True love comes in all shapes and sizes, as this toddler and her orphaned calf demonstrate.
Photographer Lacey Gray of Michigan City, Mississippi, wanted to borrow a calf for a photo shoot ... and then give that calf back. She had no expectations that the orphaned calf would form an inseparable bond with her two-year-old daughter, Kinley, and become a beautiful example of true love.
When Gray first came up with the calf photo shoot idea, she reached out to her husband's cattle-owning uncle for some help with her plan. His response was not exactly encouraging.
"I shot him a text and said, 'Hey, this is what I'd like to do. Can I borrow one of your calves?'" she said in an interview with ABC News. "He laughed so hard. He said, 'That is not how that works. You cannot just borrow a calf without the mom going crazy.'"
Though Gray hadn't thought of this problem, she accepted the situation and moved on. Then, the next morning, she got a call back. The situation had changed -- she could have her calf now if she wanted it. But the reason was a sad one.
"He told me, 'The mama fell, and she's not going to get up from it. She will die from this. I'm calling you to see if you want this baby, but you have to bottle-feed it several times a day.'"
Gray knew nothing about raising a three-day-old calf, but she agreed to take the tiny orphan anyway, even bringing her inside the house for the first night. Though the calf slept in the laundry room, she was never alone for long.
"Kinley ran in there and was kissing all over her," Gray said. "She brought her books. She read her books, and when it was time to walk her, Kinley wanted to do it all by herself. She would walk her all over the yard."
Just a few weeks later, the pair has become inseparable.
As Gray said:
"Kinley cries when she has to leave. She always wants to be with her. She kisses her ears. She likes to kiss both of her ears instead of just one. She'll lift Molly's face up to kiss her on the nose. Kinley will sit down with her and not let our dogs come near her. She wants her all to herself. She wants to feed her all by herself. It's really sweet."
Gray was eventually able to pull off her photo shoot, and the pictures are even more meaningful since the calf, now named Molly, has become a part of their family. She is often brought close to tears watching Kinley and Molly interact, and can't wait to watch them grow up together.
"They are just so cute," Gray said. "My heart cannot even contain all of that love."
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