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People Are Cuddling Cows to Help Cope with COVID Isolation @BellaBonnieCuddleCows via Facebook
@BellaBonnieCuddleCows via Facebook

People have been coping with the coronavirus pandemic in many different ways, but one trend has been found as an opportunity to deal with the painful isolation. Cow hugging has become recently increasingly popular, as people like Renee Behinfar, who lives alone in Scottsdale, Arizona, turned to cuddling bovines to compensate for her longing for affection.

Behinfar, a psychologist, told the Washington Post, “It was really my first hug of the year,” reminiscing when Sammy the cow, a rescue from a dairy farm, put her head in Behinfar’s lap and fell asleep. This brought Behinfar to tears at Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary, and people can see how cow cuddling can help someone’s well-being, especially during these times.

Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary

One farm in upstate New York also offers the udderly unusual wellness treatment and mental health benefits for people to de-stress. Mountain Horse Farm located in Naples, New York about five hours from Manhattan, is letting guests cuddle up to these larger mammals for $300 a pop. Yes, you read that right, people are spending $300 to spend an hour and a half cow cuddling in a field.

The bed and breakfast (which also features a spa) hosts couples retreats and relaxing weekends, but what makes this Finger Lakes farm so unique is the Horse & Cow Experience. Said to “bring relaxation, healing, awareness about your body language, comfort, Mindfulness, build assertiveness, help with overcoming fear, [and] build confidence,” the horse and cow experience is the perfect way to escape your hectic lifestyle and spend a few minutes hugging a 1,600-pound animal.

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Suzanne Vullers, originally from the Netherlands, owns the bed and breakfast, explaining that cow cuddling is also popular in her native country, calling it “koe knuffelen.”

The Unusual Dutch Wellness Trend Travelling the Globe – BBC REEL

Cows and horses are naturally calm and with the help of an equine specialist and a licensed counselor, this unique opportunity speaks to people who love furry cuddle buddies and are craving a good cuddle. According to the Mountain Horse Farm website, cows make great cuddle partners due to their higher body temperature, slower heartbeat, lower heart rate, and natural emotional support.

Bella and Bonnie the Cuddle Cows

Each cow cuddling session starts in the Gathering Tipi with breathing exercises and a “cup game”. Guests are ushered out to the petting zoo where its cow-cuddling time. The guests have the opportunity to pet, brush and hug the animals. After the session is over guests are ushed back to the Gathering Tipi to reflect.

As with any new trend (especially wellness trends), there are a few nay-sayers. Farm owners in Kansas have spoken up to share, “Their job is to make us money by producing beef and going to market so we can eat them eventually. That’s the Midwestern life of a cow.” Another farmer just uttered the word, “Insanity”.

I get it. I’m an animal lover all around. I yell, “Cows!” whenever I pass them on the road. I stop to pet random dogs and chase feral cats when I see them in parking lots. And yeah, maybe I don’t have a degree in Applied Animal Behaviour Science or anything, but I’ve always wanted to visit a cat cafe and do goat yoga or bunny yoga (heck, I’d settle for goldfish yoga if I had to). But would I spend that kind of money to snuggle with a cow? Well, I’d milk it for what it’s worth.

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 26, 2018.

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Lyndsay Burginger is a food and lifestyle writer as well as the Managing Editor of Wide Open Eats. Lyndsay has worked for companies such as America's Test Kitchen and Disney, and holds degrees in Creative Writing and Culinary Arts. When she's not writing or cooking you can find Lyndsay traveling ...Read more
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