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TikToker Elias Herrera and Bruce the Cow Charm Fans with Their Fun Antics

TikToker Elias Herrera and Bruce the Cow Charm Fans with Their Fun Antics

The move out of the suburbs and into the deeper farm country of Treasure Valley, Idaho, not only gave Elias Herrera a change of pace but also Internet stardom.

Herrera and his cow Bruce have become TikTok sensations after videos of them attempting to make pancakes, sandwiches and desserts (at @elias_filmz) have scored more than 100 million views and counting.

“It’s been crazy,” Herrera, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I would not have expected the growth to be so quick.”

It’s meaningful, too. He adds, “I get a lot of people reaching out and just saying, ‘Hey, you changed my day just watching Bruce today. I was having a terrible day and now I’m smiling or laughing.’ And that, for me, that makes everything worth it, just knowing that someone’s smiling and having a good day.”

The pair first got noticed in January when Herrera did some daily ice baths in Bruce’s trough and posted the clips. “One day, it was just freezing out and windy,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘I’m not doing that, let’s just bring him in the house.'”

Herrera helped the cow in through a large sliding door in the back of the family home, recorded him stealing a pancake and “that video took off,” he recalls. “So we just kept bringing him in the house afterward.”

Herrera adopted Bruce 16 months ago when the cow was just 3 days old; he bottle fed the young calf every day for the next 80 days while raising a host of other animals on his farm with his wife and four sons.

“He’s had a personality from the start,” says Herrera of Bruce. “He’s just a lot of energy, super curious, which is pretty rare [in cows]. And so that’s ultimately my decision to bring him in the house was like, Bruce is friendly, he’s curious, he loves food, so it’ll be easy to make this work.”

Though some social media users have given Herrera a hard time about the foods Bruce consumes — even getting the pair removed from TikTok for a brief time — he is confident in his care of the animal.

“I lived on a dairy for two years, so I learned a good amount about cattle, and what you can and can’t give them,” he says, adding he “obviously would never intentionally” harm Bruce, whom he calls his “buddy.”

As the pair’s following grows, Herrera has continued to come up with creative ideas on what to cook and pivoted to more satiric and comedic content, collaborating with several chefs and food influencers along the way.

“As far as collaborations, hopefully, we can have more,” says Herrera, adding hopefully, “I would love to collab with Gordon Ramsay.”

Source: PEOPLE