Corporal Connor Miller is no stick in the mud.
A couple weeks ago, on a dress-down Friday, Cpl. Miller got a rescue call from two colleagues out patrolling the grounds by the Elephant Cage — the signals-gathering station on Tow Hill Road known in some circles as Canadian Forces Station Leitrim-Masset Detachment.
A young calf had got stuck in a muddy ditch, they said, knowing that Miller grew up on a dairy farm.
She was stuck up to her chest.
“I think she was pretty tuckered from trying to wrestle her way out,” said Miller.
They had a four-wheel ATV, but together with Sergeant Brad McMullen, Masters Corporal Randy Kuiperij and Nathan Sanderson, Miller decided they should try and free the calf by hand.
“We were hoping that we had chest waders around, but we couldn’t find any,” said Miller, who was wearing jeans and a T-shirt that day.
“I just figured well, it’s only mud, it’ll wash off,” he said. “In for a penny, in for a pound, may as well get in there.”
Miller sank in past his knees. He reached into the muck to get a two-inch strap around the calf’s chest so they could hoist her front legs onto solid ground.
Slowly, they turned the calf so she was facing the road. But she weighed about 300 lbs., and her rear was still sunk too deep to climb out alone.
After getting a second strap around her rear end, Sgt. McMullen and Cpl. Kuiperj pulled the calf forward while Miller hoisted her front to stop her plowing in again.
Finally, the calf got free. She lay on the road a couple minutes, catching her breath.
Stan Hansen, who owns the Tow Hill herd, later phoned the station to thank them for the rescue.
But the calf beat him to it.
“It was kinda’ funny,” said Miller.
“As soon as she stood up, she gave the four-wheeler a couple good head butts, ran down the road 10 yards, lowed at us as if to say ‘thank you’ and off she went.”