Jonah & Odie


Two calves make it against all odds.

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Jonah and Odie defied all odds. Born male in a dairy farm, contracting a deadly disease so young, yet they survived. This is their story. 

This is Jonah and Odie. Brothers, best friends, and boys who have had each other’s backs through thick and thin. These gorgeous boys have not had an easy start to their young lives. In October 2022, they were two of seven calves born on a dairy farm, separated from their mothers at just a few days old so that their mothers could be milked for human consumption.

Their story is not an uncommon one. Sadly, most male calves are considered a “waste product”, and unviable for many dairy farmers to keep as they don’t produce milk.

Calves often arrive into our care malnourished and, in most cases, require veterinary treatment and around-the-clock care. In the case of Jonah and Odie, things were a lot worse.

After their rescue, it was apparent the calves were very unwell. Odie displayed signs of illness; and while Jonah came into care seemingly strong, his health went downhill after only a few days. The vet tested all seven positive for Cryptosporidium, a highly contagious parasite with an incredibly high mortality rate in calves. Terrifyingly, it is resistant to antibiotics and was left untreated and ignored before their rescue.

Soon both calves became very flat, refused feeds, were extremely weak and withdrawn and unable to stand. They were put on IV fluids to help replace the vast amounts of fluid they were losing, due to the illness making it hard for them to absorb nutrients.

Heartbreakingly, even with nonstop care and medical attention, three of the seven calves died. Leaving behind four calves, including Jonah and Odie, who remained fighting, for themselves, and their brothers.

Their carers didn’t give up and neither did they. From IV fluids for rehydration, strong medication and pain relief, constant cleaning of wounds and fresh bedding changed daily to electrolytes with milk feeds several times throughout the day and night, they started to improve along with the two remaining calves, Beatrice and Albert.

In the following weeks, Jonah and Odie’s sore and pale pink skin from hair loss began to lessen as new hair started to grow back. Odie had suffered hair loss to over a third of his small body – from his rear to his chest, cheek, chin, forehead, and belly. Slowly, as he began to recover, his hair began to grow back, but a different colour. 

To us, however, this only made him more unique and even cuter (if at all possible?). His new coat adorns his skin as a reminder of his fighting spirit.

Throughout it all Jonah’s sweet nature persevered. He became his Foster Carer’s shadow, getting as excited as a puppy whenever he would see her.

By the time their treatment finished, their bodies had started to heal. As a result, their energy levels increased, and their sweet personalities began to shine through. The brothers slowly began to play, running around their nursery and getting stronger each day. They were finally thriving and loving life.

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Jonah and Odie are their Foster Carer’s, Sarah, first calves to survive Cryptosporidium. 

They are now four months old, a milestone they would never have reached if it wasn’t for the generosity, kindness, and compassion we are so grateful to witness in this world. From our Foster Carers, from the public’s generous donations and from this community’s endless support.

Because of this, these boys have the best possible start to the life they deserve. Finally, they have a chance at a life transformed, from being treated as “waste” to the sweet companions they are.

Thankfully this story has a happy ending. After months of unconditional love and support from their Foster Carer, it was only fitting we found them a forever home to match. These boys have finally moved in with their new family, into their forever home. Here they will be loved and cherished for the rest of their lives. Free to live out their days as they please. 

Jonah and Odie are a testament to all that can be with kindness, compassion and a whole lot of dedication. 


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