Gotta love that animal magnetism


Move over, Flipper and Lassie. There’s a new animal hero in town.

This just in from Melbourne, Australia: A kangaroo is being credited for saving a farmer’s life.

According to wire service reports, the farmer was checking his property for storm damage when a branch fell and hit him on the head, knocking the man unconscious.

The kangaroo alerted the man’s family by banging on the door of their home. The man’s wife was suspicious at the animal’s relentless behavior and followed the kangaroo.

The kangaroo went to the man’s body and sat down, which is how the family found the farmer.

The wild kangaroo, which had been “adopted” by the family many years ago, never stays long at the farm, but roams the area.

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Speaking of another animal hero, the real story of Rin Tin Tin, a German shepherd, is too lengthy to share here, but it’s a good one (if you have access to the Internet, check it out at

The dog was saved from a bombed out dog kennel in France in 1918 (his name comes from little puppets French children gave the American soldiers for good luck).

Ultimately, Rin Tin Tin made 26 pictures for Warner Brothers and was considered to be one of Hollywood’s top stars at the time of his death in 1932. At his peak, he received roughly 10,000 fan letters a week.

(It was Rin Tin Tin II and IV that were used in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin that aired in ABC in the late 1950s.)

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From North Carolina State University, comes the story of another animal. This Holstein did nothing heroic, but taught hundreds of students about agriculture.

Part of the vet school’s teaching herd, “Sweet Pea” was everyone’s favorite cow because of her gentle nature.

She helped more than 700 students learn anatomy, palpation (she deserves a medal for this one!), and pregnancy diagnostic skills.

She even served as a “flower cow” at a wedding.

When Sweet Pea died in 1994, her skeleton was given a special position in the anatomy hall and the Holstein received a special university president’s award.

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Which brings us to Ohio State’s most famous cow, which would probably be forgotten if it wasn’t for the late Elden R. Groves, this paper’s longtime editor. It’s one of my favorite Elden stories.

Her name was Maudine Ormsby and, as Mr. Groves recounted in an early Farm and Dairy column, she lived in the mid-1920s.

It seems that the college of agriculture students got this Holstein named Maudine Ormsby elected homecoming queen. The other contestant was the late Rosiland Morrison Strapp, who received 12,000 votes – but there were more votes than voters.

According to Mr. Groves’ account, the committee decided it couldn’t crown a queen elected in a crooked fashion, so they gave the crown to a girl whose name had been written in several hundred times: Maudine Ormsby.

“Unfortunately, nobody checked to see if Maudine Ormsby was a registered student,” Groves wrote. “She was registered all right – but in the books of the Holstein Friesian Association of America and stabled in the college dairy barn!”

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And closing out our animal discussion, here’s a rather humbling observation from the field of genome research: Genetically speaking, Homo sapiens (man) is surprisingly similar to the fruit-fly.


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