Honey, You Walk Him

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

So, give me a home where the buffalo roam, you say? And who'll clean up after the buffalo? Not everyone can be as blasé as Linda Sautner, who does the honors when Bailey, 1,600 lbs. of mellow-but-unhousebroken Plains bison, has an accident on the carpet.

"It shampoos out very easy," says Sautner, 54, who shares an immaculately kept house with husband Jim, 57, on their buffalo ranch near Edmonton, Alta. They also share their space with Bailey, 4, who often wanders in to loom in the living room. "You've heard of the Horse Whisperer; well, I'm the buffalo whisperer," says Jim. "Every time Bailey does something wrong, I whisper, 'Buffalo burger,' in his ear." (He's joking—Bailey has a lifetime reprieve from the frozen-meat section.)

The Sautners first let Bailey in after his mother abandoned him as a calf. "The only problem was trying to get him out of the house," says Linda. "He found a lot of new things he was enjoying in there." Bailey's bulk (5'6" tall, 3' wide and 9' long) can cause problems, but the Sautners don't mind. "Bailey," says Linda, "is probably the quietest buffalo in the world." And the occasional broken lamp is just a small item to add to the buffalo bill.

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