For seven long months after escaping an auction house in Vermont in April 2005, Annie Dodge wandered the countryside, evading capture and doing her best to survive on her own. Her first month of freedom was difficult, as she wandered far and wide in search of food. Luckily, though, after trekking across a river and several roads, she found her way into the yard of Barbara and Bill Chamberlain, two longtime members of Farm Sanctuary.
Concerned for Annie’s well being, the Chamberlains graciously welcomed her onto their property and did their best to make her feel at home. Perceiving their kindness, Annie started coming to the Chamberlains’ home every night, where she was offered food, shelter and a sense of belonging. Annie’s new foster parents never saw her during the day, and they had no idea where she trotted off to after eating dinner in their yard each evening, but they always expected that she would be back the next night, and hoped that they were helping make her life a little bit easier. Watching her kick up her heels and frolic as she disappeared back into the woods each night, they felt confident that their kindness was making a difference.
Eventually the Chamberlains decided to call the local auction house where Annie Dodge had made her escape, but stockyard employees could find no records on the young cow. They offered to slaughter Annie for the Chamberlains — but this was not to be her fate. The kind couple wanted Annie to live out the rest of her life in peace at Farm Sanctuary. Working hand in hand with our New York Shelter staff, the Chamberlains continued to provide Annie food and helped her become more comfortable around people. Because Annie had been wandering alone for so long, this was no easy task. But finally, on October 25, 2005, she willingly walked into the Chamberlains’ barn on her own, and later that night made the journey to Farm Sanctuary.
Now safe at our New York Shelter, Annie Dodge no longer has to be alone. Aptly named in honor of Annie Dodge Wauneka, the first Native American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she freed herself and now has a lifetime of good health, kind attention and loving companionship to look forward to. Watching Annie Dodge settle into her new home, we can’t help but be impressed by her courage and fierce independence. Now living alongside many other daring souls – including Cinci Freedom and Queenie, who both escaped slaughterhouses – she is in good company.