Fawn’s mother was confined and chained in a milking stall where she
couldn’t turn around or lie down. She was forced to give birth to Fawn
standing up. In the process, Fawn fell into the concrete manure pit
behind the row of cows. This tiny calf hit her face and front knee hard.
I can’t imagine how incredibly anxious and desperate this mother must
have been, unable to reach her newborn baby.
The farm’s manager discovered Fawn swollen and injured in the pit,
and decided to call a local woman named Jennifer who had expressed
interest in raising a “pet cow.” He told her that the calf probably
wouldn’t make it, but that Jennifer could have her.
kept Fawn inside the house, wrapped her in blankets, and bottle-fed
her. But because the veterinarian didn’t correctly diagnose and treat
Fawn’s fractured, infected knee, it didn’t fully heal. Despite
Jennifer’s love and attention over the next year, Fawn’s “good” front
leg could not support her increasing weight and unable to stand up properly, Fawn started hobbling around on her front knees.
At that point the vet told a heartbroken Jennifer that it was hopeless,
that Fawn would never walk again. He recommended having a neighbor come
to shoot the calf.
That’s when we met Fawn. Jennifer was desperate to
give her one more chance and reached out to Woodstock Sanctuary for
help. We soon learned first-hand how sweet and affectionate Fawn was and
understood why Jennifer loved her so much. We had the equipment and
resources to get Fawn to the experts at Cornell Veterinary Hospital, but
after watching her shuffle around on her knees, legs horribly twisted, we
fully expected the vets would tell us that the kindest thing to do
would be to euthanize her. The situation looked beyond hope.
“I think we can help her,” the vet told me. We couldn’t believe our ears! To restore her ability to walk, they would operate on both front
legs, not only repairing the damaged bone and knee but also the
shortened ligaments in her other leg. It wouldn’t be easy—her recovery
would be slow, and the cost would be substantial — but we knew that our supporters would help us save Fawn’s precious life. So we took a deep breath and said, “Okay, go for it.”
has now been four months, and many trips back and forth to Cornell, but
I am so happy to tell you that Fawn is on the road to recovery. She has
moved from plaster casts to soft braces, and receives daily physical
therapy. Throughout her ordeal, Fawn has remained incredibly friendly and affectionate. She just loves people and other animals, and has become her doctor and vet students’ all-time favorite patient!
Fawn’s life began in tragedy. But at Woodstock Sanctuary, she is now guaranteed a life of freedom and loving care. She
is living proof of how an individual farm animal, one who normally
would have ended up discarded and killed, can inspire so much love and
As you might imagine, Fawn’s veterinary bills have been tremendous.
As an animal with special needs, her ongoing care will be time-consuming
and costly—but her happiness is priceless.
She joins our family of hundreds of other rescued animals, all with
varying levels of need. Your support helps us meet those needs; it’s
what makes this work possible.
FEB 2015 UPDATE:
Fawn was cast for permanent braces and she’s doing very well with them. Thanks to Ronnie Graves of Veterinary Inclusive Prosthetics for all the hard work and expertise making these braces! As she grows and her needs change, we will need to revise them.
And this video will really give you a sense of how much support they are providing.