Cow cuddling? Is this a real thing? Surprisingly, yes.
The new trend and sweet practice is rapidly finding its way to needy takers who find this unexpected activity does a lot in the way of bringing them inner peace.
According to New York State's Mountain Horse Farm via Healthy Food House, cows command "a special body language" that makes them able to communicate with people. They allegedly are able to feel everything from happiness and sadness to anxiety.
"These animals will respond to you without any judgement," says the source.
Animals have long been considered healthy companions who cause an agitated person to calm down. Studies such as one noted in Frontiers in Psychology state, "Animal assistance in therapy and education may have a multitude of positive effects on humans."
"Among the well-documented effects of HAI [human-animal interactions] in humans... [benefit with]... stress-related parameters such as cortisol, heart rate and blood pressure; self-reported fear and anxiety; and mental and physical health, especially cardiovascular diseases. Limited evidence exists for positive effects of HAI on... increased trustworthiness of and trust toward other persons; reduced aggression; enhanced empathy and improved learning."
Although cow cuddling has proven to be the latest in a series of ways animals are able to help humans -- goat yoga comes to mind -- the cost of participating in this fresh practice can come at a pretty penny.
Mountain Horse Farm's "Horse & Cow Experience" costs a whopping $300 for 90 minutes of interaction whereas a simple cow cuddle costs $75 for an hour. The entire experience includes more than a simple cuddle. Guests are also allowed to pet or brush these beasts. They can even play with them.
However, a proper cow cuddle means that those who take in this activity will lie down so that they can really get to know each other. Never fear. The 1,000-pound animals that do this are vetted for cow cuddling. Owners make sure their sweet beasts are comfortable doing this with a willing person. And if that willing person happens to be a young person, then young calves are often used for that particular purpose.
So, are you up for cow cuddling? Do you need some more reassurance? The Berkshire Eagle promises via Hancock Shaker Village's livestock manager, Allyson "Allie" Kowalczyk, "It's calming. Hopefully, the person's heart rate will unison with the calf.
This expert goes on to say that cow cuddling is "another way to connect to the farm." And then she adds without hesitation, "It gives you a sense of stepping into the muck boots of farmers." Perhaps you can skip that feeling while still getting in on this new animal trend. If not, well, it's all good.