Hope was a very lucky girl! It was as if every coincidence came together so I would learn about her. I accidentally met a woman on Facebook that wanted to attend a meeting held by a Facebook group Vegan Larissa, in a neighboring town. We met and she mentioned her landlord had many farm animals and, due to his age and their expenses, he couldn’t afford them anymore. He had already started to get rid of them one by one by slaughtering them for their meat. A week before, he slaughtered a pig and now it was a cow, Hope’s, turn. After her, he would sell or kill two deer. As soon as I heard about it I was very upset, and once I saw the cow “in person” I started thinking about what could be done in order to save the rest of the animals. Unfortunately, as far as Hope was concerned, I had only 3-4 days until her landlord would sell her for meat. Starting a Facebook page to raise money to buy her seemed far-fetched but I had nothing to lose. I thought I could keep her in our yard since the house we rent has a big holding around it – that was the reason we rent it. If everything went well I would look for a more appropriate place for her later.
I set up the Facebook page hoping that I would raise the money in time. The response was amazing! We managed to gather the whole amount in just four days. Everything happened so fast. I didn’t even have time to consider what I do after I bought Hope. For example, I didn’t have any experience with farm animals. It was the first time I saw a cow “in person.” I tried to gather information from the owners of shops that sold feed for farm animals, even from farmers. I learned some things about cows’ nutrition and habits. I bought her some hay, dried clover and special mash of ground corn, soy and other minerals and vitamins.
I never considered keeping Hope tied or confined. But in the next few days I found out that cows are lively creatures full of curiosity about everything. That meant a lot of damage… unfortunately. Hope ate all of our flowers, she “cleaned up” the vines and every olive tree branch she could reach. She chewed up and destroyed plastic fences, water hoses and tents. She even broke an outside water tap because she had learned how to open it with her tongue enjoying fresh running water. She chewed our antenna wire. And then there were the damages made by her rubbing her head everywhere since it seemed that she was trying to soothe the itching caused by her growing horns! (Finally she broke one of her horns) With such a big animal even simple things were complicated.
One of the great difficulties was everyday cleaning. Since she wasn’t confined to a certain place we found her “cakes” literally outside our door! Especially in front of our door since, like our dogs and cats, she spent most of her time where she could see us. She was always waiting for us either outside our front door or under our balcony. There were times things were rather terrible concerning the issue of hygiene!
Since it was winter – Hope came to stay with us at the end of November, 2017- we made a barn for her. The barn needed daily cleaning, too. Our daily routine was like this: we woke up at 6:30 to let her out of her barn, fed her, clean her place as well as our yard. We fed her again at noon and in the evening. When the sun set, we put her in the barn using carrots as treats. At first, she was going crazy over them!
This cohabitation required a lot of compromise. At first, I had to keep our dogs confined because they saw Hope as an intruder. Their barking scared her. Fortunately, they got used to her quickly. Then, though, I had to find ways to keep them away from her mash. I found out that the dogs loved it.