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April 11, 2021

In Chapter Sixteen—“The Geoffrey Problem”, (From my novel, "Ripley of Valor”), Ripley is fearful for Babe’s life. She enters his stall and tearfully hugs the gentle ox. This scene was added at the last moment—shortly before the manuscript was to enter the first phase of editing. One of my artists, Lucy Lisset, was able to finish the illustration in time.

I had just discovered that "Koe knuffelen", or cow hugging, was the latest wellness trend. Originating in Reuver, The Netherlands, it has gained popularity across the world, with farms from Switzerland to the United States, offering the therapy to visitors. (The cost for two people is about $75.00 USD per hour.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qep4af03wdA

Apparently, the cow's warmer body temperature and slower heartbeat helps to promote positivity and reduce stress by boosting oxytocin in humans, the hormone released in social bonding, according to the BBC.

Even though the human-loving cows are carefully selected, people are still cautioned never to approach a cow unless it is sitting. You can also read their body language. When their eyes are half-closed and their ears are lowered, they are quite relaxed.

And now you know.

Thoren Syndergaard

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