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Orange and Blue Cow Brings Veterinary Twist to Chicago Parade

The College of Veterinary Medicine has seen a lot of bovine patients over the years, but none quite like the cow that spent 6 weeks here this summer.

The Illinois State and Chicago Veterinary Medical Associations teamed up with the College to sponsor an entry in the “Cows on Parade” public art show that has put more than 300 life-size, hollow fiberglass cows on display throughout Chicago. Each cow has been decorated in a different way. The event has generated widespread national attention, and it seemed only fitting that the profession that cares for cows should join in the fun.

The vet med cow, christened “Dr. Moolittle,” was delivered “naked” on July 14 after an overnight ride from Chicago in a University mail truck. Art partners H. Kellner and K. Ford were chosen to decorate the cow, working in a corner of the College’s anatomy laboratory. 

With a nod to the well-known University of Illinois “window,” or fistulated, cow, the decorated cow presents windows into the veterinary profession. On an electric blue field, several bold circles rimmed in orange depict veterinary scenes ranging from a horse being imaged with a nuclear medicine camera to a dog receiving chemotherapy. The orange and blue colors are a reminder that the University of Illinois is home to the only veterinary school in the state and one of only 27 in the country. 

[Before Cow]
Before: VM4 Sandy Zygato, College Dean Ted Valli, and members of the local media greeted the Vet Med fiberglass cow when it arrived in Urbana on July 14.

[After Cow]
After: On August 24, the College sent Dr. Moolittle off in style with a reception.

The decorated cow returned to Chicago on August 25, going back via the same means, and made its debut at the Chicago VMA’s “Dog Days of Summer” event held at a White Sox baseball game. 
Even before it had left the College, the cow was the source of amusement: as the finished cow spent its final night in the Basic Science Building hallways awaiting the trip to Chicago, pranksters decided the climate was “too humid” and sneaked the cow into the anatomy lab cooler, leaving behind a note hinting at its location!

Its location during the Cows on Parade show is outside the campus’s Illini Center at 200 South Wacker Drive, Chicago. When the art show ends on October 31, Dr. Moolittle will return to Urbana.

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