Blind, Lonely And Ignored By All Other Animals, Helen, The Bison, Seemed Destined For Loneliness, But Then She Met Oliver

Every cloud has a silver lining. If you have ever found yourself in a dark place, hopeless, and suddenly, someone has restored your hope, you can relate to Helen, the blind bison.

She has lived for years without a friend, roaming a field north of Salem. Yet, when the cost of caring for her was too high for her owner, she was transferred to the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio.

Just when she thought that she would end sad and alone, she met Oliver.

Lighthouse Sanctuary’s  Gwen Jakubisin explained:

“When Helen first got here she was very shy and seemed a little lonely, so we tried to pair her with ‘pasture pals’ so she could have a friend but no one really synced up with her.

About a year later, we rescued a pregnant dairy cow named Betsy who gave birth to Oliver at the sanctuary. The minute he was big enough to go exploring he ventured out to Helen’s field and their friendship was almost immediate.”

The young Jersey calf was curious from birth, and he managed to gain Helen’s trust over time, so they eventually became great friends. The most incredible thing about the friendship is that after Helen ‘adopted’ Oliver, his fur has changed colors and now it matches hers.

Gwen explained:

“He’s actually turned into a baby buffalo. The change in her demeanor is incredible, her joy is palpable.”

She says that they resemble a loving nanny and a baby:

“Betsy (Oliver’s mom) usually drops Oliver off at ‘daycare’ and roams around while Helen watches over him for the rest of day, and she’s cool with that.

I catch them grooming each other which is amazing because I don’t think Helen has ever had that opportunity to express that motherly instinct before.”

Their friendship gave Helen the confidence she needed to befriend other animals in the sanctuary. She even started acting as a foster mother to a new calf the Lighthouse Farm team, named Italo.

Gwen says:

“Watching Helen come out of her shell has been truly incredible and we’re just so blessed to know her. She’s the kindest, most patient, and loving animal we’ve had the pleasure of knowing.”

The sanctuary is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of abused and neglected farmed animals, to “help shine a light on the realities of animal agriculture and lead the way to a more compassionate world.”

According to their website:

“At Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary we believe that every individual has the right to freedom. Freedom from pain, freedom from fear, and freedom from oppression. We provide those with the most heartbreaking stories hope and the promise of the freedom to be themselves. A promise of companionship, of love, and of care.”

It is the home to almost 300 animals, whose stories they share with the community “to bring about positive change in the way they are viewed by society.”

To put their mission into practice, they educate the community, advocate compassionate living, provide outstanding care, and struggle to raise awareness via various events, and conferences, street outreach, and online education.

“By fostering beautiful, meaningful bonds between people and the animals they may see as “food” or as “things” we are changing the future for the individuals who mean so much to us.”

 “People who visit and volunteer at the sanctuary often comment on the unique sense of peace they feel when being here. All of our residents cohabitate peacefully and have strong friendships with one another. They know they are safe and loved. We like to call it a kind of magic created by love, trust, and understanding.”