By Robert Firth
An orphaned calf now thinks he’s a dog after being rescued by a family of German shepherd breeders.
Coral Algie, 52, and retired police dog handler hubby Wayne, 61, adopted day-old Buddy after his mother died when she got stuck in a dam near the couple’s farmhouse in New Italy, New South Wales after Australia’s dangerous drought reduced water levels.
Since arriving at their house, Santa Gertrudis calf Buddy has been taken on as an extra puppy by the couple’s two and a half-year-old German shepherd, Bada, who recently gave birth to a new litter of 11 pups.
And the adorable young bull calf, now six weeks old, has already picked up some hilariously canine habits – wagging his tail, playing chase with his pooch pals and snuggling up with the other puppies for a snooze.
Mum-of-four Coral said: “Bada has really taken Buddy on as puppy number 12.
“He doesn’t see himself as a calf, I think he sees himself as posher than them.
“He looks across at them in the paddock but he’s up on the back veranda enjoying all the comfort.
“He’s very content to hang with the humans and the dogs.
“He quite enjoys the grooming Bada gives him. He responds really well to her.
“She is grooming him all the time, licking him, cleaning his eyes – she is constantly with him.
“When he is out, she supervises him. She walks with him and chases after him.
“She is so generous with her time. She has been amazing.”
Coral and Wayne discovered newborn Buddy a day after trying to rescue his mother who died in a dam that borders onto their home earlier this month.
Despite his difficult start to life, the adorable calf quickly made himself popular with Coral and Wayne’s two younger children, Bella, 12, and Lawson, 10, because he loved to join in their games outdoors.
Coral said: “We found his mother in the dam. We tried to rescue her but unfortunately, we couldn’t save her.
“By the time we got her out she was totally exhausted and she passed away.
“But now, Buddy runs beside the kids when they’re on their bikes outside and he plays chase with Bella.
“He is very affectionate to us – he has assimilated very well.”
While Buddy has quickly made himself part of the family, playing with the couple’s children and puppies, they have so far kept the inside of their house out of bounds and he sleeps on the verandah of their farmhouse.
But they have had to quickly adapt to satisfying Buddy’s voracious appetite as the calf guzzles down no less than 10 and a half pints of milk a day.
He now weighs six stone but once fully grown will come in at a a whopping 95 stone on the scales.
But the family insist Buddy is a pet for life and will never be destined for use as meat.
Coral, who runs Von Rhys Kennels, said: “I think maybe we shouldn’t encourage chasing, as when he’s 600kg, it might not be such fun.
“But he will always be our pet bull, that’s for sure – no matter how big he gets.
“He won’t be destined for the abattoir – he will always be our big buddy.”