BELOIT, Wis. — The Dairy State could soon be home to America’s Favorite Pet. The national PAWS competition opened up to more than just dogs and cats this year, and the pet currently in second place is in Beloit – with an “udderly” touching story.
It’s a call heard often around Wrightway Farms. “Nessie! What are you doing pretty girl?”
Because Nessie the cow needs to listen.
“We were told that she was born blind,” Caylee Marie Wright said.
So it made sense she was among the top three in PAWS’ America’s Favorite Pet online poll Wednesday. In her story, the “steaks” were high.
“There (were) some abandoned animals that needed emergency help, they needed help right away,” said Wright. “Nessie and her ‘seeing eye goat,’ Faith, were also starving.”
It should be noted that Faith the goat herself is deaf.
“Faith was with her every step of the way, she was basically attached to her hip until Nessie was comfortable to be on her own,” Wright said, “and now they can do their own thing.”
Since last February, she quickly warmed up to Wright and her dad – sometimes too much: “So much that she didn’t realize because she’s blind, he is not a 1,200-pound cow as well,” Wright said. “So she would run at him and get really excited when she’d hear his voice, and he had to teach her ‘Woah!’”
For Nessie, anytime is a good time to eat. But she has to rely on sounds to know where the food and anything else is.
“If she’s got her head a little low, I bang the cube on the end that I want her to go up, up higher so that way we can work with the senses she has,” Wright said.
It’s not only for convenience, they don’t want to be on the back end of a startled bovine.
“If my dad’s going in there to do something he’s got to warn, ‘Nessie, behind you.’ If he sprays her, he’s got to make sure to put his hand on her back, let her know, ‘Hey, I’m here, Hey, I’m doing something,’ so that she doesn’t panic,” Wright said. .
Despite the caution, Nessie’s family is over the moon to have her around.
“She’s one of my best friends,” Wright said, “I’ll come out here when I’m sad and she makes me laugh.”
And it seemed her story touched others too, as she grabbed the PAWS competition by the horns right out of the gate.
“She hasn’t been under third place this whole time,” Wright said. “She was in first for quite a while.”
The prize is a two-page spread In Touch magazine, as well as $10,000. The Wrights hope to expand her pen and make other improvements with the money.
“I also want to get her, it’s a cow brush, it’s a round brush you put on the side of the barn and she can rub up on it to give herself a massage,” Wright said, “and just anything to improve her life, maybe do a little bit of work on her shelter there, expand that maybe a little bit.”
They also hope her story, and their work taking in farm animals, can send a message.
“We just want people to understand that rescuing is a beautiful thing,” Wright said.
“A lot of people don’t rescue farm animals because most of them are used for meat or something like that or milk but they can be a companion as well,” she added.
Because if a blind cow can be in a good “moood,” maybe we can all hoof it.
“The little things that are going on that are upsetting me, I go, ‘You know, it’s really not that bad, it could be worse.’ She’s got a good spirit about it so why shouldn’t I?” Wright said.
To vote for Nessie, click here.
The firSt round of the competition goes until Sept. 29. If Nessie wins first in her group, she will compete against all other top pets in the finals through Oct. 1.
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