Barn offers cuddling therapy as a way to cope | Tri-State Neighbor
The five guys (neutered males but referred to at the barn as cows) initially paid little attention to their human observers. They were munching hay on racks, then two of them walked around to lick a block of salt and drink some water. It was an opportunity for Johansson and Masini to approach the cows, who seemed indifferent to the attention.
In addition to Chico, the cows are Eddie, Houdini, Johnny Cash and Roo. A sixth, Spirit, did not survive the breakaway but has a pond named after him.
As the five finished eating, they mostly stood placidly while Johansson and Masini, clearly captivated, patted their dusty coats or brushed them. Johnny seemed a bit more aloof than a few others, notably Chico, who led the crew through steel bars in the famous slaughterhouse escape that involved running through city streets for hours before leaving. to be surrounded (so to speak). Eddie batted his long eyelashes, while Houdini, identified by a white stripe across his face, turned to see who was wrapping his arms around his 5ft back.
Occasionally, one of the boys would unceremoniously push away another, while the humans, which included a few guides, backed off a foot or two if a large animal needed room to pass. (Because of the docents, no cowpies threatened the boots.) For observers unaccustomed to cattle, it took a few minutes to relax, to recognize that the herd seemed unlikely to suddenly trample passers-by.
In fact, no one was hurt visiting the Gentle Barn cows, Laks said. The first time she rescued one from the slaughterhouse was a miniature Hereford in California that she named Buddha. In her memoir, “My Gentle Barn”, Laks writes that Buddha stopped immediately when a “sea of children” surrounded her. While lying down, Buddha curled around her neck to encircle Laks, making her feel at peace, “so totally accepted by this animal.”