Of all the pickles we get into, the wild cow ropings are the best. From having my pants torn off, to roping cows in Central America, these stories always make the best comedy. We've been called to golf courses to rope cows, and once to a dairy to remove an escaped rodeo bull. ( see picture above) It's not remotely profitable to undertake these tasks, but sometimes you just gotta have fun with it. Over the next few months, we will highlight some of our most eventful stories, and today's story will be no exception.
It was the middle of summer and I was home from Auburn, working at the local clinic. It was hot that year and I remember that day being the hottest. We had small animal cases scheduled all day, so in redneck- frat boy style, I was wearing my khakis, boat shoes, and a button up shirt. We were beating the weather with an air condition and had little intention of perspiration.
About lunch time we received a phone call from a frantic Korean lady; she spoke broken English and seemed to be concerned with her cows' eyes. She said they all seemed blind and were walking into to fences, trees, and barn walls. After a little discussion, we figured they had a condition called pinkeye, and told her they would do well with treatment.
When we asked her about her working facilities, we knew we were in for a rodeo. She didn't have a chute, catch pen, or even a corral to treat the cattle in. We told her we would be right out, and asked her where she was located, she simply replied, " the forest". At first we thought she was joking, but after further questioning, we realized that she couldn't convey, in English, the location of her farm.
To simplify the process, we met her in town and followed her to the location. She drove us down a wooded path and into a sloped hillside approximately twenty acres in size. The weather was at it's ripest when we arrived, and having forgotten my shoes and overalls, I knew my nice clothing would never look the same.
When we stepped out of the truck, the affected cattle were on high alert; the veterinarian said I better get the rope, and from that moment forward the chase was on.
Up and down the hills we went, chasing three wild, semi blind, but athletic cows on foot. Huffing and puffing, we chased them into a wooded area at the top of the hill, and when they emerged I was able to rope the first one.
Being a big guy helps, but compared to a half ton, angry cow, I looked like a pendulum strung to the end of a thirty foot rocket. I've never been water skiing, but I think I got close that day. My feet rarely hit the ground as we went barreling down the hill, and I remember looking up the hill to see Dr Kaetzel and the little lady laughing hysterically as they were watching my trip downward. About half way down, I tripped over my own feet and proceeded to be drug down the remaining slope. When we reached the bottom, the cow just stopped and looked at me, she was just as bewildered and breathless as I was. I quickly tied her off to the fence and we treated her. I looked down at my clothes, and knew I would be homeless by dark if my mother saw them! Cow manure splotches and grass stains had re surfaced the front end of my apparel. We all laughed about of my style redesign, and finished with our ropings.
When we were done, the lady invited us into her garage for a glass of water. She then formed us into a small circle and asked if she could pray for us. During her prayer, she thanked God for sending us to fix her cows, and wished great riches and blessings on both of our lives. She prayed for our families, our country, and her cows and when she was done, we went on our way.
Now riches aren't always monetary and, as best I can tell, Kaetzel and I are rich in spirit, but if I ever see Kaetzel working cows in a Lexus, I will know my day is coming!
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