CORNING – For the first time ever, a cow has been named to the Iowa Animal Hall of Fame. Aubry, a Red Angus cow belonging to Connor Haggerty of Corning has been named as the winner in the hall of fame’s companion category.
Connor is the son of Rex and Missy Haggerty. Aubrey was nominated for the award by Drs. Scott and Ryan Shuey of Southern Hills Veterinary Services in Corning.
Presented by the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) and Merck Animal Health, the Iowa Animal Hall of Fame awards animals for their bravery, companionship and professional contributions to people and the community. Sixty-four animals from across Iowa have been inducted into the Iowa Animal Hall of Fame since its inception 21 years ago. The awards were given in three categories – companion, hero and professional.
Connor’s family purchased Aubrey, who had been raised as a bottle calf, as a 4-H bucket calf project for Connor, who has autism. From the very beginning, Connor and Aubry bonded and became very close. Although Connor is very apprehensive about other cattle in the herd, Aubry’s gentle manner allowed Connor to gain the confidence to be around cattle.
“It is very rare to see an animal so patient and kind with humans as Aubry. She always moves slow around Connor and she’s patient as he leads her,” said Dr. Scott Shuey.
Connor showed Aubry at the Adams County Fair the next year as a bred heifer and for the following two years as a cow-calf pair, even winning reserve champion cow-calf pair. That first bucket calf 4-H project has allowed Connor to grow his own cattle herd. He now has four head of cattle, all descended from Aubry.
The skills Connor learned by showing and caring for Aubry have improved his life in other ways. His schoolwork and cognitive skills improved and he became more involved at school.
“Through Aubry, Connor has grown from a quiet, reserved individual who lacked self-confidence and social skills to a young farmer who is very proud of his cow herd and looks forward to making more friendships daily,” said Dr. Ryan Shuey.
Connor’s mom, Missy is proud of how confident around cattle Connor has become.
“Aubry lets Connor get close to her new calves, something other cows in the herd don’t always do. Aubry has also helped Connor be more aware of his surroundings, something kids with autism have a hard time with. He’s learned to be more responsible for himself as well as for something else,” she said.
Drs. Shuey and Shuey were recognized Sept. 20 for nominating the 2018 Iowa Animal Hall of Fame winners at the 2018 Iowa Veterinary Medical Annual Meeting in Ames. The animals and their owners will be recognized April 27, 2019, at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s Raise Your Paw Auction at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
For more information about the Iowa Animal Hall of Fame award program, visit www.iowavma.org. IVMA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, member-service organization dedicated to the veterinary profession. IVMA supports member veterinarians and promotes the profession through continuing education, publications and advocacy.