Sheltered in: Animal Place / Grass valley, CA

They thought I was trash...until I moved

Driving down the highway, Kendall and Thomas initially took little notice of what appeared to be trash on the side of the freeway...until the lump moved. Afraid the creature was a dog or cat who might get hit by a car, the two immediately pulled over.

And found an emaciated, petrified calf!

With no farm in sight, the two believed the calf fell from a transport truck taking calves to auction for sale to dairy farms and slaughter.

When her rescuers figured out she was a calf, their reaction was no different than if she had been a dog or a cat – the two guided the weak calf into the back of their vehicle...and called Animal Place. We knew time was of the essence and offered to take in the calf.

Kendall and Thomas drove the calf 8 hours to us. They named her Shelby.

Our animal care team rushed into action when they saw the car pull in the driveway. Caregivers immediately fed the vulnerable orphan a prepared bottle of warm milk replacer, gave fluids for her dehydration, and monitored her throughout the night, to ensure survival.

The veterinarian diagnosed Shelby as severely emaciated, labeling her body condition score a 1.5 out of 9 (where 1 is the most emaciated.)  She weighed 83 pounds but should have weighed 120 pounds — almost 40 pounds underweight!

Shelby is on the road to recovery but is not out of the woods yet. It will take months for her to gain weight and recover from this trauma.

She loves playing with her bouncy ball and is learning to trust humans once again. We may not know her history completely, but her future is secure. Unlike calves on dairy farms, Shelby will never be forcibly impregnated just so her calves can be stolen and her milk sold to humans. She will never face the slaughterhouse at a fraction of her lifespan.

As a resident of Animal Place, she has value beyond measure. It is in the way she moos at the other cows across the way. Or how she races across her pasture, then collapses exhausted. It is how she curiously investigates everything within eyesight and nose. Or how she cracks acorns open and spends fifteen minutes crushing one into oblivion. It is in who she is, not how she can benefit humans.

Join us in crafting a more just, compassionate world...where calves like Shelby are seen as unique individuals who have value beyond a forgotten meal.

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