Every buffalo at Oakcreek is a special and unique animal. Tootsie is very SPECIAL, she is my bottle babe and thinks I am her mother. She was her mother Dorothy's first calf, and Dorothy had calving difficulty and did not accept her new babe. I didn't know there was a calf, but was concerned about Dorothy's condition and called the vet. He said there was probably a baby somewhere. Since two days had gone by, I did not expect to find a calf, but was hunting anyway without any luck. Then our male Pyrenees dog, Murphy, got my attention and led me to the two day old calf hiding in the buckbrush along the fence line.
The baby calf was scared to death of me, and hard to catch. So I went to the house and made a bottle of lamb's milk replacer and tried again. Tootsie fought the bottle when I finally caught her and tried to feed her. I was giving up and headed for the house to get assistance when I looked behind me. There was Tootsie, following along. I don't like to walk across the pasture on foot, but left the four-wheeler and walked Tootsie back to the corral. She took the bottle then, and I became a buffalo mom.
The next day, sixty members of the TORCH Christian Home School came for a field trip, and many made friends with Tootsie, petting her and having their pictures taken. After they left, I managed to get Tootsie's mother seperated from the herd and locked in the pen with Tootsie. It didn't help. They did not take to each other and after three days I let Dorothy go back to the herd.
Because Tootsie did not get the first mother's milk that would give her immunity, she was soon a pretty sick calf. A homemade ionic silver solution was the only antibiotic that Tootsie got, but it was enough. After a couple of months, her natural immunity kicked in and she became a fine, healthy calf. She went on trips with me, such as to a family reunion and to the Missouri Bison Assn summer meeting. Below you will see photos of her in the van with me and my mom.
Tootsie thought she was a dog and lived on the front porch for the first year. But when the neighbors told us she was playing on the road at night with the dogs, it was time for her to go to the pasture and become a buffalo. She had been going out to the pasture with the dogs through her own secret passages, so the transition was an easy one. But she comes running to me each day when I visit the herd.
In 2015, Tootsie had a baby girl on March 25th. I named her Caroline after me. Pictures below are updated.