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Boy crawls into small drain pipe to save newborn calf

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 5:56 PM EST
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CHATHAM, Va. (WDBJ) - A 13-year-old did something unusual to save a newborn calf. It involved crawling into a tiny, dark space.

The calf rescue took place at Vanderhyde Dairy Farm in Chatham. The rescuer, Elie Willette, said it was a unique experience but he’d do it again if ever needed.

“Yeah! A fun experience,” he said.

And one that certainly doesn’t happen often. But when you have a calf stuck sideways down a drain pipe after accidentally wobbling in, there aren’t many options other than sending down someone who can fit.

“What happened is that I got here and the employees told me there was a calf that got down in the pipe, and I knew it was a really small pipe, and I’m a large human being, so I’m not going in the pipe, so I was trying to figure out who I could send down the pipe,” Kyle Vanderhyde, co-owner of Vanderhyde Dairy, said.

When an idea popped into his mind - his son’s friend and neighbor, Willette, was staying at his house that night, and he was just the right size. Luckily for Vanderhyde, Willette agreed to the task at hand.

“There was a calf that needed help, so I thought I would help it. I’m the shortest one here,” Willette said.

He crawled down the t-shaped pipe that was less than 24 inches wide.

“I had to put my legs through one way and then I had to turn around to crawl through the pipe the other way with a string in my hand, and I had to tie it around the calf’s foot to tie it, and then I crawled back out and we pulled the calf back up,” Willette said.

And the calf - only a few hours old - lived.

“It was a little scary but wasn’t that bad ... Glad that I was there and able to do it,” Willette said.

Vanderhyde said another rescue just like this one actually happened at the farm around 15 years ago.

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