A newborn calf is one of the cutest animals I have ever seen. With big curly lashes, pink noses, and velvety fur so soft, I wish I could hug on them all day. But you have to be careful when you’re around them. Their momma’s are not as docile as they appear.
It was my first spring on the farm after marrying my husband. I was eager to get my first look at the calves that had been born, but my husband and his brothers were off fixing something on the farm. They always are. I figured since the bulls were not in the same pasture as the cows right now, because the cows were having their babies, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I’d just go and have a look at these calves by myself.
The dog, still tied up in the yard, whimpered to come along too. “Hey,” I thought. “If I take the dog for a walk too, that’s one less chore the boys have to do when they get back.” So I untied the dog and off we went.
Hopping over the fence, I noticed my father-in-law on the tractor in the next field over. He waved to me, so I waved back—not wanting to appear rude. As my companion and I neared the cows and calves, one of the cows turned and charged toward us. There I was, a frozen matador without a cape, and a dog cowering on the ground between my legs. Lucky for me, my father-in-law, had jumped from his tractor when he saw me cross the field. He reached me before the cow could, and scared her off by shouting and waving his hands. And the dog ran for home.
“Go, get on the tractor,” he said still facing the other snorting mothers. Guys, most cows are almost as tall as I am. I didn’t have to be told twice. Once he calmed the herd down, he joined me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just wanted to see the calves.”
“That’s fine. Just don’t bring a dog with you next time. That’s why she charged, she was protecting her calf from him. And he hides behind you hoping you’ll save him from her. That’s why we keep him tied up most of the time during this season.”
Sitting there, I learned three things. When my father-in-law waves, what he really means is come here, not hello. Dogs, for all their uses on the farm, turn into chickens when you need ‘em most. (To this day, I think the “little stinker” set-me-up so I’d look like an idiot in front of my father-in-law.) And mommas, no matter what their species, will kick your butt if they think you’re going to hurt their kid.