It was October 22nd of last year, my brother Tony thought I was crazy for taking on such a big project that would probably end in the calf dying. If it had been up to him, they would have put Crutch out of his misery then. Dad repeatedly told me there was a chance he'd never come out of it and to not get my hopes up, but I felt it was worth a try.
The first few days were tough! We had to put him in a sling two to three times a day and hang him from the ceiling of our barn which involved me raising him on a pulley system, by hand! Jaxon would help me secure a piece of carpet under his belly that wrapped around his sides and back, which we then attached to the pulley. Jaxon would sit on the bales stacked behind him encouraging both Mommy and Crutch, "You can do it guys!", he'd say!
Once I got Crutch lifted into the air, I would then place his legs in position to where they'd be if he were standing on his own. And eventually he got strong enough to do just that! We then were able to start moving him around the pen. We'd bribe him with treats and he'd follow. This took several months but the day finally came when he was strong enough to be let out with the rest of the group. I was a very proud Mommy that day!
We started out slow, letting him out once a day for about 30 minutes at a time. He would run around that pen kicking and jumping, things he could have never done those first months! I finally got comfortable enough to let him out permanently and he has blossomed ever since. We were never able to sell him since he suffers from arthritis, but deep down I never wanted to sell him anyway!
Kent thinks I'm crazy for being so attached to a 1000 pound steer but after hand raising him and spending so much time one on one with him, I couldn't help but fall in love! I swear he comes when I call his name, he bawls when I walk back up to the house from the pen, he follows me around the fence when I mow and he keeps me company when I hang clothes on the line! I truly think he sees me as his Mommy and the day he leaves us, I will be the one standing at the fence bawling! When I told Jaxon that Crutch was going to have a birthday, he asked if we could make him a cake! I told him that cows don't typically eat cake, but then again, this isn't your typical cow! Instead, we decided to serve him up some of his favorites... watermelon rinds, tomatoes and popcorn! It's important to celebrate all of God's creatures, BIG & small!
Happy Birthday Crutch... you are loved!