Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 49

By MARLA HARDEE MILLING
Photos courtesy HAPPY HENS AND HIGHLANDS FARM

W

hen Emily and Adam
Hopson created a farm in
2014 in Western North
Carolina, they knew they
would face challenges
along the way, but nothing so far has compared
to the heartache of caring for a special
needs calf and the joy of witnessing his
miraculous recovery.
Baby James came into the world in
May 2017 and didn't have the sucking
ability required for nursing. The Hopsons
believe he may have been brain damaged at birth from oxygen deprivation.
The tiny calf immediately tugged at their
hearts and they brought him inside their
home for almost a month as they fed him
through a tube and loved on him. They
even made little booties for him to wear
so he wouldn't slip and slide on their
hardwood floors. Their dogs adopted
Baby James and took over some of the
mothering duties by cleaning him and
accepting him.
Baby James learned to take milk from a
bottle and was growing stronger, but the
Hopsons were unaware of a larger problem. When they took him to a vet for
castration, he discovered his naval hadn't
closed off and was severely infected.
"He had never seen an infection that
severe in a living animal," says Emily of
the vet.
The vet carefully explained how euthanization might be the best option, but the
Hopsons weren't ready to give up on the
tiny calf. They asked if the vet could keep
Baby James out of pain and allow time for
healing after the intensive surgery. The vet
said he could do that.
"He died for a few minutes on the operating table," says Emily. "It was the anesthesia that stopped his heart."
They were able to revive the calf and
finish the surgery with mild sedation. "My
husband had to help hold him during the
surgery. It was a three-hour procedure,"
she says.

LEFT: Baby
James found easy
acceptance from
the family's dogs.
RIGHT: Baby
Jamesstands with
two other orphans,
Little Girl and
Judith.
LOWER
RIGHT: Emily
and Adam Hopson
ride with Baby
James and dog
Beulah.

Their dogs adopted Baby James and took
over some of the mothering duties by
cleaning him and accepting him.
The Hopsons detailed the effort to save
Baby James on their blog at happyhensandhighlands.com. And word began to
spread about this tiny calf with a strong
resolve to live, along with the love of his
caretakers.
"I was contacted by a company that
writes stories and sells to magazines and
newspapers," explained Emily. "The story
went world-wide and appeared in USA
Today, Daily Mail, Telegraph Guardian
and others. People got attached to him
through our photos and videos. Many say

they watch our page every day."
Their efforts paid off. Today Baby James
is a healthy two-year old calf and beloved
family pet. He's also a mentor, of sorts, for
other sick animals.
One man who had followed Baby
James's story contacted the Hopsons and
asked if they could help with a sick calf
that he had.
"We took Timmy in," says Emily. "He
was a preemie and he was so small we had
to use a nasal tube to feed him."
Baby James and Tiny Tim are the

MAY/JUNE 2019

49


http://www.sandhighlands.com

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 10
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG12
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG13
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG14
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG18
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG20
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