Over the moo-n: highland cow viral star celebrates first birthday after surviving operation that left him dead for two minutes
A highland cow that has become a viral star was over the MOO-n to celebrate his first birthday after multiple operations including one that left him dead for two minutes.
Emily Hopson from Happy Hens & Highlands Farm decked out baby James in a party hat, badge and balloons for a party on May 21.
Despite ignoring most of the store-bought cake, the one-year-old survivor managed to get green icing all over his lips as bovine buddies Tiny Tim and Noelle watched on.
Emily, from North Carolina, USA, said: “James was pretty indifferent about the cake, but he loved the grass on top.
“He doesn’t get too excited about things but loves being brushed and getting attention, so having a party with lots of people to pet on him seemed to make him happy.
“We just found a cake with ingredients that would be safe for him to eat.
“He is such a picky eater though, he just ate the grass we put on top for decoration and a little bit of icing.
“Once James was done with it Tiny Tim ate the rest of the cake, Noelle wasn’t interested in it.”
James suffered complications from birth as he had dummy calf syndrome and couldn’t nurse on his mother’s milk leaving him susceptible to infections.
One such infection was at his naval that had not fused after birth and left the new-born urinating out of that hole, which required his first surgery.
Emily said: “The hole had gone undetected because of his fuzzy fur.
“We assumed the first surgery would be fairly straightforward but when the vet cut into him we were stunned.
“His umbilical cord was about to burst, was fused to his organs and there was an abscess by his liver.
“We hadn’t realized how sick he was and how incredible it was that he had survived.
“The vet told us he had only ever seen such a serious condition on dead animals.
“He found a way to drain the abscess and sew it outside of the cow’s body.”
Having sewn him up completely, they gave James daily injections of antibiotics until he was cured.
Despite his infection healing, the initial surgery had created a hernia leading to a follow up operation.
During the routine procedure, James’ heart stopped, requiring the vet to perform CPR before he survived.
Emily said: “I felt like we had witnessed a miracle.
“We thought it would be simple as those operations are pretty common.
“But when his heart stopped I broke down crying and Adam started praying for him.
“Those two minutes while the vet was doing CPR were the longest of my life.
“I was certain he was gone.
“Then his little heart started beating again, it was amazing.”
Because of his many surgeries and differences, James was discarded by the rest of the herd.
Despite having nursed him at home with their dogs, Emily knew he would quickly grow too big for the house and his canine chums.
She set about adopting four more orphaned cows, including Noelle and Tiny Tim who attended his small party.
Emily said: “We wanted to make sure he would eventually transition into living as a cow, because he would eventually outgrow the dogs.
“Having other orphan babies to live with helped him.
“They all are a little socially awkward, so they fit in perfectly together.”
Due to James’ antics, including dressing up in superhero outfits and bounding around with his eclectic mix of friends, he has gained a loyal social following.
Emily said: “He’s a pretty special little guy.
“We never expected his story to touch so many people.
“Every day we get messages saying his story has given people the strength to fight through chemo and successfully battle depression.
“It’s amazing how many people have been inspired by him.”
James and his friends’ adventures can be followed on https://www.instagram.com/happyhensandhighlands/