Friday, May 8, 2009

Ranch kid viewed cows as pets, not steaks

Cyndi Bennett (on right) has always been enamored with animals.

To this day, Cyndi Bennett despises shopping.

That's how her mother coaxed her away from the family's ranch when it was time to slaughter the cows each week.

Finally her father tried to put an end to Cyndi pleading for their lives.

"If you can name all the cows in the herd, I won't slaughter any of them this week," her dad told her.

There were 300 of them.

That didn't deter the fifth grader. She set up a computer spreadsheet noting all the cow's ear tags alongside the names she had given them.

When the time came, Cyndi was ready. One by one, her father pointed to a cow or yelled out an ear tag number. Cyndi recited each name from memory.

"No cows died that week," she said. "And that's why I hate shopping to this day -- because it reminds me of my mom taking me away so I wouldn't see the cows being slaughtered."

There was one cow who always escaped the table, though. Bessie was Cyndi's favorite, and became a family pet.

Northern Design owner and photographer Cyndi Bennett and I were out on a shoot together this week when we came across this St. Bernard named Barney who loves the ducklings growing up at his house. When the ducks come out to roam, Barney follows them around the yard with utter fascination and focus.

Cyndi cuddles Emma, a Whatcom Humane Society calendar hero.

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