Tito is a three year old male Jersey cow who was born on May 24th, 2017. He arrived at Luvin Arms when he was just 10 days old. Tito was a “leftover” calf from a veal transport truck. Since a percentage of calves do not make it through transport, the farmers will add in a few extras to make up for those who will not survive the journey. The truck driver realized that Tito, along with two others were in very poor condition and would not be accepted by the veal farm, and contacted sanctuaries to see if anyone could take them in.
When Tito and the two other male calves, Gideon and Murphy, came to the sanctuary they were all very sick with severe infection, dehydration and diarrhea. Their first week was spent at CSU getting treatment due to the horrific condition they were all in. Sadly, Gideon and Murphy both passed away while undergoing treatment at CSU and despite all odds, Tito pulled through. He is now living out his best life here at Luvin Arms with his new family and friends.
When Tito got a little older, we decided that it was time to have him meet the cow boys; Leroy Brown, Domino, and Milo. To all of our surprise, the boys took Tito in as one of their own right away. Leroy Brown, who is also a jersey cow, completely took Tito under his wing and they have been inseparable friends ever since. Studies have found that cows form very close bonds with their loved ones and friends and that being around their best friend can help them feel more relaxed. Cows are herd animals and spend most of their time together. They wait for each other, wander off together, lay down together, eat together, play with each other, and groom each other. If they’re separated and then reunited, they will greet each other as if to say, “I missed you.” Cows also have really great memories and can remember faces and experiences. They also have been known to hold grudges against humans and non-humans who have hurt them. As well as having good memories, cows also have good spatial memories. They can remember where things are located such as food, water, shelter, and best grazing spots.
Out of the group, I would consider Tito to be a gentle leader. Whenever something new is introduced to the cows, Tito is always the first one to check it out and then the others will follow. The same thing goes for when we call the cows in for food or to come in for the night in the summer time. Tito will hear us calling from all the way on the other side of the pasture and will come running with the big boys following right behind him. Although he is the baby of the group, Tito brings everyone together and is truly the glue and “light bringer” of the herd.
Tito is such a sweet, loving, curious, playful, and affectionate man who loves his human and non-human friends and family so very much. Since he was raised by humans he is like a giant puppy who loves to play, snuggle, and give you sweet kisses. Tito is also very protective of his human companions. There have been a few times where the other cow boys have gotten a little too close with the care staff and Tito will come to make sure they are being safe and push them out of the way if he thinks they are too close. He has so much love and trust in humans that he considers us to be part of his herd.
Some of Tito’s favorite activities include: playing with his toys (especially with his giant inflatable balls), playing and romping around in the pasture with his brothers, snuggling with his best bud Leroy, and hanging out with his human friends. Sometimes I will glance out into the pasture and see Tito rolling his ball around by himself having the best time. I have even seen him lay down next to one of his balls like one would with a close friend. Tito also enjoys his clicker play sessions and knows how to do target touching. He is also in the process of learning how to “wait” because he can sometimes get overly excited with his human friends. Our enrichment program offers our residents another way to express themselves and Tito is a big fan of his sessions. Cows are extremely smart and pick up on things fairly quickly. It only took 3 sessions for Tito to understand and learn target touching. Watching him continue to learn, grow, and expand is truly a gift.
Tito is one of our ambassadors here at Luvin Arms and through sharing his story and where he came from he has opened up so many people’s eyes, hearts, and minds to the untold truths of the dairy industry.
Only about 25% of all baby cows that are born get to be with their mothers. This means that the other 75% of calves that are born are either discarded and sent to veal farms or are forced to endure and live out the same horrific fate as their mothers. Because Tito was born a male at a dairy farm, he was considered to be garbage, because he offers little to no value to the dairy farmer. He was taken away from his mother, most likely right away and was sent off to live a short and painful life until a kind citizen intervened and spared his life. Since male calves cannot grow up to produce milk, they are sent to veal farms where they are forced to live in extremely tiny huts, so that their muscles don’t get too strong and their “meat” stays tender. Male calves that are used for veal are typically slaughtered when they’re between 16-18 weeks old.
All beings, no matter what, should be able to be with their mothers. Along with baby cows needing their mother’s first milk for healthy growth and development, babies also need a mother’s love and affection to keep them strong and healthy. Baby cows would naturally be with their mothers for at least 3-8 months, and the longer the calf stays with its mother the better. Cows grieve and mourn at the loss of their babies and loved ones just like humans do. Tito was one of the lucky ones, but unfortunately, so many others that are just like him are not.
I met Tito when he was only a few weeks old. I had just started my care internship here at Luvin Arms and was told that we just rescued a baby cow named Tito. When we first met, I felt a strong connection between us and fell in love with him right away. I had never met a cow before and was so full of love and joy interacting with Tito for the first time. Ever since the day we met we have been best buds. I remember when he was just a baby and how he would moo like crazy to be fed, run through my legs when we would play, take naps on my lap, get the zoomies with me in the pasture, and groom me like I was one of the herd. Tito was the first resident that I truly connected with on a deeper level. He has opened my heart and mind to so much and continues to share his beautiful wisdom with me every day. One of the biggest things that Tito has taught me is to never lose your childlike sense of wonder and curiosity. Tito is constantly exploring, making new friends, and playing with his toys. He is so caring and has such a big and loving heart. Even when I left Luvin Arms for a year and would come back to visit, Tito would still greet me and get excitement like no time had passed at all.
Today, Tito and I are still best buds and enjoy playing, napping, and hanging out together. I love this sweet boy so much and am so grateful that he is a part of my life. I never thought that some of my best friends would be animals, but I couldn’t be happier that they are.
Animals have the ability to open our hearts to so much more than we could ever have imagined and that is exactly what Tito has gifted me. He will forever have a special place in my heart.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France