Sunday, May 22, 2022
May 22, 2022

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Check It Out: Next best thing to a cow hug is a cow book

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Ready for a delightful bovine story? It’s all about cow hugs, and yes, this is a real thing.

I recently read an article about a cow named Lucky who was rescued from going to the slaughterhouse and sent to live out his “lucky” days at an animal sanctuary. (Actually, Lucky is a steer, but his rescuers call all of their bovine residents “cow boys” and “cow girls” — a practice I find rather sweet). The best part about Lucky, the cow boy, is that he has a unique talent for receiving and giving hugs. In fact, he’s become something of a celebrity, and people stop by the sanctuary just to experience a Lucky hug.

As it turns out, Lucky’s compassionate streak isn’t all that unique in the bovine world. One of the positive benefits derived from a cow hug — beside the obvious cuddle factor — is that a cow heart beats at a much slower rate than a human heart; so, if a cow is approachable (and soft and cuddly), leaning into a mooer can be quite restful and calming. In other words, a cow heart does a person heart good. I also learned that in some parts of the world cow hugs are in such demand that people will pay for the pleasure of embracing Clarabelle or Ferdinand.

Perhaps the next best thing to a cow hug is a cow book, so today’s reading recommendations include several titles about our bovine friends. It also feels like we could all use more hugs, but they’re still difficult to do in this pandemic world. Can reading about hugs ever come close to the real thing? Maybe not, yet I think it’s worth a try.

The picture book “The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs” will melt your heart with its sweet rhyming text and adorable illustrations of hugs between animal babies and their parents. And a reading list about friendly cows just wouldn’t be complete without the story of Ferdinand the flower-sniffing bull.

And because I believe that now, more than ever, we all need a reminder about being kind to one another, I’m asking readers to consider checking out “The Kindness Cure” by Tara Cousineau. We may not be able to give our loved ones the hugs we so desperately need, or to find a local Lucky to wrap our arms around, but we can treat each other with grace and kindness in these difficult times.

  • “The Backyard Cow: An Introductory Guide to Keeping Productive Pet Cows” by Sue Weaver.
  • “The Illustrated Guide to Cows: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them” by Celia Lewis.
  • “The Kindness Cure: How the Science of Compassion Can Heal Your Heart & Your World” by Tara Cousineau.
  • “The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs” written by Mark Sperring, illustrated by Maddie Frost.
  • “The Secret Life of Cows” by Rosamund Young.
  • “The Story of Ferdinand” written by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries. readingforfun@fvrl.org

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