys, eight chickens, a parrot, a bunny, two sheep, and three dogs.
“Jenna has all the qualities that we associate with dogs and especially that strong desire to be loved. She will let me hug her or she puts her head against my leg, and I’ll wrap my arms around her, which we will do for 20 minutes”, said Ryan.
“So much of my life has changed due to Jenna coming into my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Ryan. “She is truly my best friend and we couldn’t imagine life without each other. My goal is to give her the best happily-ever-after possible”, he went on to say.