A dairy cow born infertile and unable to produce milk, Jenna was saved at three days old by Life With Pigs, a Williamsburg, Va. animal sanctuary ran by Ryan Phillips, 42, and Mallory Sherman, 34.
Because of her special bond with the humans who saved her from slaughter back in November 2018, Jenna moos at the window every day until a cuddle session commences with her human friend Phillips.
"Jenna treats me like I'm her best friend and saw me like I was her mom when she was little because I brought and fed her bottles," Phillips says (as reported by Fox News). "She'd knock me in my belly to attempt to make more milk come out. I spent every night talking and laying with her in the barn and making sure she was healthy and happy. And so, now we continue to have a bond that results in her mooing for me and needing morning hugs - as well as lots of time together during the day, and goodnight hugs and scratches as well. We are truly best friends and she's definitely just as much family as any human could be."
Beyond being a throwback to childhood trips to petting zoos, interacting with cows can be good for your mental health. Cow cuddling sessions are available at places like Mountain Horse Farm, an 33-acre bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York and the home of "hug a cow" advocates Bella and Bonnie. Cows have a higher body temperature than humans and their heart rate is slower, both qualities that help people relax, farm owner and equine therapist Suzanne Vullers told Today in Sept. 2019.
Per the Independent, visitors of Vullers' property also get to meet Jaxon, the 1,800 l.b stallion; Stetson, a gelding, named for the hat; Cricket and Noa, mares rescued from abusive conditions; and Suzie Q and Missy, miniature horses with distinct personalities.
"It will not replace traditional therapy and it's not designed to. But a lot of people, we've lost connection to nature and there's a need for touch," Warren Corson, director of the Community Counseling Centers of Central Connecticut, told Today. Corson's property also offers therapeutic experiences which are based on the Dutch tradition of "koe knuffelen" (which means "cow hugging").
In short, having a cow love on you sounds pretty peaceful, especially at a time when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic triggers anxiety and depression for many people around the world. And that's science!
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