What started with Koga the camel this past spring has become a full-blown group of misfit animals, lovingly named the Nerd Herd, living peacefully at their Dartmouth-based sanctuary.

Along with Koga and Chloe the camels, Dasher and George the donkeys, Mooshu and Moolan the calves, and a handful of horses, Nerd Herd founder Melissa Sylvia recently welcomed the newest, cutest, and wobbliest member to the pack: a wheelchair-bound calf named Cricket.

After being rescued from a farm by Melissa Marsh of Bovitique Bulls Rescue, it was clear that the newborn calf needed intense 24-hour care and would fit in perfectly with the rest of the herd at Archangel Equestrian’s Nerd Herd. Sylvia welcomed the calf with open arms.

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“When Cricket came to the sanctuary, he had IVs and needed full 24-hour care, including massaging his legs, for the first week of his life. Because of dehydration and infection, he could not use his hind legs," Sylvia said. "My fiancé Randy and I custom-built him a wheelchair using PVC pipe, pool noodles, rope and tires, and Google. We modified it a bit so his navel could heal from an umbilical infection when he was in it but it’s helped him get around easier.”

Circket needs assistance learning how to use his legs/ Contributed Photo
Circket needs assistance learning how to use his legs/ Contributed Photo

Initially, Cricket had a 25 percent chance of survival but Sylvia said he’s getting better every day.

“We hope that after his visit to Tufts in Connecticut, he’ll have a more favorable outcome. He is trying really hard to buck and play with the other calves but his body won’t let him. We hope that he’ll get to the point where he can run in the field with the others," she said. "Eventually, we’d like to write a children’s book about him because his story is certainly inspiring to people. It is definitely a you-can-do-it story.”

Sylvia said she considers herself a sort of misfit too, and feels at home with the Nerd Herd.

“I myself am a sort of misfit in the [horse] riding/instruction world because I’m not big on the formal parts," she said. "I think it should be more fun than that and that's why I like to add in mounted archery, sword fighting, and jousting to my horse riding. I like to tell people we’re just a bunch of misfit toys who all get along.”

The sanctuary is open for tours on the weekends for those wishing to get kissed by a camel or just see some fellow, cute misfits.

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