Happy Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day was created more than 100 years ago to celebrate the love, devotion, and sacrifice of all mothers.
Here at Pasado’s Safe Haven, we recognize that motherhood is a profound experience for all living beings, regardless of how brief a time a mother has with her child. This Mother’s Day, Pasado’s is honoring mothers everywhere, human and nonhuman alike.
Pasado’s often meets mothers who have lost their babies and those who are desperately in need of a mother – just like little Whalen.
Answering the Call
In March, Pasado’s received a phone call about a calf in distress. The calf had been discarded at a dairy farm and was taken by someone who worked there. The calf was being kept at an apartment complex and he missed his mother so badly that his plaintive cries had alerted the authorities to his terrible predicament.
When we met the calf, we realized that the situation was dire. He was surrounded by a group of people and the little calf kept on falling down. He had no strength. Instead of helping him, the people laughed as he struggled to get up.
He was so very, very small and thin.
The police department hoped that the calf could be returned to the dairy to “live out his life,” but this wasn’t a possibility. The realities of dairy farms are far different from what is portrayed on television.
We told the policewoman who responded to the call that the calf was in a life-threatening situation, and under those circumstances, an animal can be pulled without a warrant. And the wonderful policewoman stepped up and took the calf out of that situation to be brought to Pasado’s. We are so happy to be a resource for the police to help the animals.
This calf didn’t have a mother. We were his only chance.
It’s a Girl
We took the little calf to Pasado’s sanctuary in the back of a truck.
He had a heart on his dished little head and when we gently caressed him, he smiled with appreciation.
We named the little calf Whalen, after the policewoman who facilitated the rescue. And after arriving at Pasado’s sanctuary, we were in for a surprise: Whalen was actually a beautiful little girl. She’d been misidentified because she was so terribly filthy and her still-attached umbilical cord was badly infected.
It is unlikely that Whalen received any colostrum when she was born, so we provided her with the best chance at life that we possibly could. It is crucial for newborns to receive colostrum, which is a high-fat form of milk that contains important antibodies to protect newborns. Without receiving this life-saving liquid, many animals perish, as there is no passive placental transfer of immunity prior to birth.
We provided her with food and electrolytes, cleaned her infected umbilicus, and gave her the love and care that she deserved.
Our cruelty investigator and farm staff stayed with this sweet little girl around the clock.
“The first night I spent with her, she kept looking at me wondering who I was,” our cruelty investigator recalled.
“I kept my leg next to her so that she knew that someone was there with her. In the beginning, she was doing well. Her body temperature was low, she was very dirty, and she had bad diarrhea. She had clear feces, indicating that she had no nutrients in her system. We fed her with a bottle and we were so happy that she took it.”
A Glimmer of Hope
“Whalen started to get a little bit of life in her after spending two days at the sanctuary,” our cruelty investigator recalled.
“For about 10 minutes late on the second day, she kicked and bucked – it was the most fabulous thing. She was showing some life – and that she truly wanted to live.
“She was standing. This alone was an accomplishment; when she first arrived, she was unable to stand. We were all so happy to see her playing and kicking.”
Zorro, one of our sheep, was really fascinated with her. When the animals come in at night, they all know which stalls to go to and they know the routine. The llamas all came in and stared at her like “Who’s the new girl?”
“That night, Zorro went into his stall next to her and just stared at her for two hours. I think he knew that she was a baby and that she was struggling.
“I was so happy to be with her – the roosters made noise all night long and the barn cats were wandering around. I bottle-fed her every few hours. We tried to get her a surrogate, but we didn’t know if she had anything that she could give to someone else.”
We gave her the best shot at life that we could – because she deserved to live.
Measuring a Life
Ten days. What can you experience in ten days? What can you learn of love, life, pain and joy?
“I never really got to know Whalen,” our cruelty investigator said sadly.
“She was in too much pain; she was too weak…all because of the horrific arrogance of our species. She died when she was 10 days old. Her lifespan could’ve been up to her mid-twenties. But she only knew cold, pain, hunger, dehydration, fear, and loneliness before she came to the sanctuary.”
