Motorcycle mama


Motley crew of bikers turn out to be model clients, however strange

This episode begins at 2 a.m. in an old Chevy pick-up as I headed to sew up a horse. It was going to take about another hour of driving according to the directions I had received from the frantic woman over the phone.

"Wonder why they couldn't get a vet a little closer than me to come out?" I pondered. "No one else is stupid enough to answer the phone ... maybe all the vets in that area know these people and there is something wrong with them ... man, is it cold ... I won't get back home until four or five in the morning ..."


As I arrived at the location, I began to think I must have written them down wrong. I was pulling into what appeared to be a junkyard. Car skeletons lined an area that was illuminated by one old streetlight.

I pulled in slowly to be met by the silhouettes of rows of Harley motorcycles. Just as I was about to turn around and leave, a figure appeared out of the shadows of the old tin building.

He was a very large man. He was wearing a helmet with a metal spike coming out of the top, a pair of tattered jeans and a leather vest. It must have been 40 degrees outside and this guy was wearing nothing but a sleeveless leather vest. As he got closer, I could see that he was covered with tattoos. Before he reached the window of my pick-up, more figures began to appear.

Fight or flight?

I was a little panicked. It is 3 o'clock in the morning and I am in a junkyard with a motorcycle gang. What are the odds that these people have a horse? How am I going to explain to these folks why I have invaded their turf?

"You the vet doctor?" were the first words that hit my ears. They came in a very gruff tone that seemed to echo off all the dead cars that surrounded us. "My horse gotta bad cut on this belly. Come on in."

I couldn't believe it! These people actually had a horse! He pointed toward the tin barn and motioned for me to follow him. I pulled the truck closer and timidly exited the truck with my vet bag. Inside were 30 or so leather-clad individuals and one cut up horse. The room was totally silent as I entered. I could feel their eyes inspecting me as I ambled over to examine the horse.

The spokesman for the group was the giant man's girlfriend who was dressed just like him. She began to explain to me how the horse cut himself, but I was so taken by the entire scenario that I barely heard a word she said. The horse had a huge laceration that ran across just in front of its front legs. A large flap of skin about the size of a paper grocery sack hung down under the belly area. This was amazing, but it was nothing compared to the man who was holding the horse. He had on sunglasses, was wearing a pair of leather earmuffs that only covered one ear. On the top of the other ear, between his head and the sunglasses, was one of those two-sided razor blades like my dad used to shave with. This razor blade just stayed there, like it was embedded in the top of his ear.


As if all of this was not bad enough, I knew I was going to have to sedate this horse in order to suture the monstrous wound. What were these people going to do when they saw what this sedative did to the horse? I'm thinking fast now. The last thing I wanted to have happen was me being mugged for my horse sedative. I could just see these folks experimenting with the effects of horse tranquilizers.

I pulled out the sedative and drew it into the 12cc syringe. As I was pulling it up, the one with the razor blade on his ear said, "Hey, doctor dude, whatcha got in the syringe?"

"This is Rompun, it's a horse tranquilizer," bubbled out of my lips with a pubescent tone.

"Cool. What'll it do to people?" he gruffed back at me.

"Well, due to the greater vascularity of the human brain, this stuff will almost always cause a stroke-like seizure if it is taken by people." That was probably the biggest line of bull in the world.

"Harsh," was all he had to say.

Pressure mounts

Now, for the next problem. How was I going to fix this horse? I have felt pressure to fix animals many times in my career, but never like this. I was pretty sure that these people were not going to accept anything less than a perfect horse when I finished.

It took me close to two hours to suture this rascal. I put more stitches in that horse than any other animal in my career; not because it was the biggest cut I've ever sewed, but because I really didn't want to ever see these people again in my life.

After more than an hour of driving, two hours of sewing in a barn at a junkyard, being surrounded by people who looked like they needed to be in a Clint Eastwood movie, and all this done in near darkness, the tattooed lady handed me a sticky note with an address scribbled on it while the giant man told me to send him a bill.

All I could think of was, "Fine with me. If I leave this place alive I don't care if I ever get paid."

About a month later, we got a letter in the mail. It was from the gang. They were just writing to tell me thanks for fixing the horse. He was doing great. They had taken out the stitches themselves (I guess with the razor blade on the horse holder's head), and they were very thankful I had come out in the middle of the night. Also enclosed was a check for the full amount.

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