In late 2017, two dog-loving foster parents took in a pregnant golden retriever mix named Rosie. They expected a large litter of fluffy, golden puppies, but instead, they discovered…cows? Or at least, what looked like cows.
These oddly-colored puppies threw the internet into a storm. How did Rosie get cow puppies? And what happened to these puppies after they were raised? Learn the charming story of Rosie and her unexpected litter.
Meet Rosie, The Cute And Confused Mama
In October 2017, Rosie, a golden retriever mix, was disowned by her previous owners. She was left in a shelter visibly pregnant and close to birth. The shelter’s manager feared for her health and for the fact that she would give birth without proper assistance.
Although shelters have drastically lowered their euthanization policies, most are overcrowded with dogs and do not have the resources to care for a new litter. Rosie needed caring owners now more than ever.
The Rescuers Swoop In
The shelter’s manager called Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, which helps dogs find homes in Raleigh, North Carolina. The rescuers had to work fast to get Rosie settled before childbirth.
Neuse River is an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of golden retrievers. Volunteers foster stray or abandoned dogs until they are well enough to be adopted. Fortunately for Rosie, the organization’s members knew a couple who could care for her individual needs.
Help Is On The Way
A Neuse volunteer picked up Rosie from the shelter the morning after the call. By this time, Rosie appeared so close to birth that the volunteer worried she would go into labor on the drive to the Raleigh Vet Clinic.
The volunteer checked Rosie into the clinic, where vets determined that she was healthy. The rescuer’s next task was to find Rosie a foster family who could assist her birth.
John And Katie Black To The Rescue
Katie and John Black have fostered over 20 dogs since 2009, and owned three dogs of their own: Annie, Leroy, and Winchester. The volunteer knew that John and Katie had the experience necessary to foster both Rosie and her pups.
The couple had worked with Neuse River for years and excitedly took in Rosie. They brought her home on October 28, 2017, five days after Rosie was dropped off at the shelter.
Rosie Adjusted Well
The Blacks received Rosie just five days after she was dropped off at the shelter. “This is our new foster Rosie,” the Blacks reported on their Instagram, “who is very preggers and close to delivering her puppies.”
The couple revealed that Rosie seemed shy and scared, but was otherwise very sweet. When the time came, Katie and John Black helped Rosie successfully give birth. They met Rosie’s four healthy pups and a surprise that captivated the internet.
Rosie Gives Birth
John and Kate helped Rosie deliver her pups. Although it had its difficulties, both mother and puppies can out fine. All the puppies were the right size and weight for her breed…or what everyone assumed was Rosie’s breed.
The couple expected a large litter since Rosie appeared so big. Although average litters consist of five or six puppies, Rosie only gave birth to four. But that wasn’t the only surprise that hit the Blacks.
“Not Quite The Puppy Pile We Were Expecting.”
“Our foster dog and Golden mix gave birth yesterday,” Katie said. “To baby cows.” The four pups looked nothing like their mother, and all had black spots. Although no one knows what breed the father was, he clearly wasn’t a Golden retriever.
The Blacks named the newborn pups Daisy, Clarabelle, Betsy, and Moo. The family photos not only received jokes online but also from the Blacks’ family. “My dad laughed for quite a while at the photos,” Katie told the Press Association in November 2017.
Cow Puppies’ Father Could Be…
Several dog breeds have white fur with black spots, so it’s hard to determine which breed the father was. Like Rosie, he could have been a mix. But that doesn’t stop internet users from speculating on which breed Rosie mated with.
Theories vary from a dalmatian, English setter, bluetick coonhound, and wetterhoun. However, only dalmatians have a true “spot” design. Every other fur pattern is “ticking,” which are small, isolated areas of tiny dots. So dalmatian is a likely choice.
Rosie’s Baby Cows
Katie said that her dad loved the mismatch so much that he recommended posting it online. He joked that the pictures would go viral, and Katie agreed to add photos to Reddit. Father Black was right–the new mom took the internet by storm.
