By Susan Hayhurst
This is a true confession. We hug our cows.
You probably think we’re desperate for attention, deep down want a real fur coat or are a few flakes shy of a square bale.
On the other hand, how can you not hug a Hereford? Those big brown eyes rimmed with frilly long lashes just beckon you to encircle their necks with your arms and give a big squeeze.
We're definitely a hugging family. Some of my favorite cattle show or fair pictures feature our daughters, from a young age through high school, lying on their Herefords' backs, hugging them around their linebacker necks.
Man’s best friends, dogs, are lavished with attention and hugs throughout the day. Cats crave devotion and assume you want them to drape themselves around your neck or across your stomach. Goats climb hills to say, “Here I am!” Horses whinny and toss their manes to say, “Don’t forget me!” Sheep fall over and play dead so we run to them. Chickens peck at you until they get what they want. Pigs snort and chew on you.
Value of hugs
Hugging is also a healthy pastime. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that hugging decreases your risk of getting sick while under stress. Blood pressure can be lowered by hugging. Best of all, they say it’s very therapeutic. Beats paying a therapist!
Hugs are best given in volume. I challenge you to hug more and shake hands less. Hug that person who seems unhuggable.
One of my most precious memories is my late gramma always telling me she loved me "a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” Hug your cows, goats, sheep, horses, cats, dogs — oh, and your family. Just hug. It’s good for the soul.
Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute.
Editor’s note: Susan, sometimes those sheep are dead! Take it from someone who knows. Maybe they didn’t get enough hugs!