Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Danny Boy - a cow with a few other names

In the spirit of St. Patty’s day, I wanted to share the story of “Danny Boy,” the no kill cow. My neighbors run a kennel next to highway 121. On their field near the kennel, you’ll find the beloved cow Danny Boy, chewing his cud, his great brown eyes staring out. Whether he knows he escaped an early death, it’s hard to tell by his peaceful and content smile.

Danny Boy’s original owner named him Chuck – pun intended. Raised by a member of the local 4H club, his massive size put him out of the show competitions. The next step would have been to sell him for slaughter. The only problem was he was too sweet to eat. His nature too gentle, too endearing, his owner needed to find him a home. So he came into the care of Mary Beth and Dave – a wonderful couple who run a kennel next to their home. “No killing here”, Mary Beth assured his owner.

Mary Beth changed Chuck’s name to Danny Boy but her kids call him Norbert. He’ll answer to either. If you stand by the fence and call to him, he’ll come running, anxious for a friendly pat. Maybe he thinks he’s part dog, but no matter. He stares out onto the fields near the grapevines, soaking in the beautiful sanctuary of Sonoma. I love that I live near such a cow and such neighbors and I like Danny Boy take refuge in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.

Maybe the lesson we can learn from Danny Boy is that we can change our fate when we act with pure love and guilelessness. With nothing to fear, there's no reason to act in any other way - like Saint Patrick just chased all the snakes out of Ireland... We can act, as Lincoln called it, with our better angels....

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