The results of this decision surprised rescuers in the best way possible. The two animals slept together, and they were always in the same part of their stall. And when Lionel was finally strong enough to start walking again, Amos began following him around.
“We’d start letting the cow run around in the backyard, and wherever the cow went, the pig went. They were priceless. They bonded. They became inseparable,” enthuses Septer.
After the trauma they had already experienced in their young lives, rescuers did not want to see these two animals separated. Thankfully, Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary, the largest bovine sanctuary in the country, volunteered to take both Lionel and Amos and provide them with a forever home where they would never be separated.
“We were already working on the rescue of 40 cows in Sunrise, not too far from where they were,” says Sheena Drost, board secretary and office manager of Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary. “Finding out they were right up the road, the board met and decided we couldn’t just leave these two here.”
And so, on June 6, 2021, Lionel and Amos were taken to their new home in northern Florida, a 400-plus–acre sanctuary with facilities in Gainesville and Alachua that is home to more than 200 farm animals, 161 of which are cows.
Critter Creek protocol mandates that all new animals be quarantined upon arrival. But because Lionel and Amos were so bonded—even snuggling together when they sleep—the team created a setup where the two friends would have access to each other during quarantine.
“Amos was in a little stall inside the pasture, so at least he and Lionel could be nose to nose. We would also let Amos out to play with Lionel because they were so bonded,” recalls Drost.
Though they would be together, the road to recovery was a slow one because of the shape they were in. “Theirs was one of the worst cases we’ve seen,” explains Drost. “They do a body score assessment and the vet said it was the lowest it can be. Say on a scale of 1 to 5, they were at a 1, so it took some time and a lot of love. But they’re flourishing now.”