The story of Dudley the Hereford steer starts out at an auction house in Tennessee and a farmer. The farmer had seen that Dudley’s left back leg was wrapped in baling twine, this caused him to lose his foot. The farmer took him in and called The Gentle Barn. Dudley had gotten a second chance at life. The Gentle Barn originated in 1999 based in California but expanded their rescue to Knoxville, Tennessee just for Dudley.
The farmer who had rescued Dudley farmed cattle for a living. He had to keep Dudley and treated his foot with antibiotics for 10 months before they had found The Gentle Barn. He turned Dudley over to The Gentle Barn. Since he could not afford to have medical care or a prosthetic foot made. The farmer drove three hours with Dudley to a veterinary hospital. Dudley had a long road of recovery ahead.
Dudley had suffered tendon damage from hobbling around on 3 legs. It caused him major pain to have to walk on his amputated leg even though his main reaction was trying to use it. Dudley had to undergo surgery to fix his leg for his prosthetic which went very successfully. Afterward was a whole different story, they needed to keep Dudley laying down so he would not cause any further injury. It had taken awhile but they were also successful in that as well. They spent well over 60 hours creating a prosthetic for missing parts below his hook. At first, like all cows would, he was not all for the idea of having a prosthetic. He would kick his leg out of the hands of the handler, but eventually, he got used to his prosthetic leg. After several months of therapy, Dudley got to be a cow again. He got to run and live a fulfilled life.
When they finally got to pull Dudley out of the animal hospital, he was filled with joy bouncing and bucking around the field he was released into. From then on he has been able to lead a happy life. He has even gotten married! Dudley got married to a female bovine named Destiny. You can read an article about Destiny’s rescue here. To tie into my article about equine therapy, Dudley was also a therapy cow. He helped people with amputations of their own feel more confident and comfortable with it just as he was with his. Dudley was a strong young steer and very playful. Dudley visited schools, helped foster children learn more about themselves. Dudley has made a huge impact with his story and thousands love him!
Unfortunately, Dudley passed away when a stomach ulcer ruptured and was irreparable. The Gentle Barn staff deeply misses Dudley since he was the reason for the expansion of their operation.
To read more about Dudley
The Dudley Story:
Dudley on USA Today:
Kelcie Lynn, Everything Agriculture Writer