Flo is a devoted mother who has had a few calves in her time. But on this occasion, she gave birth topo close to the fence that separated her pasture from the nearby highway. The slope of the ground and the small space under the wires combined to form a unique spot that allowed a slippery newborn calf to slide under the wires. The problem for Flo, and for her baby was that the fence was electrified, even though it was set quite low. This fence not only keeps the cows from wandering onto the road, but it also keeps out predators like coyotes that would love to come upon a calf that had just been born.
Flo couldn't reach her calf and he had not gotten on his feet yet. Instinct seemed to tell him to lie silently in the grass, but Flo was distraught. A passing motorist happened along soon after the calf was born. Living nearby, he often watched these cows as he drove past, and he was particularly interested in the herd at this time because calves were being born. Dave had stopped at the fence in the days before this and he had used his GoPro to record a calf taking its first wobbly steps. He saw the cows in the pond and he stopped to get another close look and record the cows enjoying a bath in the sunshine. But Flo wasn't acting quite right. Dave put his camera on the fence and walked away to the right with his other camera. He knew very little about cows but he knew Flo was agitated. After a little while, Dave decided to go and look at what Flo was staring at. He found her new calf and decided it should be with the mother. The farmers' house is at the top of the hill across the meadow and the truck was gone. The cars on the road presented a danger if the calf wandered out into traffic. Dave decided to push the calf back under the fence the way it had come. Not knowing that some of the wires were live and some were not, he got himself a few shocks in the process.
Flo tolerated the help, seeming to understand that the calf would soon be on her side of the fence. She encouraged Dave with a few "moos" as he worked away. The two walked up the hill and her baby had that important first milk that contains colostrum for a healthy immune system.
As Dave was getting ready to drive away, the farmers returned and stopped to see if everything was OK. Dave helped tag the calf and give the umbilical cord a little iodine treatment. Because the calf had received a few shocks himself, he was known as "Sparky" from that day forward. As Dave kneeled down in the meadow to have a good look at Sparky, he and Flo wandered over for a sniff and a long look. It almost seemed like the two were curious about this stranger that had stopped to help them. For Dave, this was the day that he learned from the farmers, the importance of free range grazing and ethical treatment of cows, as well as the surprising capacity for emotion that these animals have. Supporting farmers like these seems very important for everyone's benefit, but especially for the wellbeing of the animals.