We saw Whalen improve over the course of several days, but over the weekend, she took a turn for the worse. On Monday, she kept fighting, but she continued to go downhill. Her temperature was only 96. It should have been at 101 or 102. We tried to keep her warm, hydrated, and comfortable, but it became difficult to get food and electrolytes into her.
We found that cryptosporidium (a zoonosis, meaning an infectious disease originating from and transmitted between nonhuman animal species) was causing her issues. We did what we could to help her fight this disease.
“The last night, we had a jugular catheter in her. She was 38 pounds when she arrived, and then climbed up to 46 before dropping to 38 again. She was fighting, but her body was struggling. She got to the point that she’d cry out every time she had diarrhea.”
On Whalen’s last night, our cruelty investigator was up with her for 10 hours, constantly putting puppy pads down under her and comforting the little calf.
“Whalen pushed her face into mine – and I felt that I failed her,” she recalled sadly.
“I had to up her IV up to the maximum allowable or she would’ve died from dehydration,” she said, choking back tears.
“We did everything we could to save her. She just couldn’t take it – her body was just too far gone. She probably died from a heart attack. She died at 8:25 a.m. and her vitals were normal at that time. Her death was instantaneous.”
While Whalen lost her birth mother, she died in the company of a surrogate mother who gave her unconditional love and care. She passed away so young, but she left this world with as much love and support as we could give her.
“It was one life, but it’s representative of so many hundreds of thousands of deaths,” our cruelty investigator explained. “Every case is hard, but this one really stuck to me.
“Whalen is a symbol of what happens at dairy farms. It’s probably an accident that she was discarded, as it’s typically males who are discarded. She was very dirty and we’re not sure why she was pulled from the dairy farm – we speculate that she may have even been stolen.”
But if Whalen had stayed with her mother, her pain would have only been delayed. Females at dairy farms are sent to slaughter shortly before their legs break from constant pregnancy and birth – at around 4 to 6 years of age.
Millions of Orphans
“If you pull one of these, keep it away from your house or it will keep you up all night.”
It’s a common admonition rescuers receive when they try to save a dairy calf at auction.
At dairy farms, calves are mere byproducts – a means to an end for dairy product consumers. Babies are taken from their mothers shortly after birth. Mothers cry and bellow for their babies and babies yearn for a loving touch they have never known, but there is no room for compassion here – these are not considered to be living, breathing, sentient beings, but commodities that can make or break a bottom line.
Deprived of their mothers’ milk, calves instead have a “milk replacer” product: a powder mixed with water. But only mother’s milk provides the balance of nutrients that these calves truly need. Instead, these babies grow up alone in little pens where their bottles are hung for them on fences.
Why did Whalen come to Pasado’s sanctuary?
The dairy industry promotes a circle of suffering that can only end when the demand for milk and milk products diminishes. Adult humans don’t need cow’s milk – it’s a nutritional substance that mother mammals provide for their offspring. Eventually, offspring are weaned off of milk and begin eating solid foods.
Humans continue to consume the milk of another species, failing to ever wean themselves. Lactose intolerance is not an unusual condition – it’s the body’s reaction to a substance that wasn’t selected to digest past the age of infancy.
Heart disease, high cholesterol, anemia, and obesity have all been linked to dairy products, but these risks are often concealed by advertisement campaigns asking consumers if they “have milk” and assuring viewers that dairy cows are happy cows.
There are so many alternatives now to dairy milk: rice milk, soy milk, almond milk. You can have a toast to Whalen with your almond milk and know that you’re making a kind choice.
Honoring All Mothers
Mother’s Day was created to celebrate the love, devotion, and sacrifice of all mothers. While Whalen only knew her mother briefly, we know that she was loved – and we will continue to work for the humane treatment of all sentient beings.
All mothers deserve to be with their offspring – and all offspring deserve the love of their mother.
Would you like to help Pasado’s celebrate the devotion and sacrifice of animal mothers? Please consider making a donation today.
Thank you – from all of the animals here at Pasado’s Safe Haven – and from those who are still seeking their sanctuary. Your support truly makes a difference.