April 22, 2016 by genelup
“Did you see the cow and her calf walking across our property,” our neighbor, Marie, asked me the other day.
“No,” I said. “Must of walked through the barbed wire fence from the Rez.”
“The cow was starved,” Marie said. “I put out some water and food for her.”
We live in the forest in north-central Arizona, and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation is across the street beyond a row of houses.
Two days later, my wife announced: “There’s a cow eating your bale of straw in front of our house.”
Sure enough. That bale of straw was at least 5-years-old and I dug a hole in it, put some dirt in the hole and planted a Moonbeam ground-cover plant. Well, there goes that plant. The long-horned cow was also walking in my flower garden.
For three days, that cow showed up on our property. The calf wasn’t with her. I wondered what happened to her. We also put out water for her, and also some old lettuce and carrots. The cow rewarded us by munching some of my lilac bushes, walked across my recently watered Kentucky Bluegrass lawn causing divots and she knocked down part of my split-railed fence. I left the hose running water on a shrub, and the cow came up and drank the slow-running water.
Then, the Pinetop-Lakeside Town animal control officer knocked on our door. “You have a big cow standing in your lawn,” she announced.
She took out some alfalfa hay from her truck and put it on our driveway. The cow greedily stepped off our lawn to eat it. I grabbed a tub of water for her. The animal control officer made a couple of calls, and said reservation people will show up to get the cow.
While the cow was munching the alfalfa, a green crew-cab truck pulling a large trailer came down our street. The truck stopped; three Apache cowboys with spurs on their boots piled out of the truck, climbed on their saddled horses that were in the trailer. The cow spooked and began running down Rim Road. The cowboys gave chase and within the length of a football field they had lassoed the cow and hauled it to the ground.
While the cowboys were struggling to herd the cow into the trailer, I told one of them she had a calf. Where it was, dead or alive, no one knew. Did the cow hesitate to get into the trailer because she didn’t want to leave her calf behind?
With the cow and saddled horses corralled in the trailer, the cowboys crawled into the crew-cab truck and drove off.
I looked into the sky. Luckily, I didn’t see any crows, buzzards or ospreys circling above.
Maybe the calf is still alive waiting for its mother — who will never return.