Upstate Therapy Cow helping kids feel confident reading out loud

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 7:33 AM EDT
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CLINTON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - You might have heard of a therapy dog, but what about a therapy cow? That’s what workers at one area farm are calling a calf who helps kids gain confidence with reading.

Back in March, it was an exciting time for LushAcres Farm in Clinton. One of their breeding cows expecting, but shortly after the birth things took a turn.

“Usually the calf will standup and start nursing within minutes and she did, she got up, she was trying to nurse and the mom just rejected her,” said Morgan Spauling, the LushAcres Farm livestock production manager.

With the calf getting knocked around by her mom and other cows, staff at the farm knew she needed to be separated.

“She ended up getting pretty sick with scours and we really weren’t sure for a few days if she was going to live or at least be healthy once she did get better,” Spauling explained.

Spauling started bottle-feeding the animal, there for her day and night. She is now affectionally known as Wanda’s mom-- the cow getting her name from the Marvel character.

“Her facial markings look just like the headpiece from the Scarlett Witch,” Spauling added.

It took a lot of love and care to get Wanda to where she is today and the cow is giving it all back tenfold.

LushAcres Farm is a part of Thornwell-- a non-profit dedicated to prevent child abuse and keeping families together. As a baby, Wanda was kept on-campus next door to the childcare building.

“I guess a lot of the kids were learning to read in front of the class and I think a lot of them were nervous about it, so we realized they were walking over to the fence and reading out loud to Wanda,” Spauling said.

Wanda proved to be quite the listener, now known as the farm’s therapy cow helping kids get over their fears.

“It was kind of boosting their confidence and teaching them ‘I can do this! I can read in front of the class,” Spauling said.

It isn’t just Wanda helping kids at LushAcres.

“The dogs are really good therapy for sure,” Spauling mentioned. “The pigs will let you lay down with them, pet their bellies. It just makes your day better in the simplest ways.”

Today Wanda permanently lives with the rest of the barnyard animals, with kids visiting throughout the day. She is totally healthy and no longer needs to be bottle fed.

You can meet the therapy cow for free whenever the market is open. For those hours, click here.

To learn more about Thornwell, click here.