I knew I forgot something


The man wanted to know if I would be interested in using his company for night security.

The man wanted to know if I would be interested in using his company for night security.

I saw that he was just starting up and thought it would be OK if he would keep an eye on the sick large animals during the evenings when he checked on the place. His reply to that indicated that he had little or no large animal experience, but he was just starting up and needed the business so he agreed. I could not have foreseen what might happen when you get someone who knows nothing about large animals watching over them.

Bo Brock, DVM

Soon after the service started, I began receiving calls from various security guards. It wasn't unusual to get calls at 3 in the morning with someone telling me that a horse was sleeping standing up, or the water was low in a cow's pen … or a horse we had done surgery on had a bit of "juice" dripping from the suture line. I guess when you know nothing about farm animals, you don't know what is and what isn't an emergency.

Parade of calls

When I filled out the information sheet for the security company I had to put two people to call if they could not get in touch with me. I was pretty new to town and have no relatives living nearby, so I just put Ricky and Gordon on the lines. Problem is, I forgot to tell them.

The cow came in about 5 o'clock that evening trying to deliver a calf. The owner of the cow had tried way too long before he brought the cow in. The calf was already dead and stuck in the birth canal. The cow was weak and could barely walk. I worked on her for just a few minutes, and she passed away also.

My wife, Kerri, and I were about to go out of town, and the rendering truck could not get there until the next day, so we left the carcass in the pen and went on our trip.

Any other day

Monday rolled around, and we returned to work from a nice weekend off. The cow was gone which meant that the rendering truck had done its job. The day started like any other day, and I was about my work when Ricky showed up.

"I gotta bone to pick with you," trickled out from under his mustache as he came walking in the back door. He was half smiling and half frowning, and I could not read his expressions.

"What's the matter?" I replied. I could not think of anything that could warrant a bone-picking with me.

"I was sleeping like a baby Friday night about 3 o'clock when the phone rang. Some guy started telling me about a cow that was at the clinic. I don't even know who he was. He was telling me a story about some cow that was lying down with a calf stuck in it. I asked him why he didn't call you, and he said that you were out of town.

"So I started describing the steps in pulling a calf. It was obvious that this guy knew nothing about cattle. I'm sure he said who he was at the beginning of the conversation, but I was so asleep I didn't hear it. Anyway, I figured it didn't matter who he was; all that mattered was that we get that calf delivered before it is too late.

"I told him to get in the pen with the cow and pull a bit on the calf to see how stuck it really was. It was obvious that this guy didn't want to touch the cow and was afraid to get in the pen. I told him he had to get in the pen because it would take too long for me to get to town.

"He finally went in and tugged on the calf. I could hear him grunting and tugging over the phone. He told me the thing was stuck real good. I asked if the cow was pushing, he said no she wasn't moving at all. I asked if the calf was breathing, he said no, it was not moving at all.

"I asked him to check to see if the cow was breathing. After a few minutes, he came back and said it looked like she was dead.

"You mean to tell me that you called me at 3 in the morning to tell me that there is a dead cow having a dead calf at the vet clinic? What do you want me to do about it?"

I wanted to feel sorry for 'ole Ricky, but all I could do was laugh.

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