Hubert is a young Holstein cow who lives in a ranch house just off the campus of a university in the state of Michigan. Hubert is much like other cows except that he can read and speak. How that happened is a bit interesting so I'll tell you about it.

Some of the students at the university wanted to experiment with getting animals to talk. They wanted to work with chimpanzees or gorillas, but because their college was an agricultural college, what some refer to as a "MOO U", they were urged to work with a cow. To everyones surprise, these students actually taught a cow to read and speak.

Most of their success had to do with their use of a substance you may have heard about in a story called "Flowers for Algernon", where a man and a mouse given this substance became very smart for a while. While sadly things were not permanent for man or mouse, happily our friend Hubert seems to be smart (for a cow anyway) for good. I must admit though that some of the surprise from this success may come from the fact that no one really talked and listened to cows before this point.

Now at the end of their experiment the students were left with a talking cow. You can't very well just turn someone like Hubert out with the other cows again, so what the students did was figure out how to provide for Hubert and his new life. This portion of things was actually more difficult than doing the original experiment, and I really wish the college students could have gotten credits for this work.

Funds were found for housing Hubert in his own little house. A ranch house so that there were no stair to negotiate. Various other students in the mechanical design and biomechanics fields did course work fitting out the house to suit the needs of a cow. In many ways it was like making the house ready for someone in a wheel chair. Doors were made wider, ramps put in, cupboards set lower. Added to this was the need to make things workable by cow mouth and hoof. All in all these changes were very useful and clever and I hope those students do well in their future careers. I know for a fact the girl who figured out how to get hay into the dining room neatly and automatically is doing very well.

So now our friend Hubert was all set. He had a nice place to live and things to do to keep busy for much of the day. Huberts new job was working with other students in various fields from psychology to animal husbandry, though this last was a bit touchy because Hubert was still a very young cow. Still he had much free time, which he filled the way many of us do. Hubert liked to watch TV. Many of the exciting things in Huberts life were to come from being eager to do things he saw people do on TV.