Santa Clarita, CA-based animal sanctuary The Gentle Barn recently rescued an orphaned calf from a local slaughterhouse, naming him John Lewis Thunderheart in honor of the late civil rights leader. Suffering from pneumonia when he arrived, the calf was brought into the home of sanctuary co-founders Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner because they thought it was too hot for him to recover in the barn. “Because John Lewis’s care is so expensive, we did a naming auction to raise funds and to enable the community to be part of his recovery,” Laks told VegNews. “The winner named him Lewis after the late great John Lewis, former United States Representative of Georgia and a heroic civil rights leader, who was a strong symbol of good and kindness in the world. The legendary John Lewis worked for justice and equality, and our John Lewis has the legacy of such a powerful name to lift him up.”

With air conditioning, clean air, and 24-hour care, Lewis has started to recover from pneumonia. Once the calf recovers and completes quarantine, Lake and Weiner plan to slowly introduce him to the other cows at the sanctuary and to the barnyard. “Watching him play with our dog Sky [in the house] is painful sometimes to think that every single cow would play like this if they were given a chance,” Laks said. “I hope to do many fun things with Lewis, like take him to the beach and hiking to show the world that there is very little difference between a calf and a pup. I know John Lewis Thunderheart will have a lifetime of opening the hearts of humanity to the intelligence, affection, and true personalities of cows.”

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