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PlayVideoFawnFawn’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.

cow-button copyThe 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.

Fawn the young cowJennifer 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.

IMG_6043“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.”

FawnAfter many trips back and forth to Cornell, Fawn recovered.  She moved from plaster casts to more permanent braces, and received daily physical therapy. Throughout her ordeal, Fawn remained incredibly friendly and affectionate. She just loves people and other animals, and became her doctor and vet students’ all-time favorite patient!

cow-button copyFawn’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 farmed animal, one who normally would have ended up discarded and killed, can inspire so much love and compassion.

As you might imagine, Fawn’s veterinary bills were tremendous. As an animal with special needs, her ongoing care is 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.

2016 UPDATE:

It has been two years and Fawn has come such a long way and only needs one smaller brace most of the time. 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.cow-button copy

This video from this winter of 2015 will really give you a sense of how much support her braces are providing.


Fawn has moved in with the smaller herd and has become very good friends with Maribeth and Johnny Boy.  She is one of our friendliest cows and has a bright pink brace to match her bright and bubbly personality!


2018 UPDATE:

Being fully committed to Fawn’s long-term health, Shelter Director Hervé reached out to Derrick Campana, an expert in animal prosthetics, to see if he could help Fawn’s right leg straighten out even further.

Fawn’s new prosthetic – the Ultraflex brace – uses state-of-the-art technology designed for use on humans and Campana is the only prosthetist licensed to use this technology on animals! Fawn’s brace costs $1,500 and she requires a new one every few months, but we know her health and happiness is worth it.