Cows as Animals Assisted Therapy co-workers: We have such a strong bond with our beautiful miniature cattle that it has made us determined to find new ways of allowing them to lead longer, happier lives than your average cow. Preparing them to be pets for people on small acreage has worked well. Training our miniature cattle as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) co-workers is also proving successful. We now have two new roles for our miniatures that don't involve any of them being mistreated, leading short lives or ending up as meat.
Dimity was our first AAT co-worker, and she loves being brushed. She is about 30 minutes from calving here. That is her calf Dixie from the year before keeping her company.
Our Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) training is now in full swing. Late in 2012, we started preparing our smaller Galloway Influenced cattle to work with therapists wanting AAT co-workers. Now our full blood Miniature White Galloway cattle are proving they can do this too. We are calling our Miniature White Galloways that are AAT trained 'Cuddle Cows'.
The little bull calf being kissed in the paddock here has now sired some of our most docile calves.
Our new Cuddle Cow website introduces this aspect of these cattle to kids and the young at heart. Our adoption program and mascot purchases support this training and the publishing of anti-bullying material online. Follow our Cuddle Cows on
Not all people in wheelchairs can enjoy the freedom of riding horses, but they can certainly enjoy bonding with our miniature cattle. It was fascinating to watch the interaction when we introduced our cows to another new concept - a young man on wheels.
Rodney has been in a wheelchair since he was old enough to walk. Now twenty years old, Rodney has grown into a determined young man with an attitude of 'Disability - what disability?!' So, when he visited, we started Rodney off by encouraging him to say hello to little TwoDee. TwoDee only came half way up Rod's shoulder, so he didn't feel at all intimidated by the little heifer. (I was so focussed on watching the interaction I forgot to take a photo).
Rod is saying hello to a cow, up close and personal, for the first time. The wheelchair does not faze Dusty.
When Rodney and TwoDee were 100% comfortable with each other, we gradually introduced TwoDee's Mum, Dusty. A full grown miniature cow, Dusty measures less than 120cm at the hip. However, weighing in at around 400kg, that is a lot of weight to be thrown around if something goes wrong. Rodney was acutely aware of this at first. As he spent more and more time with Dusty Rod became more engrossed in what he was doing and totally oblivious to their differences. It was soon apparent that as much as Rodney was a 'Disability what disability?' kind of guy, Dusty was a' Wheelchair what wheelchair?' kind of girl.
When we progressed to TwoDee's Mum, Rod wasn't quite so convinced. However, it only took a little while for him to be reassured that all was well. Five minutes later they were firm friends. Intuitively Dusty seemed to understand that she shouldn't lean too close to Rodney or the wheelchair. When we brush Dusty, she will lean right into us, but she didn't do this to Rodney.
Rodney gives Dusty a very tentative brush. He has never been in a paddock full of cows before.
Dusty is letting Rodney know that she likes his brushing technique and that she's cool with his wheels.
Rodney is looking pretty pleased with the new friendship. Dusty is very relaxed and enjoying the company.