Send in the Cows

By Monica O’Kane

Reprinted with permission from ANGEL ANIMALS BOOK OF INSPIRATION, pp.39-41 (New World Library 2009, softcover, $14.95 retail, ISBN# 978-1-57731-666-4, 235 pages). All rights reserved.

One afternoon, while visiting a farm and standing in its pasture, I was bursting with anguish over a personal relationship. My head drooped. My shoulders were crushed with a ten-ton block of grief. Tears flooded my face and soaked my shirt. I pleaded silently, “Somebody please be with me!”

Then, though my watery veil, I saw a herd of about fifteen cows and calves coming out of the woods. Feeling cut off from all human support, I welcomed their presence. Slowly but steadily, the whole herd advanced. At first I feared they were going to chase me out of their pasture, but then I realized that they didn’t seem menacing. Some cows walked a wide berth around me and came up from behind. Others ambled straight toward me.

I’ve been in a pasture with cows before, but none had ever approached me. They’d usually wander timidly away unless a farmer with feed was nearby. But these cows completely encircled me. They each stopped when they came within five feet, seeming to sense what would be comfortable for me. I felt no panic. Instead, I found myself being strangely consoled.

To my surprise, a white-faced cow halted directly in front of me. I watched, transfixed, as a tear formed in one of her eyes and spilled down the side of her nose. At first, I wondered if the cow might have an infection, but when I looked into her eyes I saw that they were perfectly healthy. I concluded that this cow could be empathetic – sympathizing with me as I shed my own tears in her pasture.

Gradually my heaving sobs subsided into noisy gulps. Eventually I cried silently. Meanwhile, the cows seemed to form a barrier between the cause of my turmoil and me. I’d fruitlessly hoped that humans would comfort me this way. In answer to my plea, I’d been visited by a herd of cows. After they moved away, I felt a peaceful calm wash over me.

A year later, in the midst of praying, I suddenly remembered the farm animals who had so unexpectedly visited me in the pasture. I realized that God had been answering my prayer. God was saying, “Don’t you remember that collective cow hug I sent you a year ago? I directed my creatures to you, but you didn’t recognize my touch, my love. Today you do. But then I ministered to you in your isolated agony through the cows.”

I felt gratitude for the bovine hug that had relieved my sadness and reassured me that I’m never alone.

“Monica O’Kane lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a wife, mother of eight, grandmother of sixteen, and great-grandmother of one. She is the author of HEY, MOM, I’M HOME AGAIN! Strategies for Parents & Grown Children Who Live Together (Marlor Press, 1992). She is a child-rearing activist who focuses on childbirth and breastfeeding. In 2001 Monica traveled to Romania to work in a soup kitchen for two weeks because the homeless children there had caught her interest.”

“Has an animal used an unusual way to help you feel less alone or abandoned?”


Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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