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  • Writer's pictureFeathers the Wonder Dog

Do cows cry?

My friends, when living in Sydney on the edge of the bush I used to listen to the wildlife around our urban bush pavilion. Klady used to tell me which animals were making these sounds – from the midnight calling of the Powerful Owl, the dawn song of the Magpie to Klady’s favourite, the melody of the butcherbird. While we had a resident family of lyrebirds whose repertoire ranged from wattle and bell birds through to a 6:00 am light sabre EVERY morning, my personal bete noir were the kookaburras.

Each day, 12 or so kookies would gather on the turpentine and gum trees in front of my sunny verandah and laugh and laugh.

I knew they were laughing at me so I growled and barked while running around trying to scare them off the 40 metre high trees.

Thank goodness! Life here in Verona Sands is very different and the birds are not testing my patience nearly as much. There seem to be many new types of birds, including some of the absolutely biggest seagulls I have ever chased in my life. They are HUGE.

But I digress.

Verona Sands is also very different because on one side, we are locked in by hills which are home to a very large herd of cows. Now why I am talking about this?

Well, the past couple of months have been lovely seeing the cows with their calves, grazing up and down the hills. But one day this all changed.

I had gone for a brisk swim at Drip Beach some 30 kms away and as I returned home to dry off in the sunny backyard, I heard all the cows making a huge racket – mooing, lowing, grunting.

On and on it went but I figured it would stop with nightfall. No it didn’t. I sat in the backyard staring at the moon and listening and I have to admit it was very distressing especially as I couldn’t sleep.

For three whole days and nights the noise continued and at midnight on the fourth night, BANG, BANG. Gunshots! The farmer had fired shots in the air to break the sound pattern. The cows stopped for a few minutes and then started up again – albeit a little softer.

As I lay there trying to sleep I asked myself, why do the cows sound so unhappy? Are they crying? Has something terrible happened?

Well my friends, yes a tragedy had in fact occurred.

Four days earlier, all the weaned calves had been separated from their mothers, who were now mourning their loss and calling out to their little ones, trying to find them.

This broke my heart.

I understand from Klady that some (not very clever) scientists say animals don’t have emotions and tears like humans do. Well they are wrong. Come to Verona Sands at the end of the summer and you too can hear the anguish.

All this made me very sad and so that night I resolved to become the first vegan Kelpie.

Well actually, strictly vegan until breakfast.

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