Newborn calf rescued in Lincoln. Welcome to the world “Puddles”

By Andrea Gaines

It’s a story that would send a panic through any mother … as well as great relief.

Imagine, this.

You are taking a nice country walk with your sister and over the ridge you see what appears to be a cow, standing deep in a raven.

Cow mom and Puddles

Something seems wrong. What’s that cow doing there?, you wonder.

As you get closer you realize the cow is not alone.  Deep in the mud just a few feet from her is what appears to be a newborn calf, shivering, and struggling.

The cow is making movements and noise that indicate she doesn’t really like the looks of you. She can’t get her new baby moving, it seems, but neither does she want you hanging around.

The most dangerous moments of a young calf’s life

The calf, it appears, may be stuck in the cold mud.  And, stuck hard. 

The slender pink umbilical cord is still attached, indicating the pretty little thing is perhaps just hours old.

And, the mom, is frantic.

This is the situation sisters Kristin O’Rourke and Brianna Carr came upon just weeks ago as they were walking the backroads and farms of the Village of Lincoln.  Both sisters live in Lincoln with their young families.

O’Rourke and Carr used their cell phone to contact the owners of the land, who contacted the farmer who managed the land. They sent a video of the location and the farmer headed to the farm to check on the mom and baby.

In quick order he arrived on the scene in his pickup.

“We told the farmer exactly where the cows were, and he took care of everything,” said O’Rourke.

Puddles walking

“We weren’t there for the rescue, but I kept in touch with him and Constance Chatfield-Taylor (whose family owns the land) via text  … he got them out of the ravine, warmed the little guy in his truck, and got them settled in the barnyard.

“He texted us later that evening with an update, and the next day as well. We were really just in the right place at the right time, and just made the call like any other Lincoln neighbor would do.”

Just in time

As O’Rourke told the Blue Ridge Leader, “The calf was shivering violently.”

The umbilical cord was still attached, and the mom was really, really agitated, she noted, … throwing her head back and forth and mooing.

I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t come upon the mom and baby at that moment.  The sun was setting and it was getting cold out. What if that mud had frozen around the baby overnight?

Kids are so smart

Farmers, of course, know just what to do is this situation.

O’Rourke’s own little ones, Evelyn, age 9, Maisie, age 7, and Tiernan, age 5 had quite the day, and what a great experience for a kid.

O'Rourke kids visiting Puddles
O’Rourke kids paying Puddles a visit

In classic, child-like style, the kids came up with a perfect name for the little babe in the mud – “Puddles.”  Perfection, pure and simple.

Thank you, kids, for helping to give us such a happy thing to write about.

We all hope that Puddles will live a long and happy life.

We’re not sure that Mother’s Day, coming up in just a few weeks for all of us, will ever be the same.  Maybe Lincoln will rename Mother’s Day … Puddles Day.

But, we are sure that this story will be told in the Village of Lincoln for a long, long time … with you as the child stars!

Special thanks to the many heroes in this sweet almost-Mother’s-Day story, including the O’Rourke kids, Lincoln resident Laura Longley (who alerted the BRL to Puddles’ rescue), Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Constance’s sister, Kassie Kingsley, and the farmer.  All played a key role in the calf’s rescue).

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