At just one-and-a-half years old, Snickerdoodle’s life began falling apart. As an intended breeding cow, her sole purpose was to give birth to calves that 4-H members would then raise for show and send to slaughter. But Snickers couldn’t get pregnant. As a result, her “owners”—leaders of a Maryland 4-H chapter—had no economic incentive to keep her, and opted to send her to slaughter as well. 4-H programs aim to teach youth the realities of modern-day farming—and Snickers was nearly a casualty of that system.

Farmers tried to impregnate Snickers twice through artificial insemination—a routine, yet painful and traumatic method of reproduction. She would have only been about 15 months old at her first insemination: just a baby, herself. When neither attempt took, Snickers had no value. Without securing a profit from her calves, and the milk she would produce for them, her farmers could see no reason to keep her around.

Every day, farm animals like Snickers lose their lives because they can’t deliver. Snickers is one of the lucky ones: she survived because one person knew her life mattered, and pled for her release. Thankfully, the farmer agreed to release Snickers if her rescuer could find her a new home.

Unfortunately, Snickers’ rescuer didn’t have the space or resources to care for a cow. So, she asked the local 4-H leaders if Snickers could stay on their grounds in the meantime—typically, program members have a shared lot where they raise that season’s animals before taking them to show. But time was running out: the farm couldn’t keep Snickers there much longer. Concerned, the rescuer asked if we could take Snickers in, or house her temporarily while securing placement.

Snickers was young, healthy, and kind, which made her a great fit for our Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN): a nationwide program that places farm animals into loving, forever homes. Placing healthy animals also frees up space at our sanctuaries to respond to emergencies and rescue more farm animals in need of lifesaving—and oftentimes, lifelong—care.

The initial plan was for Snickers to stay with us temporarily, before going to her new home at another sanctuary—one of our FAAN members. But Snickers was also very lonely when she arrived: cows are herd animals, and Snickers had lost her family and friends while still very young. She found a companion in newcomer Princess, who was rescued just a day after her. They first met through a fence separating their temporary enclosures—we place all incoming animals on mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of any diseases they might arrive with, and to ensure they are healthy enough to join a flock or herd.

Since Snickers seemed so lonely, we decided to expedite her quarantine and give her the best medicine we could offer her: a friend. She and Princess were healthy enough to be around each other, though neither was quite ready to join our larger special needs herd. With Princess by her side, Snickers began to feel more at home.

Because of their new bond, though, we couldn’t send Snickers to her originally intended home: breaking up this new friendship would devastate them both. So Snickers stayed at Farm Sanctuary—and the other sanctuary graciously adopted a new goat friend from us instead. In the end, our mutual goal is to do what is right for every animal we rescue. In this case, it meant that Snickers would stay with her new friend, and we could help another animal find his forever home.

Snickers and Princess now live in our special needs herd—home to 22 other bovines. The two still hang out and have each made new friends throughout the herd. Once Snickers gets a little older, we will probably move her with some friends into our main herd; she is young and spry and will do well with a group that is more at her pace. For now, she’s enjoying her sweet new life on the rolling green pastures that she now calls home.