Recently I noticed that a woman was caught petting a buffalo at Yellowstone National Park. I found this interesting because growing up our family had a pet buffalo. My brother and I had named her Buffy and she shared a pen with our deer, goats and other animals. Friends and family would come over and take pictures, but it wasn’t unusual for us to go in the pen to pet and feed her. Thinking back, I want to guess that we got her when I was in my early to mid teens. I have a picture of my mother in the pen feeding the chickens right in front of Buffy, but none of us petting her.
She was a huge animal and the one time she escaped from the pen, it took several men to get her back in. She had been scared through the fence by an owl that had tried to go into our chicken coop (an old converted corn cob silo). The owl had folded it’s wings to fit down through the hole at the top and then couldn’t fly back out. As the owl fought to try to get out, it’s flapping scared the buffalo and it went straight through the fence. – Really meaning the fence was just there as a suggestion that Buffy normally followed.
My parents found nothing unusual about sending my brother or I into the pen to get eggs and feed the animals and we would stop and pet whatever we felt like along the way. To be honest my brother’s horse was probably meaner. Personally I was scared the most of geese. Geese still scare me, and their bite really hurts. Geese will chase you down and attack….
Now having three boys and not living on a farm 100% of the time, I can’t picture telling my boys to go into a pen with a buffalo – even if I thought (or knew) it was tame. We don’t even have a dog of our own. That is through my husband’s choice, not mine – but still the boys all have not been near animals bigger than a chinchilla for any length of time.
I clearly don’t understand someone approaching and petting a wild animal in a national park, but then again thinking back I’m unclear on why it was considered safe for my brother and I to do half the things we did as kids. My mother pointed out that the time that was really something was when my dad and two other guys tried to put Buffy in a trailer to move her.
When my dad bought Buffy, he went with a friend who bought her brother also. Her brother was living a few miles away near a fairgrounds. After I left for college my dad decided it was time for Buffy to mate, so he and friends loaded her up and took her over to be with the other Buffalo….
As I’ve said before, I’m still amazed we survived childhood…