She remained undetected for months in the woods
After a cow narrowly escaped the chopping block, searchers were stunned to find that she had found a new home—with a few dear friends.
Bonnie the cow was born on a farm in Holland, New York. For the first few months of her life, she was reportedly happy and well taken care of.
But eight months ago, when Bonnie was only four months old, the owner of her original farm died—and all the cattle was rounded up and sold.
Bonnie was young, but could tell by the cries of her family members that something bad was happening: the animals were being sold to a slaughterhouse.
While the farmers were busy loading the cattle, Bonnie made a bold move:
She ran off into the woods.
The young cow successfully remained undetected for months—and as her story spread, she became a legend.
“Bonnie became something of a local celebrity,” writes Farm Sanctuary. “People marveled at the plucky calf who had resisted slaughter, and continued looking for her in the woods near her old home.”
No one expected the cow to last long on her own. But it turns out, she wasn’t alone at all. Hunters set up cameras in the woods, which led to an incredible discovery:
Bonnie was living with a pack of deer!
Bonnie had made some unlikely new friends—who probably helped her survive.
“Since cattle are herd animals — and Bonnie had lost her original herd — this support system helped her through a trying time,” wrote Farm Sanctuary.
“They ate, slept, and ran together — and the deer accepted her as their own.”
However, while it’s always great to make new friends, the woods still wasn’t a place for a cow, between snowy conditions and neighbors threatening to shoot the animal if it came onto their property.
Complicating things was the fact that Bonnie had become, like a deer, quite elusive, and not trusting any human contact.
But Becky Bartels, a volunteer, made it her mission to win the cow’s trust—and get her to safety.
“Becky trekked through the snow every day, using a sled to bring food and fresh bedding for Bonnie,” Farm Sanctuary said. “In time, Bonnie began to trust her—even the deer started to approach Becky for some food and affection—and they settled into a routine.”
“Unlike the first humans in Bonnie’s life, Becky saw and valued her as she truly was.”
After slowly gaining the cow’s trust, she began the process of getting her to a new, safe home. She arranged for the young cow to be taken in by New York’s Farm Sanctuary.
Even with Bonnie’s confidence, this took some time and patience: working with volunteers from the sanctuary, it took a few early-morning tries to finally get Bonnie rounded up.
After eight months on the lam, this runaway cow was finally back in her proper habitat. And this time, she didn’t have to worry about becoming beef.
While it’s a bit sad that Bonnie had to be taken away from her deer pals, there’s some good news: at the sanctuary, Bonnie is in the company of other cows.
It was an incredible journey but after fleeing slaughter, this cow is finally out of the woods.