“Until the cows come home” has special meaning these days for Germans, who were transfixed this summer by the wanderings of a wayward bovine avoiding the butcher’s block.

Yvonne, a brown dairy cow, has returned to a Bavarian farm after a three-month run that confounded local authorities but impressed townsfolk, who followed daily reports about sightings of her and even campaigned to keep her free.

The 6-year-old is “the cow that thinks she is a deer,” according to the German media, which devoted as much attention to Yvonne’s exploits as they did to the euro debt crisis, nuclear energy policy and upcoming elections.