An old Holstein cow, now living in retirement, has a special place in the hearts of a Victorian family.
Annabelle has turned 25 and is way past milking on the Merrigum farm of Bob and Nanette Casella, in northern Victoria.
But she is seeing out her declining years as a guest on the farm.
Annabelle lost her mother at birth and bonded with the Merrigum couple’s daughter Kaihla King.
‘‘Her mother died when she was born and I reared her from that point,’’ Kaihla said.
‘‘I remember the simple things from when I was younger like laying with her in the shed.
‘‘When she was only a young cow, she would come up to my bedroom window.’’
Nanette described Annabelle’s love of oats and her proximity to the house.
‘‘I’ve always said when I’m using oats inside that she would come into the house (if we let her),’’ she said.
‘‘The other day she was at the archway (near the walkway to the front door).’’
Despite the family normally culling the farm’s cattle at eight to 10 years old, Annabelle holds a special place in their hearts.
‘‘She is my pet cow. Annabelle is my one and only girl. I have three boys (children),’’ Kaihla said.
‘‘Five years ago, I went to say my goodbyes, we thought it was the end as she couldn’t get up, but I also gave her a talking to and she was up the next day.”