A few years ago, we took ten of our Dexter Cattle to the County Fair. Little four month old Fiona was tied up closest to where we were camped out during the day and this is what happened:
Our son, John, and little Fiona bonded during the Fair. They have grown up together since then and Fiona actually belongs to our son. She is now three and a half years old and he is almost five years old. She adores him. All of our cows are friendly, but she is the most persistent about checking your pockets when you walk through the pastures and following you around like a big puppy. She is polite and not at all pushy about her affections, which makes her ideal around children. She is also our photobomb cow. If you try to take a picture of the pasture or scenery, she will pop in looking for handouts. Here is her hopeful look as I was taking pictures just yesterday:
Two weeks ago, I was asked to assist with our church's Vacation Bible School Program. There were over 100 children, ages 3-10 attending. I helped teach various subjects through the week. Friday called for a lesson involving farm animals. I took Phoenix, our therapy horse, Donkeyotee, our sweet donkey, and Fiona. Friday morning began early as I haltered and bathed all three in the predawn hours to keep allergens down as well as keep them cool during the long trailer ride into town. I loaded them into our three horse trailer, with Fiona hopping right up into the last stall. I set up a portable corral for Fiona in the shade and spent time soothing her with some grooming. The horse and donkey were set up in another pen next to the trailer. We had two picnic tables acting like bleachers in front of a grassy area and I walked each animal up to introduce them to the children. Then, the children were allowed to feed a treat to one of them. I picked Fiona for the littlest kids because of her size and how easy it is to feed her a molasses horse biscuit (her favorite). The little ones giggled at her sticky long tongue and "wet, doggy nose". After the presentation, kids were allowed to walk around and visit with the animals in their pens. I monitored closely for signs of stress, but, if anything, the animals relaxed more as the day progressed.
Fiona is exactly, not only what a Dexter cow should be, but what a family cow should be. She's friendly, easy to handle, gentle and intelligent. She learns quickly and adapts to new routines remarkably. Everyone was fascinated with Fiona's size and personality and I think
there are many new Dexter cattle fans in our area. One young girl even
asked her dad for a cow for her birthday!
Regrettably, I can't show you the happy smiles from the children, for privacy reasons, but here is a picture of Fiona enjoying her day with the kids: