You can come pretty close to your dream if you want it with every fiber of your being. It's a long slog, but if you don't lose sight of it, it's there. For now, life is sweet ... and good.

Laura Yanne '76

Laura Yanne '76 waxes about Rupert and Robin, the steers she rescued, as if they're Grecian statues. She describes their "refined features, impressive, majestic stance and sculpturing of their faces. They're beautiful."

Yanne had befriended the nearly two-ton Rupert when he lived on a farm near her. He grew too large to interact with people and was taken to the slaughterhouse. Yanne found out almost too late.

"I was sobbing and pleading," Yanne says of her race to save him. Rupert's owner eventually turned over both steers to her — a move that has both grounded and freed her.

Born in Massachusetts, Yanne moved to Wales when she was 10 — a "pivotal" time in her life. "I read Charlotte's Web and was excited there could be communication and interaction in nonhuman society, but it was unsettling," she says. After seeing lambs she'd observed playing in a field transported to the slaughterhouse, Yanne says she "turned vegetarian and understood what animals would mean to me for the rest of my life."

After graduating with a Bucknell English degree, Yanne worked with animal rights organizations. She loved the cause, but prefers it without organizational restraint.

Having moved to bucolic Vermont, Yanne is now a freelance writer who also works at a farm stand. Inspired by English Professor Jack Wheatcroft '49, she's writing two books, including her story of life with her steers. And she's still campaigning on animals' behalf.

Since 2008, when Rupert and Robin became her responsibility, she has undertaken the monumental task of relocating them nine times when their housing fell through. As if by karmic fate, they landed in a field adjacent to her apartment. Although she worries about the uncertainty of their shared future, she delights in their care.

"You can come pretty close to your dream if you want it with every fiber of your being," she observes. "It's a long slog, but if you don't lose sight of it, it's there. For now, life is sweet ... and good."

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