Things weren't looking particularly good for Ruby, a cow in the UNH dairy herd, in December 2018. En route to being milked at the university’s Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, the 1,200-pound Holstein caught a hoof on a grate, lifted it, and fell 8 feet into the manure trench underneath. Worried that she might drown, farm manager Mark Trabold jumped in with Ruby and managed to get straps beneath her, but it took the combined efforts of the Durham and Madbury Fire Departments and McGregor EMS staff to free the cow, using a large hydraulic mechanical lift to get her out of the pit. Ruby emerged cold and foul-smelling but unharmed, and the grate was quickly chained down to prevent future accidents.
Just two days shy of one year later, Ruby, who was not pregnant when she took her tumble, welcomed a calf. In recognition of the nearly three hours of hard labor that emergency personnel had put into her rescue, students in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture named the newborn McGregor. First responders were reunited with Ruby and had the chance to meet her calf on Dec. 11.