We have such a strong bond with our cattle it has made us determined to find new ways of ensuring our cattle live longer and happier lives than the average cow. Preparing them to be pets has worked really well. Preparing them as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) co-workers is a source of great pride. You can support this work and our anti-bullying program by adopting a calf or purchasing a limited edition mascot. We now have two new roles for our miniature cattle that doesn't involve them leading short lives and ending up as meat. This makes us very happy and our cows even happier.

Our Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) training is now in full swing Late in 2012, we started preparing our smaller grade Galloway cattle to work with therapists wanting AAT co-workers. Now, our full blood and purebred Miniature White Galloway cattle are proving they can do this too. We are calling our Miniature White Galloways that are AAT trained 'Cuddle Cows'.

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Kissing calves is the highlight of many a day. Seriously - you couldn't call this work!

Cuddle Cow Website

Our new Cuddle Cow website is introducing this aspect, of these cattle, to kids and the young at heart. Our adoption program and mascot purchases support this training and the publishing of anti-bullying material online. Follow our Cuddle Cows on facebook.

Why  Use Miniature  Cattle  For  AAT?

Not all people in wheelchairs are able to enjoy the freedom of riding horses, but they can certainly enjoy bonding with our miniature cattle. It was fascinating to watch the interaction when we introduced our cows to another new concept - a young man on wheels. 

Rodney has been in a wheelchair since he was old enough to walk. Now twenty years old, Rodney has grown into a determined young man with an attitude of 'Disability - what disability?!' So, when he visited we started Rodney off by encouraging him to say hello to little TwoDee. TwoDee only came half way up Rod's shoulder so he didn't feel at all intimidated by the little heifer. (I was so focussed on the proceedings I forgot to take a photo).

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Rod is saying hello to a cow, really up close and personal, for the first time. Dusty is not fazed by the wheelchair.

When Rodney and TwoDee were 100% comfortable with each other we gradually introduced TwoDee's Mum Dusty. A full grown miniature cow, Dusty measures less than 120cm at the hip. However, weighing in at around 400kg, that is a lot of weight to be thrown around if something goes wrong. Rodney was acutely aware of this at first. As he spent more and more time with Dusty Rod became more engrossed in what he was doing and totally oblivious to their differences. It was soon apparent that as much as Rodney was a, 'Disability what disability?' kind of guy, Dusty was a,' Wheelchair what wheelchair?' kind of girl.   

When we progressed to TwoDee's Mum, Rod wasn't quite so convinced. However, it only took a little while for him to be reassured that all was well. Five minutes later they were firm friends. Dusty seemed to intuitively understand that she shouldn't lean too close to Rodney or the wheelchair. Generally, when we brush her Dusty will lean right into us, but she didn't do this to Rodney. 

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Rodney gives Dusty a very tentative brush. He has never been in a paddock full of cows before.

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Dusty letting Rodney know that she likes his brushing technique and that she's cool with his wheels.

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Rodney is looking pretty pleased with the new friendship. Dusty is very relaxed and enjoying the company.

Preparing Cattle For The  Unexpected

One way of ensuring that the cattle we are training as AAT co-workers are prepared for the unexpected is to introduce them to as many children as we can, as often as we can. The children are perfectly safe. We explain what they can expect from the cattle and what they need to mindful of - basically the worst thing one of our cows will do is walk away from them.

The more visitors of all shapes and sizes the cattle meet, the more likely it is that they will encounter all sorts to weird and unusual happenings - for AAT training this is a good thing. Our cattle have now learned that loud noises, sudden movements and excited chatter are part and parcel of the interaction with children (and many adults for that matter!)

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GOLD CREEK Galloway miniature cattle love nothing more than a paddock full of kids with brushes.

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Helping  Others  Helping  Us

We try to make as much time as we can to meet great new people and introduce them to the joys of owning these gorgeous little White Galloways. First timers love the opportunity to get up close and personal with our miniature cattle. Some of our recent visitors were keen to really get hands on. They didn't want to pass up a chance to 'learn the ropes' while they were here. So, out with the halters and our cattle were only too happy to teach people about halter training and grooming.

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Huggie puts her head to one side and says, "OK Geoff, now just scratch me here and we will be on our way".

This interaction is more than a two-way street. While we are passing on our experience and teaching others how to halter train and walk with the cattle, the cattle are learning about new people too. The more positive experiences the cattle have with different people the better AAT co-workers they will become. The better AAT co-workers they become the more people they will help. So, the bottom line is everyone's a winner.

The  Cattle  Truly Benefit

Not all our cattle that go through this intensive training will become AAT co-workers. However, they will all enjoy the benefits of the extra training when they go on to be someone's treasured paddock pet or find themselves being looked after by someone in a wheelchair.  It is human nature to take better care of the things we love and the things that improve our lives in some way. This is what we hope to achieve for all of our cattle - better lives.

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Geoff and Huggie are a real team and show us how easy this 'walk on' caper can be.

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Tamara says, "stand". TwoDee says. "Sure, but  photograph this profile please, I look much better."

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Tamara and TwoDee are really enjoying a bit of teamwork and are leading very well too.

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