In the picture, Rosie appears just as confused as the Reddit users. The image received over 90,000 upvotes and 1,600 comments asking about the new family. This attention skyrocketed when the Blacks posted on Instagram.
They Look Like Their Dad!
According to the Nest, puppies inherit certain traits depending on which genes the parents carry. Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute claims that “Dominant genes always outranks recessive ones,” which determines a dog’s appearance.
It’s safe to say that Rosie passed on recessive genes, and the father offered dominant genes. By chance, all of her puppies took on the physical traits of the father. The explanation makes the pair no less amusing, though.
The Internet Got A Kick Out Of It
Redditors flocked over the cow puppies and visibly astonished Golden Retriever mom. Users attempted to translate Rosie’s expression as best they could. “I believe there’s been a mixpup here,” one user quipped.
Other users claimed that she appeared like she was mentally defending her pups. According to one user, Rosie’s face said, “so what?!?! is that really such a big deal? are you sooo closed minded? really Karen?”
Kate Has To Defend Herself
Alongside the positive attention, some users were concerned that Kate and John had intentionally bred two foster rescues. Kate clarified that they had received Rosie already pregnant. “We weren’t going to abort her puppies,” she commented. “She will be spayed immediately when she can be.”
Since John and Kate already owned three rescue dogs, they intended to adopt Rosie as soon as she and her litter recovered. They wouldn’t have to wait long, but it did take some work.
But Rosie Wasn’t Doing So Well
Although the birth was successful, Rosie suffered some ill health. After the delivery, the Blacks realized that Rosie had an infection. They took her to the vet, who administered antibiotics for several weeks.
Rosie likely suffered from a bacterial infection in the uterus called Metritis, which happens after a rough birth. The symptoms could cause Rosie to reduce milk production and not be able to care for her puppies. Fortunately, she had Kate and John.
Kate And John Help Rosie Heal
While Rosie was recovering, the Blacks helped her by bottle feeding the pups. They were truly in love with each puppy, especially when they held them in their hands. Although they knew they couldn’t keep them, John and Kate cared for the pups as if they were their own.
Fortunately, Rosie healed in time. She eventually fed her puppies herself, and returned to being a happy, healthy mama. Her puppies also grew up with few complications.
Rosie Became A Good Mama
While social media users all pondered the strange relation, Rosie didn’t seem to mind one bit. She remained protective over her pups and cuddled beside them for weeks. Moo, Betsy, Daisy, and Clarabelle all grew up healthy.
“She is one proud mama,” explained Kate. According to Instagram, Rosie would go wherever her pups were. When Kate moved the puppies to clean sheets in a laundry basket, Rosie hopped in after them.
As It Turns Out, This Isn’t Uncommon
Pets4Homes authors reveal that puppies appearing different from their parents or littermates happens commonly among dogs, especially concerning mixed breeds. “When it comes to non-pedigree dogs…there is a lot more scope for variance, to the point that color and other manifestations of physical appearance can be quite variable within the same litter.”
What fascinates onlookers is that all of Rosie’s pups look like cows, and none of them even looked like dogs at first. As they grew up, they fit their form as dogs.
The Pups Are In Good Paws
Kate and John not only took great care of the puppies, but they kept the family’s biggest fans in the loop. They updated their Instagram page consistently to let everyone follow the cow puppies’ growth.
The puppies always hung around Rosie, often sleeping on her paws. The Blacks shared that Clarabelle showed her true colors early, being the loudest of the pups. As the mini-cows grew, their personalities shone through.
The Cows Grew Bigger In A Couple Of Weeks
By early December 2017, the pups celebrated their birthday of only a couple of weeks. Even by then, they developed individual personalities. On December 6th, Kate updated Instagram on the cow puppies.
“Daisy is a sweetheart, but a little anxious/shy/hesitant/fearful. Clarabelle is a hilarious, fearless spitfire. Moo is a snuggly baby that likes to be held, and cries when he wants attention. [Betsy is] the sweetest and most gentle puppy, I want to keep her!”
