Buttons, a disabled six-week-old shorthorn calf, has been given a new lease on life thanks to her “mum” — Strathmerton’s Kellie Payne.
And all it took was $10 and a helping of Aussie ingenuity to get it done.
Buttons’ hind legs haven’t functioned since birth, so to save her from being euthanased, Mrs Payne customised a wheelchair she had bought from an op shop to cater for the calf’s disability.
And boy, is the baby bovine taking advantage of it.
Frolicking about in her makeshift jalopy, Buttons tears around the yard chasing Mrs Payne’s lambs and dogs, relishing the newfound freedom she has been granted.
“We got her from a friend’s farm who no longer wanted her. They were actually going to put her down, so I said I would take her,” Mrs Payne said.
“Her back legs don’t work, she doesn’t have any feeling in them.
“The previous owners had her hind legs up in a sling to keep her standing up, so I bought a wheelchair from the op shop for $10, removed the backrest and put her in it.
“She gets out and chases the lambs, and actually picks up quite a fair bit of speed in it.”
Hundreds of people across the world have been able to keep tabs on Buttons’ progress through ‘The 4 Amigos’, a page Mrs Payne has set up on Facebook.
But while Buttons is now mobile, her life is still in jeopardy.
While the vets are not optimistic, Mrs Payne is doing all she can to extend the calf’s life expectancy.
With Buttons’ behind left red-raw from an inability to bear weight, Mrs Payne rubs Bepanthen cream on the calf’s rear to soothe the inflammation and uses remedial therapy to help recover any sense of feeling in her hind legs.
“The vet said Buttons’ disability is a neurological condition, which could have something to do with trauma she may have experienced when born,” Mrs Payne said.
“She gets physio three times a day, which involves bending her hoofs and giving her a massage. She has started to get a bit of feeling in her legs and is wagging her tail around.
“Whether she is going to get any better than this I don’t know, but I’m not going to give up just yet.
“I have said to my husband that I can’t put her down, I am busting my guts at the moment to keep her around.”
Mrs Payne has asked for anyone to come forward with ideas on how to further treat Buttons’ legs, or for people who know how to construct a bigger mobility device, to contact her on 0425 050 299.
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