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Angel, a five-month old Black Angus calf with a diminutive frame, isn’t often seen frolicking with other calves in the lush green pastures of her farm. Instead, she prefers to hang out with her “human parents.”
She is immediately distinguishable from other calves by the stylish pink bell that hangs around her neck.
While some people might think she’s a miniature because she’s about the size of a newborn calf, her state is a result of the rough start she had in life. Her little legs weren’t strong enough for her to stand after her birth, and her mother, a Red Angus, didn’t have an interest in taking care of her either.
That’s when Brenda Smith stepped in and began the daily routine of caring for the sickly calf.
“I was raised around cattle,” she said, of her Illinois beginnings, but didn’t have a lot to do with cattle at that time in her life. Mostly, she’s taken care of dogs and other animals.
“It was hard getting her to drink from a bottle,” she said.
She had to coax Angel to drink and rub her neck to get her to swallow the formula. Eventually, Angel learned how to drink from the bottle and began eating grass about a month ago.
Brenda and her husband, Davy, worried that Angel might not make it through the heat and drought the area experienced earlier this season, but she came through it and is now gaining some muscle and bulk.
Brenda credits her father-in-law, Joe Smith, with helping her with Angel.
These days Angel acts more like a dog than a calf. She waits at the fence for her adopted mom and comes to Brenda when “mooed” to.
Needless to say, Angel will always be a family pet. There is only one problem Brenda has with this adoptive relationship – “Now it’s hard for me to eat beef,” she says with a smile.