Kathy Stevens

Babe: Wiseman, Mischief-Maker, Teacher, Friend

February 10, 2012 | Categories: Animals,Director's Corner

By Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director

Babe May 1, 1995-February 6, 2012

LOVE—SO MUCH LOVE AND THANKS—to all of you who shared kind and loving words of support, along with your memories of a beloved friend. I will cherish them for the rest of my days. A Huffington Post blog about Babe is in the works; meantime, enjoy some of my favorite memories…and please share your own! Particularly if Babe was your impetus for going veg, we’d love to hear your story.

For a (very) short while, Babe was a free-ranger. Only he never went anywhere. Free to roam the entire farm, Babe instead stood smack in the middle of the barn aisle, motionless as Peepers the duck patrolled the barn by waddling frantically back and forth, under Babe’s belly. “Quack-quack, quack-QUACK!!” he’d say, rushing under the black giant, who stood unfazed, eyeing the feed room.

A bunch of us were cleaning the cow field. I stood atop the tractor bucket to bellow instructions to volunteers who were spread throughout the large pasture. Babe wandered up to say hello, but got so close that when he turned his head to flick a fly away, he sent me sailing through the air. I landed with a thud, gathered my breath, then laughed hysterically. Babe startled, but then walked over and licked my head.

6:30 am. Two Kingston police cars pull down our driveway. I’m on my way out to a conference and roll down my window. “Are you missing somebody?” a young cop asks. I remember the smile on his face, and I remember somehow knowing that this was code for “Your cows are standing in the middle of the road.” In the road they were, all right…Babe had led his herd through the woods, down Potter Hill Road, and onto VERY BUSY Rt. 9W…and then just stood there. The escapade, and our return walk home (I led Babe, and the others followed) was on the evening news.

Omega Institute invites us to provide animals for their animal communication workshop. When I open the trailer door to see if Babe wants to join us, he evidently does, because he steps right in. I’ll discuss the unforgettable experience at Omega in my HuffPo blog, but a related memory is a dream I had after we returned home. In the dream, Babe came to me and said, “We did a good job this weekend. We did a good, good job. Thank you for choosing me.”

Thank you: big boy, wiseman, mischief-maker, teacher, friend, gentlest of beasts, for choosing us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babe remembered in pictures on Flickr.

  • Donna8449

    I’ll never forget spending time with Babe at the last CAS open house in 2011.  He was so huge but so very gentle…..I fed him by hand as visitors watched, and his mouth was so soft as he took the food from me.  After half an hour of hand feeding, my hands were sopping wet with saliva, but when I gave him a kiss goodbye, he reciprocated with his big wet tongue and drooled all over my face.  That’s a memory I’ll never forget!  RIP, big boy!

  • Kelly

    One day while volunteering at CAS, Walt had asked me to go start cleaning out the cow shelter.  He and some others would be along as soon as they finished what they were doing.  All the cows, except for Babe, had been led into an adjoining field, so as not to be in the way as we worked. 

    I talked to Babe as I went about my work.  He was one of my favorites and I could see in his spirited eyes a wisdom possessed by  very few.  As I shared my worries, the gentle giant approached me from behind and rested his massive head on my shoulder.  The sudden weight caused me to fall to the ground.  He stood above me, looking down wondering what this silly human was doing.  I laughed, stood up and was greeted by a  few gentle licks from the giant.  

    Yes, sometimes life will knock you down, but it is in getting up that we grow.  

  • Viv

    I remember Babe’s big brown soulful eyes. He was very present in the world, a lesson we all can learn. Thank you Babe. 

  • Linda

    Hi Kathy,  my husband Peter (Coley) and I visited you at CAS about a year and a half ago. Peter is an artist and had a showing in NYC a few months later inspired by your work and the animals at the sanctuary. We were thrilled to be able to donate a portion of the proceeds to CAS… only wish it had been more.
    Babe and Atlas were the two residents that touched us both the most and we were so sad to hear of both of their passings. Such beautiful, gentle and sweet beings. Love these stories about Babe! He had such personality when we met him.. came right up and checked us out! Peter has done and continues to do paintings inspired by Babe. I’ve attached a couple of them here. 
    We are so sorry for your loss and as always amazed by your dedication.
    All the best,
    Linda & Peter

  • Barbara

    I met Babe on a visit to CAS.  He reminded me of another…. a Holstein cow named Sleepy, a big, sweet loving creature who, like Babe had an obvious affinity to humans, with little or no restrictions.  I recognized that in Babe and could see he knew me as well.  I’m very happy he led such a wonderful life with you and could be such a profound ambassador.

  • Mi-Lyn Dolan

    I remember when CAS was filming a video to send to  Ellen Degeneres to encourage her to make a trip to the sanctuary to do her show.  Babe was featured in the video.  At one point Babe was in the barn and wandered into the stall where Ozzie the potbelly was confined due to an injury.  Babe was trying to turn around in the tiny stall so he could get back out, and I’ll never forget the look on poor little Ozzie’s face as the two of us flattened ourselves against the wall to give Babe room to get back out.  I have never seen a potbelly make themselves as small as Ozzie did that day.

  • Valerie

    Hi Kathy,
    I was at the farm this past summer  and also attended the  “MOGO” workshop in NYC.  I will always remember the way you spoke to all of us that day in the city. And spoken with so much compassion heart and truth. I know how our relationships are so profound  with animals and how deeply they touch us. Good-bye Babe, your spirit lives forever.

  • Kathy Stevens

    Thanks, Ginny. He was a remarkable being whose imprint is profound.

  • Ginny

    Wonderful post!