LINCOLN, Neb. (CBS Local) — A farmer in Nebraska was able to save the life of an ailing calf last month thanks to some very concerned horses.

Kevin Lewis says he usually begins his day by counting the cows and checking on the horses. But a few days before Thanksgiving, he noticed his horses were acting strange.

“Sunday was over here by the edge of the pond, just licking the ground it looked like,” Lewis told CBS affiliate KOLN. “And this one [Poncho] was just freaking out all over, just whinnying and carrying on.”

The animals’ unusual behavior alerted Lewis to an ailing Scottish Highland calf that was born a month early and was now nearly frozen.

“Then I got about right here and I could see he was licking on a little baby calf,” he said. “That’s when I jumped the fence, grabbed the calf and we went in the barn where the heater was.”

The prognosis wasn’t good.

“A good friend of ours who has been farming forever gave her about four hours to live the first time he saw her,” Lewis said. “We called the vet, and they said, ‘Yeah, this one is probably not going to make it.'”

To make matters worse, Lewis had to leave for work. He called his mom, Patty Jo, and asked her to come watch the calf.

“I said well if she don’t make it, don’t worry about it, it ain’t your fault because she probably ain’t going to make it anyway,” he said.

Lewis and his family spent several days bottle feeding the calf.

Miraculously, the calf, named after Lewis’ mom, survived and has already doubled her weight. Patty Jo, however, is not yet quite a normal calf.

“I don’t even think she knows she’s a cow yet. I think she thinks she’s a puppy dog,” Lewis said. “Once she gets too big to ride in the truck with me, she’ll go hang out with the big cows all day.”

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