We all need at least one good friend to keep us company, lift us up during the hard times, and navigate life with. But as we get older, it seems like it becomes harder and harder to make new friends. People’s lives get busier as they focus on their higher education, career, and even the families they’ve started on their own. With schedules so jam-packed, it makes it difficult to find the time and energy to make and keep close pals.
For a blind bison named Helen, her situation was a little different. No, her schedule wasn’t too busy. Rather, her disability made it a challenge to meet new friends. Although she lived among 200+ other critters at the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit in Scio, Oregon, that cares for once-neglected animals, she still remained lonely. But then she met a Jersey calf by the name of Oliver.
Oliver also resided at the sanctuary where Helen lived. Unlike other animals Helen has come in contact with, young Oliver was there to stay. He thoroughly enjoyed being in her presence, as did she!
It all started with the Jersey calf being in a particularly outgoing and playful mood. Oliver immediately walked up to Helen and attempted to engage with her. However, Helen wasn’t used to this type of interaction, but the calf didn’t give up on their potential friendship. With several attempts to get her to warm up, the bison eventually became comfortable with him.
Now they’re inseparable, and best of all, Oliver’s momma, Betsy, approves of their friendship! Now they get to hang out every day.
“I catch them grooming each other which is amazing because I don’t think Helen has ever had the opportunity to express that motherly instinct before.”
Oliver may now be all grown up and a bit less playful as he was when he was just a calf, but Helen still appreciates her companionship with him. In fact, Helen the bison has had a significant impact on Oliver as he grew up.
“He’s actually turned into a baby buffalo. The change in her demeanor is incredible, her joy is palpable,” shares Gwen Jakubison when interviewed with USA Today.
It’s clear that both creatures have been positively benefited by the other. Helen has become more social and less lonely while her now-best friend Oliver got to consider Helen a mother figure and a good role model as he grew into an independent adult. And this is all partly thanks to the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary for giving the two the opportunity to thrive in the same environment and develop their friendship without any unnecessary barriers.
But what exactly does the sanctuary aim to do? According to a statement made by the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, “At Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary we believe that every individual has the right to freedom. Freedom from pain, freedom from fear, and freedom from oppression. We provide those with the most heartbreaking stories hope and the promise of the freedom to be themselves. A promise of companionship, of love, and of care.”
Helen and Oliver are in good hands, and the fact that they get to live together makes life that much more exciting for them!
Meet the best friends below.