Sleeping boy and his heifer draw much Internet love

Aaron Young
Des Moines Register

DES MOINES. IA -  A 15-year-old boy and his heifer have spent nearly every day together for the last two months. They've developed an unspoken connection during that short period of time.

So when a photo of the pair nestled close to each other sound asleep at the Iowa State Fair made its way to social media, it was evident to witness their special bond.

"She likes to lay down quite a bit," said Mitchell Miner on Monday. "I don't really understand the bond with my animal either. She just enjoys my company." 

Mitchell, of Williamsburg, IA, and his heifer, Audri, have been preparing for the Iowa State Fair's youth dairy cattle show. He has led her, clipped her, walked her and bathed her nonstop up to last Saturday.

On show day, Mitchell and Audri woke up at 3 a.m. — his third straight early-morning rise — putting the final touches on Audri.

She ended up placing fifth out of the seven contestants, Mitchell said. But needless to say, the two were exhausted. So they took a nap after their showing together.

Mitchell's father, Jeremy, saw his son and Audri. He snapped a few photos and posted one on Facebook the next day.

Mitchell Miner, 15, of Williamsburg, Iowa, sleeps on his heifer, Audri, after their showing at the Iowa State Fair's youth dairy cattle show Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

By  Aug. 16, the photo had more than 17,000 interactions, 1,800 shares and 500 comments.

"I was asleep. I think she was, too," Mitchell said.

Many of the responses have been from others sharing similar memories, as well as the typical and deserving "adorable" and "precious" comments.

Mitchell's mother, Laura, said people enjoy seeing that type of relationship with a kid and their animal.

"I think it's just when you spend that much time with them, they get really comfortable with you," she said.

Laura Miner added that the family borrows these animals for the summer. Audri will head back to a dairy farm in Blairstown, IA, later this fall — after the family's final showing in September.

Jeremy Miner said both he and his wife grew up on farms but are the first generation to be removed from living on one today. 

"We learned a lot from the farm," he said. "We have those values instilled in us and we are trying to do what we can to preserve that."