I’ve bounced around vet clinics as long as I could remember; besides raising cows and working the stockyards, vet clinics are the only jobs I’ve ever had.
I tried tobacco patches a few times, and I quickly figured out that wasn’t the place for me. My dad and grandfather were plumbers, but after my first raw sewage experience, I knew that career path was out. My grandfather put me on a dozer, but that ended abruptly with my pa’s prize bulldozer on its side.
By thirteen years, I knew exactly what careers I could never do. My farm implement experiences faired no better, broken hay rakes, tractors on fire, and mud- buried implements landed me with one position I felt comfortable with….. Feeding cows!
I liked the cows so much that they became my responsibility. I had no idea what I was doing, but I think dad knew that even I could pack a feed bucket. Pretty soon, dad wanted to know what I was going to do when I grew up. I told him I was going to be a cowboy, but dad told me I’d starve to death. After several years with no paychecks, I knew he was right. Rodeo is a great hobby, but I like to eat too much for it to make a living.
He told me I should go see Dr. Brown and try the vet route. I could work on cows, and I could make a living. So at fourteen, dad drove me to Dr. Brown’s clinic.
I told doc I was looking for work, and pretty soon I had a job.
Dr. Brown has always been a busy guy; he was on the bank board, head of the water department, health board, and worked on the electric board. Balancing that with a busy clinic was quite an undertaking I’m sure! It seemed that we were always working on cows and balancing meetings.
One morning we were processing calves down at the large animal clinic. Dr. Brown had a bank meeting directly after, so he left his good clothes on; we only had a few to work so he didn’t have much risk of getting dirty.
Back then, we used a chalky white paste to deworm cattle. The paste was dispensed through a gun, with a metal piece directed backwards to allow the vet to get the full dose into the animal’s mouth.
The gun shot the liquid into the mouth at a high velocity, and Dr. Brown always warned me to be careful when directing the gun, so no innocent bystanders received the chalky paste instead of the cows.
We finished the calves quickly and began the clean up process. I connected a water hose to the gun to clean it, and began to depress the lever at full speed. Simultaneously, Dr. Brown ( in his good clothes) walked directly into the path of the gun. Chalky white liquid pasted Dr. Brown from head to toe. He just looked at me, but never said a word, as the white chalk dripped off his clothing.
Luckily, Dr. Brown is a patient fellow; he just called Mrs. Betty to bring him a spare set of clothing, and he made the meeting on time.
Working with Dr. Brown were some of the most fun days of my life, and I often wish he were practicing with us still.
Thanks for reading,