Has the COVID-19 outbreak left you jonesing for an embrace? Did the pandemic catch you between relationships with no one to hug? Are your arms longing for someone to hold?

Believe it or not, you are not alone.

So what are the hug-deprived doing with their empty arms these dark days of the coronavirus? Well, some have discovered cow cuddling. Yes, cow cuddling. It's a real thing, cuddling with cows for money. I kid you not.

In doing some serious show prep on Tuesday, I came across an article in the Washington Post that explained the whole concept of cow cuddling. People are doing it all over the country. It fills a need for the hugless while generating some serious coinage for some cow owners.

The Post spoke with 43-year-old psychologist Renee Behinfar, who lives alone in Scottsdale, Arizona. Behinfar has not had anyone to hug since the pandemic began, and since touching is still not allowed, she craves an embrace. So Behinfar pays regular visits to Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary in Queen Creek, Arizona, just outside Scottsdale. For $75 an hour, she gets to hug a cow. Behinfar prefers to cuddle with Sammy, a 2,000-pound rescue cow. Sammy places his head in Behinfar's lap and falls asleep. She cries.

Aimee's Farm Animal Sanctuary tells the WaPo it has 100 rescue animals. Cuddling sessions are booked through July. Some regular customers say cow cuddling has converted them to veganism.

I shudder to think what advice patients might get from psychologist Behinfar when they lay on her couch, no doubt for a lot more than 75 bucks an hour. She appears to be someone in need, but that is her business and none of mine.

What I take away from this story is that America is still the land of opportunity. A place where all you need is a little imagination and a 2,000-pound cow to be successful.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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