This is a story about a camel. No, not that camel.

Meet Bubbles, who would never be so rude as to sit on someone like another somewhat infamous camel in the area.

That's Caspar, who made news in September when a woman crawled into his enclosure at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete to retrieve her dog. Caspar sat on the woman, and she bit his nether region to escape.

Bubbles has no problems with people. She's been a part of Pam and Tommy Cowart's family since she was three weeks old.

This camel loves gobbling down vanilla wafers and posing for photos. Truthfully, she's a bit of a ham.

And she's very popular, especially during the holiday season when she's usually starring in live Nativity scenes.

This year, however, Bubbles and her family are taking the year off for a family wedding and a vacation.

But Bubble's fans are not likely to forget her.

"There was a carload of teenage girls that passed by the other day," said Jacob, the Cowarts' son. "And as they passed, they rolled the windows down and yelled, 'We love you Bubbles!' She definitely has fans."

Bubbles has been gathering fans for eight years, since not long after the Cowarts brought the young calf from Texas to their home in Walker. They strapped a baby bottle nipple on a plastic liter Coke bottle and fed Bubbles on powdered milk for the first four months.

By November, she was ready to appear in live Nativity scenes at area churches.

Actually, it was a church where this story begins.

"We used to go to the Amite Baptist Church passion play every year in Denham Springs," Pam Cowart said. "And one year, the pastor, at the end of it, said 'You may notice that we didn't have Habib, our live camel. Habib passed away during the year, so we'd like to see if anyone is interested in buying a camel for our play.' ”

The Cowarts' children began petitioning their parents, who were already raising cows, horses, goats and chickens. They'd even raised a few deer.

"My kids were like, 'Yeah, yeah, we will,' ” Pam Cowart said. "And I said, 'No, we don't go to church here.' So we got home that day, and my youngest daughter got on the computer and started looking for camels for sale. And there was one that was born that day in Texas. And I said, "There's no way that I'm going to buy a camel, this is ridiculous.' ”

But the kids were persistent, and it wasn't long before Pam Cowart warmed up to the idea.

"I had never even touched a camel before," she said. "The kids kept on for about a week, and I started asking questions. I called the vet that took care of Habib, and I called the pastor and asked, 'If we buy a camel, would y'all use it?' And he said, 'Yes.' ”

The Cowarts sent son Jacob to check out the newborn camel near Carthage, Texas, where he was attending Panola Community College at the time.

"She didn't tell me what I was going to check on until I was about halfway there," Jacob Cowart recalled. "She said to ask lots of questions, but what kind of questions do you ask about a camel?"

Well, you can ask how long camels live. The answer: About 50 years. And you ask if camels get along with other animals. Again, the answer is yes, but the other animals may feel differently.

"Bubbles gets along with our animals, but they had to get used to her, because camels have a certain smell, and horses don't like camels," Tommy Cowart said. "She likes the cat, and we've gotten her some sheep, but they just kind of tolerate her. She's very curious. She just wants to be around everybody."

Her main gig, of course, is at Christmas. But Bubbles also has been in the movies.

She made an appearance in the Lifetime movie, "Hometown Christmas," starring Melissa Gilbert, of "Little House on the Prairie" fame, when it was filmed here in 2018.

That was rare, since Bubbles usually works for vanilla wafers.

"We only book her for nonprofit events," Pam Cowart said. "Usually, we're booked up between Thanksgiving weekend all the way to after Christmas, because our church, Immaculate Conception in Denham Springs, sometimes uses her for the Epiphany. They've decided not to do their program this year, so it was a good opportunity to take off."

On occasion, Bubbles visits schools, which Tommy Cowart said is a real treat for the youngsters.

"In most places, when kids see a camel, it's behind a fence, and they can't touch," he said. "But with Bubbles, we pass out vanilla wafers, and they can actually go up, pet and feed her."

The Cowarts have taught Bubbles how to kneel — it's the only command she knows. And no one is allowed to ride her.

When she not thrilling area kids, Bubbles has been known to create her own spotlight. In April 2018, she untied the rope on the gates to the Cowarts' pasture, then strolled down Buddy Ellis Road.

"It went all over the news," Pam Cowart said. "It went viral because she went down the street. It was posted on Facebook. I was at work, my husband was at work, and we started getting texts asking 'Is your camel out?'"

Pam Cowart found Bubbles waiting in her parents' driveway across the street.

"She knows she can go over there and get cookies," Pam Cowart said. "She had just gotten out of the gate and wandered over there. The news came out and interviewed my son with her."

And, while Bubbles is mostly charming, that's not to say she's perfect.

"Sometimes she'll pick out a little boy, if he's picking at her," Pam Cowart said. "She'll kind of nip at you if you're picking on her, but that's still kind of peculiar for her. She only has bottom teeth. She doesn't hurt when she bites, but it can be a little scary. But we've never had a problem with her."

Certainly, she's never sat on anyone.

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