A five-legged heifer

Posted on Friday 23 October 2009

Being a small-town newspaper editor offers some unique photo opportunities. At least I don’t think newspaper editors in larger dailies are offered such chances as the one I was invited to witness yesterday. A guy drove up to the office in his old farm pickup with its typical-looking farm-worn patina pulling an equally scruffy looking stock trailer. The farmer asked us if we had ever seen a five-legged cow. Our expressions of doubt led to his insistence for us to come outside and see for ourselves.

We felt sure he had to be pulling one of our four legs, as we followed him out to the trailer waiting for the joke to fall on us. Peering between the bars on the trailer we looked inside and saw a black heifer who communicated her contention toward us by her worried pacing. The darkness of the trailer blended with her dark coat made it difficult to find, but in time our eyes adjusted to the low light and focused to find that the heifer did indeed have a fifth leg, albeit much shorter than the other four. It dangled from the right lower joint of the heifer’s front right leg.

The farmer’s buddies at the cafe suggested he bring her by the newspaper office for a photo, but the low light situation and my resistance to climbing inside the trailer with the agitated creature prevented taking one. So, you’ll just to have to take me at my word and know that I am not just pulling one of your legs.

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