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Indiana Farmer’s Ingenious Hot Tub Rescue Saves Freezing Newborn Calf’s Life

Written by: Russel Moneva
Russel Moneva, a Viral Content writer at iHeartDogs, finds joy in both crafting engaging content and pursuing his passion for basketball and fitness whenever he's not immersed in his work.Read more
| Published on June 15, 2024

In an inspiring tale that underscores the power of quick thinking and deep compassion, a farmer from Carroll County, Indiana, went to extraordinary lengths to save the life of a newborn calf. The farmer employed an unusual but effective method, highlighting the profound bond between humans and animals. This heartwarming story of rescue and ingenuity centers around Dean Gangwer, a dedicated cattle farmer in Rossville, Indiana, who, in a moment of crisis, turned to an unexpected tool—a hot tub—to revive a fragile, hypothermic calf and give it a second chance at life.


Dean Gangwer, a seasoned cattle farmer in Rossville, Indiana, is known for his dedication to his herd. On a particularly frigid morning in 2015, his commitment was put to the test when he discovered an unexpected and potentially tragic situation on his farm.

That morning, Dean was doing his usual rounds when he noticed something amiss. One of his cows had given birth during the night, a fact that had somehow escaped his attention. The calf had been born onto a pile of snow, leaving it exposed to the harsh winter elements. As Dean approached, he could see the newborn calf was in dire straits. It was barely breathing, shivering uncontrollably, and struggling to keep its eyes open.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Dean knew he had to act fast to save the calf from succumbing to hypothermia. Without a moment to lose, he scooped up the frigid calf and rushed it to his home, hoping he could find a way to warm it up quickly enough to save its life.

Dean’s years of experience in cattle farming had taught him that the key to reviving a hypothermic animal was to raise its body temperature gradually but efficiently. As he pondered his options, an unconventional idea struck him. He had a hot tub on his property, which, though designed for human relaxation, could serve as a makeshift warming bath for the calf.


He quickly filled the hot tub with warm water, ensuring it was at a safe temperature for the delicate calf. Then, with gentle care, he placed the calf into the tub. The warm water began to work its magic, and Dean could see signs of improvement almost immediately. The calf’s shivering began to subside, and its breathing became more regular.

While the calf soaked in the hot tub, Dean monitored it closely, making sure the water remained at a consistent, safe temperature. After the calf had warmed up sufficiently, he carefully lifted it out of the tub and wrapped it in heated blankets to maintain its body temperature. He continued to watch over the calf, ensuring it stayed warm and comfortable.

Dean decided to name the calf Leroy, a nod to its resilience and the extraordinary circumstances of its birth. Over the next few hours, Leroy’s condition continued to improve. His body temperature stabilized, and he began to show signs of normalcy. Soon, he was ready to be reunited with the rest of the herd.

This heartwarming rescue story highlights the lengths to which farmers will go to care for their animals. Dean’s innovative use of his hot tub not only saved Leroy’s life but also underscored the deep bond and sense of responsibility he feels towards his cattle. It’s a testament to the resourcefulness and dedication of farmers who often find themselves in situations where they must think on their feet.


Reflecting on the experience, Dean shared his thoughts with a smile, “Leroy’s officially done hot-tubbing. Some sunbathing is definitely in his future out in the grass, but his hot tub days are done.” Dean’s story spread through the community, becoming a symbol of ingenuity and the extraordinary care farmers have for their animals.

Dean’s quick thinking and compassionate actions have left a lasting impression, illustrating the unpredictable and sometimes challenging life of a farmer. The tale of Leroy the calf and his hot tub rescue will be remembered as an example of how love and determination can overcome even the most unexpected obstacles.

In Rossville and beyond, this story serves as a reminder of the unwavering dedication farmers have to their livestock, ensuring their well-being through innovation, care, and a deep understanding of their needs. Dean Gangwer’s extraordinary efforts to save Leroy will be remembered as a heartwarming chapter in the rich tapestry of farming life.

Click the video below to watch this incredible story!

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