The Calf

by Kara

There was a calf on my porch.


There’s often a dog on my porch. I’m used to her.

There are always two cats in my house. I’m used to them.


But the calf was new.

He showed up yesterday, with my husband and brother-in-law. He was born prematurely, and he needed some special attention. We made him a bed of grass, my husband fed him some milk, and a calf spent the night sleeping on my porch. I spent the night waking up my husband and sending him to go check the calf. I think my husband only listened to me once.

This isn’t the first time my husband has brought home an animal that needed some extra attention. A year ago, he brought home an adorable grey and black kitten. She was so tiny, the runt of the litter, and had been abandoned by her mother. He told me we would take care of her for a week or two, just until this kitty could make it on her own. That kitten grew into a beautiful big cat, the cat who is snuggled beside me on this couch, who loves people and isn’t particularly fond of the outdoors. I grew attached to her in those two weeks we were caring for her, and every week I found another reason to keep her for another week, until she became a fixture in this household and we no longer talked about bringing her back to the barn.

I’ve got to admit, I am not as good at taking care of a calf as I am at taking care of a kitten. My husband did all the work, although I tried to help. I tried to help the calf move into a more comfortable position, but I couldn’t quite guide him properly. My husband came over and deftly moved the calf’s legs and head so they were better supported. I tried to help feed the calf some milk. I was doing my best to prop his mouth open when my husband warned me about the very sharp teeth that calves have just behind their bottom lip. I promptly handed my husband the milk bottle, and my daughter and I watched from a safe distance as he fed the calf.  I wasn’t very good at taking care of the calf, but I was good at checking on him. I peeked out at him throughout the day, as I was cleaning and vacuuming and baking. I was careful not to use the door beside him too much, so I would not startle him. I talked to him as I hung out my laundry. I left him alone for an hour and a half, while my husband was milking and I was preparing for a meeting. I went to check on him again when my husband came home.


There’s no longer a calf on my porch.

He never had much of a chance. I could see that in the way my brother-in-law looked as I scratched the calf’s forehead when they brought him over. I could hear in in my husband’s answers every time I asked if the calf was okay. I knew it when they told me not to name him.

I named him Bertie Perkins.

I cried over a calf today.



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