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Baby cow rescued from hurricane floodwaters is now 'part of our family'

What do you do with a 400-pound cow who survived death as a baby and now thinks she's a dog? Obviously, you invite her inside the house.
/ Source: TODAY

What do you do with a 400-pound cow who survived death as a baby and now thinks she's a dog?

Obviously, you invite her inside the house for a bit so she can do some counter surfing and convene with her dog best friends.

"All of our dogs love Harveigh and really enjoy spending time with her. I don’t think they realize that she is a cow and not just a really big dog," Tammy Canton told TODAY. "Truthfully, I don’t think Harveigh sees herself any different from the dogs. Being around each other is completely normal for all of our animals."

Harveigh with the Cantons
Harveigh prefers being inside with her family, rather than outside with the other cows.Harveigh's Story/FB

Harveigh was born on August 28, a few days after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.

Canton and her family had a lot on their plate at the time. Their street was flooded, and there were two families staying at their house in Fulshear, Texas, "that had been evacuated along with their eight dogs," Canton said.

Then one of the Cantons' pet cows unexpectedly gave birth. And the baby — named Harveigh, after Hurricane Harvey — was in trouble.

"My husband noticed she was in standing water not nursing from her mom. He knew he had to save her or she didn’t have a chance of survival," said Canton, who is 43 years old and owns a local commercial electrical company. "The water was extremely cold, and the pasture was holding quite a bit of water. Mom wasn’t nursing her and Harveigh was weak and shivering from the cold rain."

Harveigh with the Cantons' dog
Harveigh naps with one of the Cantons' seven dogs.Harveigh's Story/FB

Harveigh was rushed into the house. She was shivering and lethargic, and could not stand.

Canton felt sure "that she was not going to make it. She seemed too far gone for me to help her."

But the Cantons were going to try.

Canton's husband drove to the next town over to pick up formula. The baby cow drank it up.

It took a few weeks before Canton began feeling confident that Harveigh was going to survive. Their veterinarian recommended she be kept inside throughout this time.

The dogs took an immediate liking to their new companion. A pit bull named Sealy was especially drawn to Harveigh, and the feeling was mutual.

"Sealy starting licking Harveigh and she perked up. All of the dogs seemed to love her right away," Canton said.

Harveigh with pit bull Sealy
Sealy and Harveigh became fast friends.Harveigh's Story/FB

It's been an almost fairy tale-like six months since, with the friendly baby cow and her seven doting dogs. (You can take a look at more photos and videos on Harveigh's Facebook page.)

But Harveigh is now going through a bit of a transition period.

She was about 60 pounds at birth, but cows don't stay that little for that long.

The Cantons live in a 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom house. It's set up so the dogs will be comfortable, but it's not really equipped for a full-sized cow.

Harveigh and the Cantons' dogs
Harveigh thinks she's a dog, but the Cantons are trying to help her learn "how to cow," as Tammy Canton puts it.Harveigh's Story/FB

Harveigh doesn't yet care for the family's six other pet cows, and doesn't live in the barn with them. A couple of months ago, Canton and her husband built Harveigh what they're calling a "cow condo" just outside the house.

"It’s a pretty good-size condo that can hold all of her hay, food, water and enough room for her to lay down," Canton said.

Harveigh doesn't spend a lot of time in the condo, though — only when it's cold or raining, mostly.

Otherwise, she's outside walking around her pasture or playing with the dogs — supervised, now, because she's gotten big enough that she could accidentally hurt her canine friends. Or she's inside, for brief spurts, for some snacks and attention.

"Harveigh’s personality is very loving," Canton said.

Harveigh and Sealy
Harveigh and Sealy, different species but BFFs all the same.Harveigh's Story/FB

Harveigh often shows up at the house mooing, asking to be let inside more often and for longer. She wants to be around the dogs and the people, to have her fur brushed and to put her mouth on things she can reach — which, given her size, is every single thing.

"She literally eats and licks everything," said Canton.

It's a little bit heartbreaking for Canton, knowing that her cow wants to be with people and dogs so badly, and also knowing that at 400 pounds and growing this isn't really a permanent possibility.

So she and her husband are trying to help Harveigh get acclimated to the other cows. They've been bringing her by the barn for short visits. She moos in protest throughout, but Canton knows this is the only way.

"We are slowly introducing her," Canton said. "It’s so hard not to go and just get her out. If she wants to learn how to 'cow,' she will need to spend time with them."

Harveigh the cow
Harveigh doesn't seem to realize she's a cow.Harveigh's Story/FB

Whether Harveigh adapts quickly or slowly to her fellow bovines, or never at all, she "will always be a part of our family," Canton said.

Canton feels that Harveigh came into her life for a reason. Not just so that she could save the little cow, but so that they could share their lives together — and sometimes share those lives together inside the house.

"It fills my heart with joy being able to spend so much sweet time with her. She will literally lay her head on my lap and be at peace," said Canton. "If you can look into an animal's eyes and see the love they have and the emotions that many don’t give them credit for having, you would fight for their life too."