Ganga’s Story & Memorial
*Ganga Jal lost her battle with cancer this past Spring (2010)—Nandini is gathering photos and working on completing her story*
I’m Ganga Jal, a Guernsey cow named after the holy water of the River Ganges. But my story doesn’t start in India—it begins in Wisconsin.
My mother, Goldie Goldstar, was born there on a dairy farm owned by the Proctor family. When the Proctors moved to Florida they brought my mom along. After some time in the South, however, the Proctors realized that they couldn’t keep Goldie anymore. Not wanting to sell her to a commercial dairy (knowing well what her eventual fate would be), they asked their vet if he knew anyone who would take her. Fortunately for my mom, this vet knew about Save the Cow at the Krishna farm in nearby Alachua.
The Proctors asked the Save the Cow people if they would let Goldie live out her natural life on their farm. If so, the Proctors would give Goldie to them with only a few strings attached. You see, the Proctors had a teenage daughter, Jane, who was a member of the local 4-H club. She wanted to show Goldie at the county fair. So, string number one was that Jane could bring my mom the fair every year. String number two was that Goldie would be bred and if a female was born she too could go the county fair with Jane. Luckily for my mom (and for me), Save the Cow agreed to the proposal and Goldie Goldstar moved onto the farm. She was even given the Krishna name, Gauri (Sanskrit for Golden One), so she would fit into the herd.
When fall arrived, Jane and the Proctors came and took my mom to the county fair. Unfortunately, Goldie had a bump on her back that marred her bovine beauty (at least in the eyes of the dairy cow judges) and, as a result, she never won any prizes for Jane. So all hope was put in the next generation—that’s where I come into the picture.
My mother became pregnant by some strange method called AI (that’s artificial insemination, not artificial intelligence) and nine months later, on April 2, 2000, I was born (making me an Aires). Since cows can live to about twenty, a human year is about five cow years (as compared to dog years, which I understand have a 7:1 ratio). That makes my age about 40, in human years, that is. By the way, I am the youngest member of the Save the Cow herd. You see, and this may sound funny, Save the Cow is a Florida community for retired and rescued cows. But the history of Save the Cow is another story for another day.
Hi, Ganga Jal here. First, I would like to thank you for all the prayers and good wishes for my recovery. What started as a pain in the bottom turned out to be skin cancer caused by the sun. A biopsy returned a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma with surgical removal as the recommended treatment. Thus, my adventure began.
- Delivered in style by a real Florida cowboy (complete with an authentic Florida Cracker horse)
My surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, June 3, at the University of Florida in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The folks at Save the Cow tracked down a local Florida cowboy, Billy Ray Hunter, to transport me from New Raman Reti farm to the veterinary hospital. Billy Ray brought along his young son and a beagle dog, as well as an authentic Florida Cracker horse. Of course, I kind of cooperated so the horse and dog didn’t have to get involved, thank you very much.
- Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) at the University of Florida
What’s up with all the orange and blue signs?
- The patient patiently waiting in the waiting room
Here I am in the waiting room before my operation. At least they could have provided some magazines to eat, I mean read. I can’t tell you too much about the surgery since I couldn’t see anything. And they did give me a shot so I only felt a little discomfort while they were poking around back there.
- Post-op recovery
I spent a couple of days resting after the operation. Just kind of lying around daydreaming about my mom Gauri and my friend Molly, oh and the tasty green grass in the pasture back home.
- Waiting for the ride home
On Friday, they let me out to wait for Billy Ray and his truck.
- Ready to go
Here’s Billy Ray and his boy helping me through the chute onto the trailer.
- On the road
On the road again . . .
- Almost home
Are we there yet?
* * *
Now I’m home and healing, but there is a possibility that I may need some kind of bovine chemotherapy injections if the cancer returns. I’ll keep you posted.
As you know, there are millions of Americans without health insurance. Well, guess what? I’m one of them. So far, Save the Cow has spent about $1500 on my treatment—money that was saved up for fertilizing pastures. Hint, hint . . . you know what to do.