When a bovine is stuck up to its belly in a pond, how do you get it out?
The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District faced — and eventually answered — that question near Ivy Hill Way and Albion Road in San Ramon on Sunday night.
San Ramon Valley Fire was alerted to the distressed female bovine at about 8 p.m., Battalion Chief Derek Krause said. After taking some slurps of water (presumably), the cow had wandered too deep into the pond and could not get out. On the shore, the cow's calf paced nervously.
The department brought in search and rescue. They illuminated the area with floodlights and pumped the water out of the pond. But with most of the water gone, the cow was still bogged down, belly-deep in mud.
Though it was a last resort, the SRVFD needed to be prepared. They contacted an animal control specialist in Davis if euthanasia became the only option.
"The challenge was the sticky mud," Krause said. "It was like a quicksand situation. You would get your boots in it and couldn't move."
Firefighters used hoses and created what Krause described as a "really wide swing" to pull the cow out of the mud and on a tarp. But, after struggling for hours, the cow was too weak to stand. So firefighters tied ropes around the cow and, using a windlass, dragged the cow to dry land.
Exhausted, the cow stayed on the ground, unable to stand. But, with some rest and human help, the cow climbed up on its four legs around midnight.
Thankfully, for the owner of the cow, Jeff Neilsen, and of course for the cow and its calf, there was no need for the animal control specialist from Davis.