Sonny was likely less than one day old when we found him lying motionless in a filthy stockyard pen. A male calf, Sonny was useless to the dairy where he was born. Such calves are brought to stockyards, where producers hope they’ll gain a few dollars by selling these “byproducts” for veal or cheap beef, or they may simply want to be rid of them regardless of the sale price. Providing medical attention is not on the agenda. But Sonny was suffering and needed it desperately. His umbilical cord had been torn off, leaving an open wound, and he was dehydrated, exhausted and sick from infection. Without intervention, he would have died after a few more hours of misery.
We could not let that happen. We scooped Sonny up and rushed him to Cornell University Hospital for Animals so he could receive emergency care, where, to our relief, a surgery to remove Sonny’s infected umbilicus was successful.
Sonny received a blood transfusion and an IV of antibiotics to strengthen his abilities to combat his already severe infection. Though his immune system remained weak from the neglect he had suffered, Sonny was soon home at our New York Shelter, where he now runs through his new pasture, kicking up his heels in irrepressible glee.
Footage of Sonny’s rescue can be viewed in the upcoming documentary, Ghosts in Our Machine. To see a preview, click here.