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Story and Photos by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated from Russian by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Officer | Heifer Armenia
Artur Hovsepyan, 45, and his wife Kristina, 33, live in Lukashin village, located in Armenia's Armavir region, with their children, 12-year-old son Karen and 10-year-old daughter Kristina, and Artur's 84-year-old mother Arpine.
All his life Artur was a very sociable person, full of energy and life. Yet, strangely, day-by-day, his neighbors noticed that Artur was no longer the outgoing person he used to be. He rarely left his home and stopped communicating with his fellow villagers. Things seemed normal within his family. Artur's wife ran the household, the children stayed busy with their lessons at school, and the grandmother went out to the yard to visit with other elderly women in the neighborhood. Only Artur was missing. No one saw him anywhere, not even in the backyard or small garden where he used to cultivate vegetables.
Artur’s wife Kristina is a member of the Lukashin Farmers Association through Heifer Armenia’s Lukashin Cattle Breeding Project. When Vardges, association president, and Levon, community veterinarian, asked Kristina where her husband was and what happened to him, her reply revealed the reason for Artur’s new behavior: financial problems caused him to fall into a deep depression.
Artur’s depression lasted for about three years and only began to change when Heifer started a project in their village. In the Lukashin Cattle Breeding Project, 26 original families received pregnant cows. Three years later, these families passed on pregnant heifers to 26 new families in the same village. Since Artur’s family lived in very poor conditions and had no animals, they were on the list to receive a cow through Passing on the Gift®.
The cow, which Kristina and the children named Nargiz, changed Artur’s life. Nargiz was a very humble and clever animal. Little by little Artur took the responsibility of running his small farm. He became a devoted farmer who loved and cared for his cow. When the cow calved, Artur became even more caring. He started to go out as often as he used to, took the cow and its calf to the field, cleaned the barn, and fed and brushed the animals. Artur’s neighbors said that, thanks to the cow, they regained their favorite friend and neighbor. The cow helped Artur overcome depression and return to his normal lifestyle.
Nargiz produces about 3 1/2 gallons of tasty milk daily. The cow is pregnant again and will calve soon. Artur is very excited and certain that Nargiz will successfully give birth to a healthy calf.
Nargiz indeed helped Artur overcome depression. He is again as open and friendly as he once was. He works in his garden, meets with friends and communicates with neighbors. Every time he approaches Nargiz to feed her, she licks his hands and moos with gratitude. The way the animal responds to Artur’s love and care brought him out of a difficult time. Both Artur and his wife are very thankful to their pretty cow, who became his doctor and remedy.