CRESWELL – Romeo oh Romeo, how tall art thou Romeo?
Romeo is a 6-year-old Holstein cow who lives at Welcome Home Animal Sanctuary – a non-profit established in 2016 which cares for 79 abused, neglected, abandoned, injured, and special needs farm animals – in Creswell, and he might be the tallest cow in the world.
“For years, my husband’s been telling me, ‘He is such a tall cow. He’s probably the tallest cow in the world.’ I was just like, ‘He’s a Holstein, so he’s tall,” said Misty Moore, who is the founder and operator of Welcome Home. “I just knew Holsteins were tall, but then we saw that the world record was like 6-1, and we were like, ‘Well, we know he’s taller than that.’ So we had our vet come out and measure him, and that’s when we found out he’s 6-3 3/8.”
Current Guinness World Record holder Tommy, a 13-year-old Brown Swiss steer from Cheshire, Mass., was measured at 6-1. Although they live on opposite coasts and are different breeds, Romeo and Tommy share similar backgrounds, having both been saved from dairy farms.
Six years ago, a woman, with no capacity to own cows, saved five from a veal crate at a dairy farm. Romeo was only 10 days old, and Moore took him in with his crate mate Milo. Moore said Romeo is a rare survivor of the dairy industry since “male calves are considered waste products … because they do not produce milk.”
“Every animal here has a story, not a great story,” Moore said. “They’ve overcome their past and learned to accept kindness again – and learn kindness maybe for the first time for some of them. They’re all so forgiving. Animals are amazing.”
Moore said her love and passion for animals has always been part of who she is. Prior to opening Welcome Home, Moore fostered and rescued cats and dogs, but she said her heart was always with farm animals.
“From my earliest memories, I can remember worrying about the welfare of animals,” Moore said. “I founded Welcome Home Animal Sanctuary because I wanted to provide a safe haven for rescued farm animals. I needed to know that I was actively doing everything I possibly could to help and protect the animals that are so devastatingly exploited.”
Welcome Home is a volunteer-operated sanctuary which has alpacas, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, ducks, chickens, cats, dogs, and, of course, cows.
“Sanctuary residents are ambassadors who represent the many animals who, tragically, cannot be rescued,” Moore said. “While we can’t rescue all of the animals in animal agriculture, sanctuaries heal the animals who have been rescued and fundamentally impact the people who hear their message of hope, healing, compassion, and love.”
David Rocklin, a Welcome Home volunteer, said Romeo was the first cow he met “face to face,” and called him “a big puppy.”
“He’s just a total sweetheart,” Rocklin said. “You can just look into his eyes and put your hand up to his face, and you can just tell he’s a really sweet guy.”
Moore said Romeo got his name “because he is such a lover and because he is handsome, intelligent, and sensitive.”
“Romeo is a very big boy, but of all the cows at the sanctuary, he is the biggest baby,” Moore said. “Routine treatments such as fly spray or vaccines send him running for the hills.”
Romeo also hates getting wet, which is rather unfortunate considering how much it rains in Oregon. Moore said that if it’s raining, Romeo will refuse to leave the shelter, even to drink.
“He will stand at the edge and drink the rainwater from the sky so that he doesn’t have to walk to the water trough,” she said.
Romeo eats 100 pounds of hay each day and also loves munching on grain, fruits, and vegetables. Moore said he is looking for people to sponsor him to “help keep the snackies coming.”
Welcome Home volunteer Blaire West said she reached out to Moore about a year ago to volunteer there because she missed having “constant animal interaction” in her life. She added that Welcome Home’s cows are “giant pillows” who love to cuddle, saying the cows will rest their 100-pound heads in people’s laps.
“I get my serotonin release for the week working here,” West said. “Even if it’s just my simple interactions with them on Sundays and Wednesdays, I know they’re having a good time, and that makes me happy.”
Rocklin said volunteering at Welcome Home has been “life changing.”
“You get a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of cool animals, cool people, and Misty just puts her heart and soul into running this place. I can’t think of a much more selfless, giving person,” he said. “She really helps a lot of these animals who are forgotten about and would otherwise be killed or neglected. Her effort and being able to be a part of that is really wonderful.”
Moore submitted Romeo’s application to Guinness World Record last month, and should hear back by the end of 2023. She said “never in my wildest dreams” did she think one of her animals would have the chance to win a world record.
“It’s still mind boggling to me,” Moore said. “He’s just my baby. I’ve always known he was special, but this just shows that he is a little extra special.”
To either volunteer or schedule a tour of the sanctuary to meet the animals. More info: WelcomeHomeSanctuary.com.