A farm in Surrey that provides a safe haven for neglected animals is celebrating its first birth, and the new addition is teaching at-risk youth about love and empathy.

About a year ago, the Semiahmoo Animal League Inc. rescued two cows, Gracie and Peanut, from a nearby beef farm. Gracie is visually impaired and was going to be slaughtered, and Peanut was an orphaned calf who immediately latched on to Gracie.

When the animals arrived at SALI, however, staff were surprised to find out out Gracie was expecting.

“We have never had cows before, let alone a pregnant cow, so it was a huge learning curve for us,” the founder of SALI, Keryn Denroche, said.

The South Surrey farm then decided to share the experience with their community by setting up a live “cow cam” so interested viewers could stream the birth.

“It was so exciting. All our volunteers and our entire community was involved,” Denroche said. “We had people all over the world following us because they knew this little baby cow was going to be born any minute.”

On March 29, with the world watching, Gracie gave birth to her baby which marked the farm’s first birth. One of SALI’s young volunteers suggested the name Clover for the calf.

“She’s such a lucky baby so naming her after a four leaf clover is very appropriate” Denroche said.

When Gracie arrived at SALI, she was in rough shape. In addition to being visually impaired, she had recently fallen down a well and had multiple injuries that weren’t being treated.

“It all felt like it was meant to be,” Denroche said, since the farm had lost one of their animals and had a stall available.

“The day [their previous animal] passed away, we got a call from an advocate in the community.”

Clover, like her mother, is destined to help teach kids in SALI’s programs about unconditional love and empathy.

“Big part of the program is for the kids to learn empathy toward all living beings and this is really important a lot of times for children who have experienced violence in their lives,” Denroche said.

Kids learn how to care for the rescued animals on the farm and hear their stories. In turn, the kids often learn about themselves. Often, the take-home lesson is that they are capable of love and deserve to be loved and cared for as well.

Clover is already proving popular with the kids as she bonds with her mom and learns to bond with people, too.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro