A former army officer has told how she was left with life-changing injuries and ‘convinced she was going to die’ after she was trampled by a herd of cows while out walking her Labrador.
Janicke Tvedt, 55, had been walking her eight-year-old Labrador Goose with her partner David Hood, 57, when they stumbled across a 30-strong herd of cows in Masham, North Yorkshire.
Within minutes, the ex-army officer, who served in Bosnia, had been taken down and pinned against a fence as the animals, who feared her Labrador was a threat to their calves, stamped on her body.
She managed to escape when her army training kicked in and she went into ‘survival mode’.
The mother-of-two climbed a tree, where she slipped in and out of consciousness before finally being airlifted to hospital.
Ms Tvedt was left with seven broken ribs, hoof marks on her chest and legs and needed part of her colon removed following the terrifying ordeal last July.
Janicke Tvedt, 55, was left with seven broken ribs, hoof marks on her chest and legs and needed part of her colon removed after she was attacked by cows
The former army officer had been walking her eight-year-old Labrador Goose (pictured together) when they stumbled across a 30-strong herd of cows in Masham, North Yorkshire
She said: ‘I was convinced I was going to die.
‘I was trying to get in contact with my son because as far as I was concerned, that was it – I wasn’t going to see anyone again.
‘Had there been a child or an elderly person there, they would not have survived – that’s how serious the attack was.’
Now Ms Tvedt, who followed a farmer’s gatepost instruction to keep her dog on a lead, is urging those who find themselves in a similar situation to let their pets run free.
She explained: ‘What you’re supposed to do when you’re under attack by cattle is you’re supposed to let the dog off the lead and kick the dog away.
‘It’s the dog that’s the issue. They see it as a predator.’
On the day of the attack, Ms Tvedt, who now works as a life coach, had set out on the walk with her partner and their dog close to the market town of Masham, near Harrogate, on July 25 last year.
It was a footpath that she has taken before without incident, but on this occasion, as she rounded a hedge, she came face-to-face with a horned cow and its two calves.
She said: ‘The cow was obviously startled by us, so she bolted directly at the dog, who was on a lead. She kicked the dog, and the dog ended up rolling on the ground.
‘Then loads more cows came to her defence. They pinned us against the hedge. I had the dog very tightly on the lead, which is what I thought I was supposed to do.
‘I stood there really still with my partner, not trying to be aggressive towards the cows, and after about ten minutes of sniffing us, I thought they were going to leave.
‘Then a cow attacked the dog again, but in doing so, it hit me in the knees as well, and knocked me to the ground.’
Now lying flat on her back, the cows trampled the former army officer while her distraught partner watched on helplessly.
Ms Tvedt managed to escape by climbing up a tree, where she slipped in and out of consciousness, before finally being airlifted to hospital. Pictured: Medics attending to Ms Tvedt after the incident
The former army officer said the animals pinned her against a fence and stamped on her body. Pictured: Ms Tvedt’s injuries
The mother-of-two (pictured in hospital) managed to escape when her army training kicked in and she went into ‘survival mode’
She said: ‘One of them kept raising itself up on its hind legs and then stamping its front legs actually down on me.
‘It trampled me at least four times on my abdomen and chest, and then once of my face, but I had my arm across my face.
‘I’ve still got a mark on my cheek where I think it crushed my glasses into my face.
‘Then one of them knocked another over, and it fell and landed on my legs, and then did a complete body roll over my body.
‘So I was crushed by the weight of it – these were absolutely massive rearing cattle, with horns.’
She added: ‘I was terrified. Apparently, I was shouting at the cows. But they were snorting, mooing and grunting. They were pawing their hooves on the ground.’
When the cows briefly dispersed, Ms Tvedt became fully aware of her terrible injuries.
She said: ‘I had to put my head between my knees to get blood to my head because I kept blacking out, and I knew then that something was seriously wrong.
‘My abdomen was like a watermelon. It was swollen and distended and really quite solid – not normal and squishy. I was in such pain in my chest.’
But it wasn’t long before the cows returned, so Ms Tvedt and her partner then had to climb a tree as they became surrounded once again.
The former army officer needed to have a colostomy bag fitted, which she still wears today
Ms Tvedt said she had followed a farmer’s gatepost instruction to keep her dog on a lead
She said: ‘My partner was having to hold me up, and we were there for about 20 minutes. And I passed out three times while I was in the tree.’
Ms Tvedt said her ‘survival instinct’ from her days as an officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers ‘kicked in’ to help her plan their escape.
She said: ‘Clearly, I wasn’t able to walk, but I was explaining to Dave how he was going to go for help, as I realised I’d lost my mobile phone in the attack.
‘He then went through the next field again to Masham golf course and got somebody off there who had a phone to call for the ambulance, and then the Yorkshire Air Ambulance came.
In hospital, Ms Tvedt was sedated and required an emergency operation to remove part of her colon.
She then needed to have a colostomy bag fitted, which she still wears today.
When she finally came round two days later, in a delirious state, she was too scared to sleep or self-administer her morphine drip as she believed she ‘wouldn’t wake up’.
In the months that have followed, the 55-year-old, who previously swam three times a week and walked up to 8k each day, has begun to build up her strength again.
In October, she joined a gym and can now bend down to the floor and get up again.
But despite remaining ‘very driven’, she knows there will be limitations to her mobility from now on.
She said: ‘I’ve had to accept what I can and can’t do. That’s been really hard.
‘It’s affected my relationship with my partner as well. That’s been really difficult. But he’s been really supportive.’