KAYSVILLE -- A Kaysville calf got some good moos, er, news Thursday when some kind neighbors and patient city workers rescued its mother from a storm drain.
The cow had gone missing earlier in the week and had calved just two weeks ago.
Mama and baby were said to be doing well after their happy reunion, but it took a lucky break and a backhoe to bring them together again.
Melanie and Holden Holt were out for a walk Thursday morning when they heard a scratching noise coming from the drain. They looked through the grate, Melanie Holt said, and saw "lots of hair" attached to a large animal.
Animal control sent out a worker, who took one look and called for backup.
They couldn't tell what the animal was -- a dog? a deer? -- until the cow turned its head and showed a tag in its ear.
The cow's owner was located. The animal had been missing for several days and the owner had even walked partway into the drain, but didn't see her. Her calf had been nursing from another mother during her absence.
The owner and animal control workers made numerous attempts to coax or pull the cow out of the drain the way she got in, but without enough room to stand, she needed to drop to her haunches and crawl out.
They tried bribery (hay and oats) and coercion (a dog and a cattle prod) to pursuade the cow to come out the way she went in, to no avail.
A couple of construction workers had joined the rescue. Holden Holt, the workers and others got a rope, but the rope broke and the cow kept falling in the slippery culvert.
After hours of effort, the team changed tactics. Kaysville city workers were called and decided to dig up part of the road, using a backhoe.
Eight and a half hours after the Holts first heard a scratching sound, the cow was lifted out of the drain, free at last.
"It was really miraculous," Melanie Holt said. "The cow had scrapes and scratches, but considering, she looked great."
The cow was given antibiotics, supported and warmed in the sun before she gathered enough strength to walk around, even acting a little feisty. That's when she was returned to the corral to reunite with her calf.
Holt said the spirit of cooperation and concern among all the workers was impressive.
Seven or eight animal control workers were involved, with at least two or three on-scene throughout the cow's rescue, Holt said. Some returned after their shifts were over, and with so much invested in saving the cow, they had a suggestion for naming her: "Storm."