The new adventure in the life of Cloa’s Ark sanctuary is due to the fact that all the animals are loosing their present residence in Upton MA (the owners are not willing to continue leasing their land to us). So, we are desperately searching for new pastures for our large family before winter comes. However, we temporarily found a large pasture located about a mile from our present location, that a nice neighbor is willing to lend us. Unfortunately, the only access to the land is through a dirt path in the woods that belongs to another neighbor and we need his permission to use it.
After talking back and forth with them, they finally agreed that we could use the path to bring our two steers into the field. So, Patrick with the help of a local farmer and his friend, came to the sanctuary to move both Marley and Clifford. Marley is a 4 year old zebu of formidable appearance, 1000 lbs of solid muscle and adorned with large horns on his head. He is such a handsome animal. Clifford, the other steer, is a 1 year old Jersey we adopted from a dairy farm. The plan was to move the 2 boys from an upper pasture in their present location to the new pasture across the street and through the woods. In order to do that, the whole move had to be calculated very carefully in order to go smoothly. We will also use another field next to their’s where we will have 11 of our goats and 6 others are in the upper field.
We opened the gate to bring the 2 boys into the goat pasture while being careful to keep the goats in their stall that morning. The men attempted to slip a harness around Clifford’s head as well as Marley, but they were not very cooperative. So plan B, was to move all the goats in one stall so that we could move Clifford and Marley into the other in order to restrain them and set them up with the harness. Red, the farmer, took hold of the rope around Marley and here goes Marley like a house of fire while the rope keeps slipping through Red’s hands burning the palms of his hands. Patrick runs after Marley and ties him to a large wooden post at the corner of the field so that he could lead Clifford out of the field to the side of the street and go across with him. Red’s friend was walking with Patrick just in case.
After a shaky beginning, Clifford calmed down and walked down the path to the new pasture. The two men walked back down to go get Marley and right before their eyes, Marley pulled himself free, braking his large leather collar, leaving the rope tied to the post. In everyone’s amazement, he started running down the street! Patrick caught Marley making a bee line to a neighbor’s back yard, as he disappeared behind the house.
At this point the men jumped into the van and drove to the house where they last saw Marley. The new plan was to lasso him and tie him to the hitch in back of the van and to drive very slowly to get him across the street, through the woods, and into the pasture. Patrick went to check on him in back of the house. Marley was contemplating the edge of the woods and decided that it was not safe enough being too dense. He turned around running to the front of the house right through the flower bed.
The men lassoed the rope around his horns and tied it to the harness then tied it to the back of the truck at which point Marley rolled to the ground to play dead. Patrick had called me as I was taking care of our other animals and asked me to quickly come to the scene. As I arrived I saw Patrick and the two men, as well as a lady (the owner of the house) and I did not immediately saw Marley, who was laying at their feet behind the flower bed looking as though he was dead.
At first I was shocked. I had never seen him in this position. I kneeled down beside him, talking to him softly and petting his face for a while. Red tried to have him stand up again but no go, Marley was like a stone wall.
At this point the men decided to untie him completely.
Patrick tried to save the day with a bright idea. He decided to go get Sietchie, the other Jersey calf we adopted and who is presently convalescing in another field at the sanctuary, from an injury to her jaw.
Sietchie and Marley got to be friends from the beginning when they both arrived at the sanctuary and Patrick thought that if Marley saw pretty little Sietchie trotting down towards him, it might bring up to his feet again. So Patrick goes to get the harness and the rope to go get Sietchie and a few minutes later we see Patrick walking down by the side of the street with her towards Marley and our little group.
As soon as Marley saw her, he came right to his feet and followed them across the street and through the path in the woods. As soon as they arrived at the edge of the gate, Marley saw Clifford in the pasture. Patrick opened the gate and Marley went in, voila!
Patrick walked back with Sietchie, who was very docile and we all returned to the sanctuary to complete our morning chores.
We thanked the farmer and his friend after 3 hours of excitement with Marley’s great escape.