James is a baby cow who has been struggling since day one – but that hasn’t dimmed his sweet spirit.

Adam and Emily Hopson of the Happy Hens and Highlands Farm in North Carolina found James after his mother had given birth to him on a mountain during a dreary rainy day.

Since James was large for a calf, the Hopsons assumed that he had suffered brain damage from oxygen depravation in the womb. Not only that, but because his mother’s body made it hard for him to nurse, James was not able to get the vital nutrients that growing baby cows need from their mother’s milk.

The Hopsons took James into their home so they could look after him – and their dogs took quite a liking to him. After the pups made him a part of the pack, James began acting more like a canine than a cow.

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“Our dogs adopted James and took over the duties of a mother, loving and cleaning him. Their love and acceptance gave him a will to live,” says Emily.

It has been several months since James was first accepted into the dog pack. He recently underwent a two and a half hour surgery to have a growth removed from his navel. Even though his heart stopped for two minutes in the middle of the surgery, he was resuscitated and successfully treated.

James is too big to live in the house anymore, but he is now the leader of a herd of other orphaned calves who need playmates.

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“We attempted to reintroduce James to the herd but by this point he was an outcast,” Emily wrote in a blog post. “The other cattle thought he was odd and ignored him or bullied him.

“We knew he would soon outgrow his doggy friends and needed a buddy (they are herd animals and are unhappy without a companion) so we found him some orphan [cow] babies as companions. Since they are also orphans, they accepted James (even though he sometimes wears funny costumes). They bonded right away.”

If you would like to keep up with James’s exploits with his herd of Scottish Highland calf misfits, you can follow the farm on Facebook.

(WATCH the video below)

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(Photos by Happy Hens and Highlands Farm)