Loneliness often has little to do with being physically alone, as one can feel lonely even when surrounded by family and friends. Loneliness can be a very complex result of many different factors.
Yet, regardless of its source, it seems that love can always find a way. Love conquers all.
When it became too expensive for her former owner to provide food for her, Helen the bison came to the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio, Oregon. There were other animals in her new sanctuary as well, but no one wanted to interact with the suspicious bison who kept herself isolated all the time.
What made things worse was the fact that she was blind. Lonely, depressed, and afraid to trust anyone, the bison Hellen, kept wandering around the 6-acre field for many years.
Gwen Jakubisin, the director of the farmhouse, explained that she was “very shy and seemed a little lonely”. Although they tried to find her friends, and paired her with ‘pasture pals’, “ no one really synced up with her.”
Gwen added that she was extra nervous being close to the goat and sheep. She couldn’t trust anyone, so none of the other animals bothered to make an effort and approach her.
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Grooming is such an intimate and comforting practice. As a victim of the dairy industry, Italo was never able to experience this kind of bonding with his birth mom – he was separated from her shortly after birth. He actively seeks out affection from his friend Helen and she’s always happy to spend time socializing with and grooming him. I’m so happy they have each other. ❤ . . . #cow #rescuecow #cowsofinstagram #friendsnotfood #someonenotsomething #vegan #vegansofig #veganpdx #sanctuary #farmsanctuary #sanctuarylife #bekind #kindnessismagic #animallover
This was until Oliver showed up. The young calf was born in the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. His mother, Betsy the cow, was living on an abusive dairy farm, and she was rescued in 2016, being pregnant with him at the time.
When Oliver was just 4 months old, in 2017, the curious little animal developed a strong love for the bison Helen.
Over time, she began to warm up to him, as the curious little calf woke up her motherly instinct. They spent their days grazing together, sharing their food and walking the fields for hours.
Oliver made such a big impact on the bison Helen’s behavior, that she changed a lot and even started to socialize with other animals.
Jakubisin says that Helen acts as Oliver’s nanny:
“Betsy (Oliver’s mom) usually drops Oliver off at ‘daycare’ and roams around while Helen watches over him for the rest of day, and she’s cool with that.
I catch them grooming each other which is amazing because I don’t think Helen has ever had that opportunity to express that motherly instinct before. The change in her demeanor is incredible, her joy is palpable. Betsy usually drops Oliver off at ‘daycare’ and roams around while Helen watches over him for the rest of day, and she’s cool with that.”
The difference in size between the two was obvious, but it proved to be insignificant, as they are very fond of each other and Oliver gave Helen a reason to be happy.
Jakubisin says their connection might have had a physical manifestation as well.
Oliver’s fur became similar to the one of Helen. While he was previously sandy fawn-like his mom, his fur gradually became smoky brown, like Helen’s. Gwen joked that Oliver has turned into a baby buffalo, in fact.
The two spent almost a year together, with Oliver’s mom Betsy always close by. Then, Oliver joined the sanctuary’s cow herd.Yet, his company made Helen confident to welcome other animals into her life.
Soon afterward, a newly rescued piglet began visiting her, and they almost immediately became friends. Helen has even appointed herself as a foster mother to a new rescued calf called Italo. She groomed him too, and they enjoyed their time together.
Gwen said that they are blessed to know Helen, as she is “ the kindest, most patient, and loving animal we’ve had the pleasure of knowing.”
The rescue and rehabilitation home houses abused and neglected farm animals, and they currently provide shelter for 400 animals, including pigs, cows, horses, chickens, sheep, and goats.
According to their website, the mission of their volunteers is to “help shine a light on the realities of animal agriculture and lead the way to a more compassionate world.”
The sanctuary wants to “change the way society views non-human animals by encouraging bonds between people and the individuals traditionally considered as “food.”
In a Facebook post, they explain:
“At Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary we believe that every individual has the right to freedom.
Freedom from pain, freedom from fear, and freedom from oppression. We provide those with the most heartbreaking stories hope and the promise of the freedom to be themselves. A promise of companionship, of love, and of care. “