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Help mister… our calf is drowning!

I was already quite stressed after struggling to load our dog Winnie into the car for her vet appointment. She had been quite sick the day before and I was heading to town for a last minute appointment. Her lack of socialization or training contributed to a physical and emotional challenge loading her into my car.

A mile away from our house, and barely on time for the vet, I noticed a bit of commotion on the road nearing my neighbour's farm.

A five year old boy and his eight year old brother ran out onto the road waving their arms and yelling “Please help us… our new calf has escaped, is stuck in the slough and is drowning.!”

Putting my flashers on, I carefully stepped out of my car, as Winnie fought to escape, and took in the scene.

The large, scum covered body of water next my neighbour's farm had a baby calf floundering knee deep, confused and edging deeper.

“Where are your parents?” I inquired of the kids.

“Mom is in town and my brother is in the yard”, said the little guy. “You have to go in the water and rescue him!”

Looking down at my town shoes and clean coveralls, now running late for my own appointment, I responded,

“If he falls down or starts to drown, I will go in. Until then please stand beside me, stop yelling, and let's see if we can steer him the right direction”.

Growing up on a cattle farm, I had dealt with many animals and I could tell right away that the yelling and running had simply startled this calf to the point of panic.

With calm coaxing... "here buddy, here buddy"... the distressed animal made his own way toward us, out of the water, and I was able to pick up his wet body.

While jogging, out of breath, toward the coral, a pickup truck proceeded to fishtail out of the yard, fly down the road towards us and literally skid to a stop ten ten feet away.

The brother, forteen(ish) jumped out of the cab in a panic, and opened the tailgate.

I plopped the calf gently in the bed of the truck, the kids held it down and the truck slowly drove back to the yard… disaster averted.

Only in rural Alberta, I thought to myself as I finally returned to my journey, a mere fifteen minutes behind schedule.

Although I was soaking, quite smelly, and exhausted, I noticed I had a huge smile on my face. The insanity of the moment and the fact that I had been able to help the kids had my endorphins raging.

This was living proof of what neuroscience tells us.

When we give of ourselves… is when we feel our best.

  • Now that’s a peak ethos.

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