The Pups Part Ways
By the first week of January 2018, two different families adopted Betsy and Clarabelle. Although the Blacks felt sad to see them go, they ensured that each cow pup would receive the love and attention they deserved.
Daisy also got adopted, and her new family renamed her to Lily. Later, Moo gained a new home and a new name, Barkley. Moo, along with his new siblings Max, Mo, and Abby, all have their own Instagram account.
Rosie Must Say Goodbye To Her Pups
Rosie also entered a forever home. Although John and Kate will be sad to see Rosie leave, she will join a new family who won’t abandon her. Everyone knows that this will be better for her in the long run.
Once Rosie was well enough, John and Kate had her spayed. She can no longer have puppies, and may not see them again. But all dogs will be sent to a loving home.
A Fulshear, Texas Couple Was Caught In Hurricane Harvey
Did you love that story about the puppies that looked like cows? Then read on for a heartwarming tale about a cow that “pretended” to be a dog to survive. In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the lives of many individuals living in Louisiana, Belize, Nicaragua, Texas, and many more places. City streets and country pastures became flooded in the process and folks like Tammy Canton and her husband were in a bad predicament.
Canton and her husband were just one of the thousands who had to figure out how to survive this disaster. For them, however, they faced a slightly different situation on top of the hurricane…
The Cantons Opened Their House Up As A Shelter
The Cantons provided a safe haven for two additional families and eight more dogs! Imagine all that commotion going on in your household. Space was tight for them over in Fulshear, Texas.
Then, out of the blue, Tammy’s husband saw something that would make things a little harder for everyone and take up more space. What exactly did he spot? In a hurricane, there is no telling what could pop up, so prepare yourself for this shock…
Their Shelter Grew By One Unexpectedly
If you were in this situation, what would be the last thing you expect? Well, one of the family’s pet cows had given birth unexpectedly right after the storm passed.
“My husband noticed she [the calf] was standing in water not nursing from her mom,” Tammy explained. Usually, the mother cow nurtures the calf after delivering it so for the calf not to be nursing from the mother that sends immediate red flags. Something else was going on…
A Weak Calf
“The water was extremely cold,” Tammy added, “and the pasture was holding quite a bit of water.” Have you ever seen a stray dog in the rain? Well, imagine that times ten with this poor little calf.
Tammy also noted that the calf was “weak and shivering from the cold rain.” What could the couple do about this? One thing is certain, they couldn’t just stand around and let the little animal suffer out in the cold!
Baby animals can’t survive long on their own and that’s just a proven fact. The weather was bad and the conditions were even worse, so this calf could only last so long with no support. The clock was ticking.
Tammy knew all of this and was aware that she and her husband had to take action. Even with the house already filled with people and dogs, they decided to play hero again for the sake of the calf.
Help Is On The Way
Like the good Samaritans they are, Tammy and her husband braved the flooded pasture en route to the young cow! We don’t know how many others would have the strength to do this.
When Tammy arrived at the calf, she saw how bad of condition she was in. She was super weak and could barely stand all while violently shivering from the cold. “She seemed too far gone for me to help her,” Tammy said.
Her Name Is Harveigh
Tammy and the family decided on naming the little calf Harveigh. Due to her being so young, she had not developed a strong enough immune system that could battle that kind of weather. Also, with no help from her mother, things would be tough.
That’s why a veterinarian suggested that Tammy needs to keep Harveigh inside as she regained her strength. Harveigh needed a space of her own so Tammy decided to place her in the laundry room.
Road To Recovery
Weeks passed by since the rescue of little Harveigh and things were starting to look brighter for the young cow. She was resting on a dog bed and eating hand-fed formula during this time.
As the days passed by, Harveigh got stronger and stronger so Tammy and the family hoped she would be able to go back to the pasture soon. Surprisingly, Harveigh was able to make some unexpected and much-needed friends during her recovery phase…
Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls are really a ball of joy. One night, the family pit bull named Sealy decided to start licking Harveigh and the calf perked up with joy almost instantly.
