Over the years there have been the many beloved family pets who have trotted here and there at our farm, playing fetch (Jenny, a retriever-terrier mix), herding children and the other dogs (Bridget, a border collie), and otherwise adding to the farm’s ambiance (Kirby, a big, friendly border collie mix that we swore was part wolf). But every once in a while, an unexpectedly special animal graces our barnyard. Like Pudgie the wild duckling who appeared at the door and took swims in the mudroom sink. Squeak the barn cat who supplied many families with amazing housecats. And of course, Evy the Holstein who is the namesake for our jack cheese.
Right now, another young cow is standing out in the crowd. Her all white color earned her the name Pearl, as given to her by Jeff, one of my nephews. When you walk by her free stall (a long section of a cow barn with separate feeding, watering, resting and roaming areas so the cows may move about freely) she’s nearly always standing by the gate, looking at you. If she doesn’t hear you coming first, call her name and she immediately comes forward, pushing aside other heifers if necessary.
I was out roaming the barnyard recently, snapping some photos, and had stopped by our frog/fire pond to catch some shots of the ducks, ducklings and frogs. After spending about 20 minutes trying to sneak up on some bullfrogs (which is harder than you might think!), I turned to walk back to the barns. This sight caught my eye.
Notice Pearl is in the middle of the group of ladies, sticking her neck out the furthest – and always looking right at me. Now, cows are pretty curious, but even more easily spooked or quickly disinterested. Pearl stays focused, intent on what you’re doing, perhaps even who you are.
So what could Pearl’s bit of wisdom for us be? Many things, I guess. Like taking an interest in those around you, or simply being happy to see kind souls who walk by your spot in life. Or maybe even nothing, if you want to spoil all the fun. Either way, if you doubted the intelligence and sentimentality of animals beforehand, Pearl may just change your mind.