Together during frigid week, newborn calf and collie make fast friends

·2 min read
Potoroka says Mickey and the calf spend most of their time cuddled up on the rug in the heated shop.
Potoroka says Mickey and the calf spend most of their time cuddled up on the rug in the heated shop.

(Bonnie Potoroka - image credit)

The cold temperatures in the province have been tough on animals all week — but a calf and collie in Goodeve, Sask. have formed a warm and fuzzy friendship because of them.

It was down to –50 C with wind chill when farmer Bonnie Potoroka went out to the barn to check on her pregnant heifer, Summer.

"I wasn't sure exactly what day she was going to give birth because she's a heifer and it's kind of hard to tell sometimes on a heifer which day it's going to be," said Potoroka. "And I was hoping she would wait until it warmed up, but she didn't."

By the time Potoroka got there, the calf was already born and struggling in the cold.

"It just wasn't warm enough," she said. "A baby is wet when it's born, and she was already getting cold and her ears were starting to freeze. So I took her to the heated shop and that's where she stayed."

The calf — who has not yet been named — was welcomed by Potoroka's collie, Mickey, who quickly took a shine to her.

"He's always curious about the cows and the calves, but this one is the same size as him, so he likes it," said Potoroka.

And the calf seems to like him, too, she said; they have been spending most of their time in the shop cuddled up.

"Baby is still only three days old, so she sleeps a lot," Potoroka said. "So she'll lay down on the rug and he'll come next to her and lay down beside her. So they usually just sleep together."

The calf has been going back to the barn for visits with her mom every day, but it is still too cold for her to return full-time.

When she does, Potoroka thinks the friendship might continue and it wouldn't be Mickey's first time befriending his fellow farm residents.

"I have a steer that [Mickey] is friendly with," she said. "Cows don't usually cuddle with dogs too much, they kind of push them away, but if it's a steer or a calf, they'll make friends."