“All of the dogs seemed to love her right away,” Tammy said. What anyone didn’t know is that this was only the beginning of something special and unexpected. What do you think could have possibly happened next between Harveigh and the rest of the family?…
A New Friendship
Just like that, the start of beautiful relationships blossomed right before everyone’s eyes. It was almost like something out of a children’s storybook, but we aren’t complaining! Harveigh started to heal from her past ordeal and quickly began to love her new environment.
Harveigh started adopting the behavior of her new found friends! She swiftly became one of the dogs as she played with them every day and night. Who would have seen this coming??
Animal Kingdom Friendship
The good news is that the feelings were mutual! This is seriously a Disney novel in the making due to the dynamics. Can you even imagine a pit bull bonding effortlessly with a calf?
“Sealy loves to spend her time playing, cleaning, and protecting baby Harveigh. These two have such a special bond,” Tammy wrote on her Facebook. The only word to describe this relationship is special. We know Tammy was enjoying every second of this…
Everyone knows a regular home isn’t equipped to house a cow. The little calf that got along with the pit bull eventually grew to over 400 pounds. She was soon a handful and Tammy needed to figure something out.
Harveigh grew so big that she couldn’t even fit in the laundry room anymore! As a result, she needed a place to crash. What do you think Tammy and her husband decided to do next with Harveigh?
If an animal starts to live inside for too long then only one thing can happen. Said animal will get used to the luxuries and not like going back outside. That’s what happened with Harveigh.
After a while, she wouldn’t even graze the pasture with any of the other six cows. Whenever Tammy and her husband would bring her out to the barn, she eventually showed back up at the door, mooing to come back in.
Welcome To The Cow Condo
Tammy and her husband did whatever any loving caregiver would do. They came up with a way to accommodate Harveigh without compromising her happiness too much. The result was something they constructed called the “cow condo.”
They used the shed in the backyard to make a personal house for her! She had a personal space heater in there for crying out loud! She was living the life in this half-way home between barn life and the house.
Not Liking The New Place
Even with Tammy dedicating Harveigh with her a space to call her own, that wasn’t enough for her. In only the first night in the condo, she left it and chose to sleep outside by the main house’s door.
Why didn’t she want to stay inside the condo? Harveigh ended up staying in her personal home as little as possible and elected to play with the dogs and everyone in the family. That secluded life just wasn’t for her…
Things Eventually Change…
As more time passed, Harveigh started to grow even larger, as cows do. Her new size became something of a burden as she became a danger to the friends around her.
Harveigh used to be able to hang around the other animals and people without anyone watching, but she soon would need a chaperone. Her size alone could’ve hurt the dogs if they were roughhousing too much. No one wants to see a hurt doggo!
Making A Cow
As you’ve followed the story, you’ve learned that Harveigh didn’t have the traditional upbringing a cow has. Due to this, Tammy had to take measures into her own hands and try to convert Harveigh back into a regular cow.
She had different steps in her process but one thing she always did was take her out to the barn for quick visits. Those visits resulted in mixed results so Tammy’s efforts were almost a waste…
“We are slowly introducing her,” Tammy said. “It’s so hard not to go and just get her out. If she wants to learn how to ‘cow,’ she will need to spend time with them.”
This sounds like a classic case of trying to turn a house dog into an outside dog. For one, it isn’t easy for both human and dog. Secondly, it takes longer for the animal to grasp the concept, but with Harveigh seeing the other cows outside, that probably helped a little more.
The Sneaky Cow
Maybe you’ve had a pet or known one that figured out the secret. The secret we’re referring to is opening up the door with no help! Harveigh learned how to get in through the back door on her own.
Whenever she grew weary of cow stuff she would just make herself at home, but there were still rules involved. “I don’t let her free roam in the house,” Tammy said. “Just quick visits to come in and say hi to our dogs.”
Yes, Harveigh had to shed most of her dog habits in order to adapt to the cow life, but Tammy couldn’t help herself from bringing her in for some pampering every now and then. She even gave her a dog treat on occasion.
“It fills my heart with joy being able to spend so much sweet time with her,” Tammy explained. “She will literally lay her head on my lap and be at peace.” What an epic story.