The cow and her brother were spray painted and prepared for slaughter just days after their birth but he wanted to offer her a home.
Cows are "grass puppies" that love being loved and are even capable of forming special bonds with their human companions. Ryan Phillips from Virginia and his best friend Jenna the Cow met around 2020. He saw an advertisement for a newborn Holstein calf in North Carolina, only three hours away. Philips' suspicion that cows are just "grass puppies" was confirmed after visiting a cow sanctuary in Maryland.
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Jenna was born on a dairy farm with her twin brother. She and her brother were spray painted and prepared for slaughter just days after their birth because female Holstein calves with a twin brother are more likely to be infertile. Fortunately, the dairy farmer's daughter, also called Jenna, persuaded her father to find homes for these three-day-old calves instead of killing them. Jenna the Cow's brother was moved to a different sanctuary before Phillips arrived in North Carolina, so Phillips drove home with the one remaining calf wrapped in a blanket. Phillips was the one who named her Jenna, after the dairy farmer's daughter who saved her life.
He gave her all the hugs, scratches and love that a baby requires. "From that moment forward, Jenna became my best buddy," Phillips told Reader's Digest. "I fed her three bottles a day for 6 months and slept with her in the barn many nights to make sure she never felt lonely. Without her mother cow to pass her immunities through her milk, Jenna ended up being sick a lot in the first few months she was with me. I worried about her constantly as she lay sad and sickly with her head in my lap, with frequent vet visits to help her pull through."
Jenna would follow him from window to window around the house until he let her out to play. Describing Jenna as a "1,000-pound puppy," Philips says their favorite activity is to play chase. Jenna follows him from tree to tree and engages in a game of headbutts. Jenna is always eager to be a part of whatever he does, whether it's working in the yard or eating in the kitchen.
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He used to bring Jenna into the house for a carrot treat when she was a baby, but now that Jenna is too big for the house, she gets her carrots through the kitchen window, which has become affectionately known as the "Carrot Drive-Thru." Philips used to take Jenna for walks into town in her pink harness before the pandemic. People would stare, but they quickly realized Jenna enjoys meeting new people.
Meanwhile, a woman named Mallory was browsing Facebook when she came across Philips and Jenna's relationship through the videos he posted on his animal sanctuary page, Life With Pigs, a nonprofit that aims to provide the animals at his sanctuary with the care they deserve. Mallory contacted him in the hope that she could assist. Mallory flew to Virginia for a protest against animal cruelty, where she met him for the first time. There was no turning back after that and the two became partners. Jenna hence became the best "wing cow" for the two of them.
"A lot of people will drive past cows in a cow pasture and think that they are just giant animals that eat grass all day," Philips explains. "Jenna has all the qualities that we associate with dogs and especially that strong desire to be loved. She will let me hug her or she puts her head against my leg and I’ll wrap my arms around her, which we will do for 20 minutes. The look on her face is utter contentment."
"The difference between a cow and a dog is just the size. So much of my life has changed due to Jenna coming into my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way," He adds while talking to The Dodo. "She is truly my best friend and we couldn’t imagine life without each other. My goal is to give her the best happily-ever-after possible."