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Watch as volunteers rescue Ruby the cow after she got stuck in Oregon mud for over a day

Saman Shafiq

A cow, who found herself stuck in the mud in Oregon, was rescued by a team of volunteers in a mission that could only be described as herculean.

"Today we had an opportunity to perform a cow-culated technical rescue of a member our Fire District who found herself stuck in a bog," Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District said in a post on Facebook Sunday. "Ruby's owners called some of our volunteers stating that she was stuck in a marshy area of their property and was trapped and needed help."

Speaking to USA TODAY on Thursday, Training Division Chief at Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD Will Steinweg said that Ruby had been stuck in the mud for around a day before her owners found her.

"They didn't know where she was," Steinweg said. "They just noticed that she was missing from the herd. It took them about a day to find her."

Fortunately for Ruby volunteers at Mist-Birkenfeld RFPD had the proper training and equipment, including a horse trailer given to them by a generous donor, that was needed for the rescue. However, the bigger task was formulating a plan to pull Ruby out of the mud because the rescuers only had access to her head. The rest of her body was stuck under the mud.

Rescuing Ruby

Using multiple ropes, hooks and a halter, 12 volunteers worked tirelessly in the mud and dirt trying to retrieve Ruby from the mud.

Using multiple ropes, hooks and a halter, 12 volunteers worked tirelessly in the mud and dirt trying to retrieve the animal from the mud.

About two hours later, they were finally able to free Ruby from the mud.

Steinweg said that Ruby was a good sport and cooperated with the volunteers despite being "very tired and lethargic." She hadn't eaten either because there was nothing to eat where she was stuck.

"She had been in the mud for, we were told, about a day," Steinweg said. "So, she, she didn't have a whole lot of energy, and all it was all she could do to help us out."

Steinweg said that the rescuers gave Ruby water as they set up the rescue.

How did Ruby get stuck in the mud?

Multiple Fire and Rescue teams in Mist, Oregon worked together to pull Ruby the cow free from deep mud using specialized animal rescue equipment.

On how Ruby ended up in the mud in the first place, Steinweg said that he guesses that "she was probably wandering close to the creek to get a drink of water and didn't realize how soft the ground was".

"It looked like she had found herself stuck in one spot and was able to get out," Steinweg said. "And as she was getting out, [she] kind of wiggled herself down even deeper into a different spot."

After all her muddy adventures, Ruby has recovered and is doing well.

"She's doing great," Steinweg said. "She's back with her herd and eating her greens."

Mist is about 60 miles north of Portland.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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