You’ll want to read to the end of this beautiful story! An amazing rescue with a lesson for us all.
Written by Marianne Willemse (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Baby Buff is a water buffalo who has lived at Love Animal Sanctuary in Thailand since June 21, 2006. She is called so even though she is around seven years old because the lawyer, who was involved with her rescue, calls all the animals he helps ‘his babies.’
In the photo above, she is with her son Baby Benz who was born, much to our surprise, on October 1, 2006. I named him Benz to give him some extra horse power to keep up with his feisty mum.
If it hadn’t been for her brave attempt to escape death, Benz would never have seen the bright sunny day he was born on. It could even have been because of him, because of the life that was kicking in her, that she looked death in the face and turned around.
She Escaped the Slaughter Truck
Breaking her rope, she bolted down the ramp, through the door and straight out the gate onto a main city road. She galloped down the road a bit and possibly to avoid the traffic at her heels, turned into a housing estate with a row of shop houses on the first street.
By this time, the people from the slaughterhouse were chasing her in a pick up and came screaming up behind her. It happened that the two front doors were wide open to a finance company, so the poor threatened creature swung in there to escape the truck.
It was a large room with computer operators in glass cubicles, so you can imagine what happened when Buff discovered there was no exit and she put the brakes on!
Thankfully Bystanders Stepped in to Help
$5,000 in damage was done! On the ground that amounts to broken glass, flying wood, screaming frantic people and a huge terrified animal lashing out in every direction. Suddenly a man came running through the door and shot the buffalo twice. She collapsed on the floor in the middle of the glass. She was wounded in the left shoulder and leg. Her whole head was imbedded with broken glass, her left ear was shredded in strips and bleeding heavily, she had cuts all over her whole body and she was foaming from the mouth.
She lay her head down and gave up. Then the men tied ropes around her horns and dragged her out onto the street with the pick up, awaiting the slaughter truck to turn up.
During this time, several reporters, a lawyer who represents animals and the police had turned up. They were shocked at what they saw. Then the Chinese owner of the finance company arrived. He too was shocked when he saw the poor buffalo. Because of all the damage to his property, he confiscated the buffalo and said he wished to spare its life. The kind man asked the lawyer if he knew a safe place for her to heal and stay the rest of her life. He said he knew just the place.
We Opened Our Hearts to Buff
Love Animal Sanctuary was immediately prepared and excited to receive such a clever, lucky buffalo. However, we were not prepared for the sight we first saw lying in the back of the big truck. They couldn’t have tied her down with more ropes! The floor was thick with blood. She was grunting and snorting and extremely angry.
Well, wouldn’t you be after a day like that? My heart reached out to her. I had to cut all those ropes off her immediately. “Open the doors and set her free,” I yelled. “Help me get this poor baby out of this!”
It took a long time to cut all the ropes off her; it was dangerous and the staff was afraid, so we had to go slow. When she finally jumped on her feet ready to charge in any direction, we dropped the ramp down. We assumed she would head out into the field, happy to be free, but instead she made a u-turn and came back for revenge. Head down, cut off ropes still tightly woven around her horns, dangling around her face, she charged the people around the truck. Everybody piled on top. Luckily we had left one very long rope around her neck which we managed to tie to a tree so there was a limit to how far she could go. We all took off in the truck until she couldn’t reach us.
Teaching Her to Trust Again
It took me days to haul her in on the rope, get her closer and closer. We couldn’t touch her to clean her wound, but she let us hose her down. The shoulder was heavily swollen, two big gaping holes. We squirted the wounds with antiseptic herbs and powder but after a week, the swelling wasn’t going down and she was limping. We had to get the bullets out. I was afraid of any rough treatment on her, like tying her down to get injections, because then she would get afraid and angry again, so I had to find another alternative.
Then I decided to call the Asian Healing Institute and asked if they did buffalos. Indeed, Cory, a Reiki healer and a vegetarian, was delighted to be able to help if she could, although she had never done a buffalo before.
Reiki is what I would call a kind of sub-atomic energy healing where the negative and positive ions come into balance from the influence of a higher magnetic force channeled through the healer. I don’t know how else to describe it, all I can say is, it certainly worked for Baby Buff!
When Cory arrived, Baby Buff was munching grass under a tree in the field tethered with a 20 meter rope. I asked if I should make the rope shorter to get her closer to the tree, but Cory said, “Don’t worry, if this works, you won’t need the rope anymore!” She said it might take a while so I could just leave her there with the buffalo and attend to something else. I thought I would stay and watch, but after ten minutes of Cory staring at Baby Buff eating grass, I got bored and left.
Half an hour later I got back, just in time to see the most amazing thing. Baby Buff had stopped eating grass and was walking straight to Cory who stood there with her arms out ready to receive her. Buff placed her forehead on Cory’s chest and the healer embraced the buffalo’s head. They stood like that for five minutes. Then the buffalo backed away a step and kneeled in front of Cory, her bottom still in the air, like she was paying respect to Cory. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Buff stood like that for a while until she finally lay down. Then Cory turned and yelled, “Come closer, you can do whatever you want with her now!”
A Moment that Brings Goose Bumps
And that was pretty much true. A lady came to visit an hour after Cory left and she raced out into the field to hug the buffalo which she had read about in the newspaper and wanted to donate a new house for. Before I could stop her, she flung her arms around Baby Buff’s neck and the buffalo didn’t mind at all. In fact, she stood there with a big grin on her face like, hey, today’s my birthday for the first time in my life.
That evening I got one bullet out of her shoulder. She stood very still and let me do it. The other remains firmly embedded in her leg bone, but it healed over and doesn’t seem to bother her at all. Now all that remains are a few scars on the outside; the inside ones have all healed. Baby Buff’s life is full of joy again. Now she shares her life with Boon, Miracle, Noah (bullocks) and Madonna, our beautiful water buffalo family, whom she joined after her baby was born. They have many other friends to hang out with, like Joe the goat, Zoe the wild pig, Saddam the rooster or Gin the talking goose, all residents of Love Animal Sanctuary where every individual counts. You can see more on our website.
Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase