It had to happen one time – my first great grandchild has been accepted at the Fraser Valley University of Abbotsford. I was informed that her first choice was to study for doctor, but then she realized that animals were her real love, and so, (I have not the slightest doubt about this) we are going to have our own veterinarian in the family. My wish is that I may live long enough to see her succeed.
I have no idea what kind of animals she wants to heal in the future, but doubt if will be Frisian Holstein cows and bulls where the vets of old kept themselves busy with, but one never knows. Those vets of old were men going from farm to farm by horse and buggy or by bike in all kinds of weather by night and by day helping a cow calving, helping the farmer and his household when they were on the end of their wits when a calf was stuck in the mother-cow.
The farmer together with his help had already pulled as hard as the could on the calf's legs but the baby-calf was laying the wrong way and if she was not delivered soon, both mother and calf could die, meaning a financial blow for the farmer, who depended on the mother and child to survive for his income.
A vet cost money, even then, and therefore was the last one to be called for help, often he arrived at an impossible situation and was unable too save either the cow or the calf, in some cases both but still was presenting a bill.
That was the situation in pake Fokke's days and still during my father's generation.
Since his farmer did not own a bull, my father, when he was a young farmhand walked a young cow to the neighbors farm to have her bred. The the young cow, either scared or just wild, ran and jumped and my father slipped and fell, and instead of the cow under the bull, as was the intent, dad landed under the cow, who jumped on his shoulder, separating the arm from my dad's shoulder.
In a way it helped him on a wife, which is another story having nothing to do with a vet.
For what was considered a small accident, as he was only a young farmhand, no doctor was called and two burly farmers, used to pull calves from mother cows, tried to pull dad's arm out far enough to let it fall back into the shoulder again but after trying hard only achieved immense pain on the patient but failed to heal him.
Farmers are known not to give up easy and tried a more compassionate method. They put two kitchen tables together, heaved the poor patient on top of it with the arm hanging in between the tables, in the hope that gravity would do what they were unable to perform.
They failed again and as a last resource took him to the hospital, where over time he got repaired enough to go home. In my father's days farmers played as long as possible the roll of vet and also as in this scenario as doctor.
A young farmer in Ladner who milked about 40 cows and I were timekeeping for a church hockey league with game time in the Aldergrove rink so once a week we drove out there to see teams from the lower mainland and the US play, which was fun but this time he had to tend to a cow about to calve.
The calf did not move at all never mind how hard we pulled. After what seemed hours we gave up, my friend ran to the house to call the vet, leaving me behind to watch the cow in distress.
I do not like large animals, in fact I am scared of them, I am even scared of dogs, but I saw the cow's body quivering once in a while and thought something is going on inside of her.
I patted her on the belly and softly talked to her as I had read somewhere and indeed felt the cow getting calmer and then I noticed what must've been a contraction.
I tried my best to encourage her, then waited for the next spasm which was more intense, and saw some movement of the calf's legs I thought.
I kept on talking and stroking and after a few more contractions – plop – there the baby was.
I cleaned the baby-cow off and laid her where the mother could reach her.
Then I ran to the house to tell my friend about the delivery, but he was on the way back to the barn already.
I told him him that no vet was needed and thought he would be happy. He was not.
He was a bit embarrassed that I had succeeded while he gave up, I think, and asked if I had hurt his cow by really pulling on the calf's legs to get her free.
I had not even touched the calf's legs.
After all he was happy with the newborn baby-cow and named her Anne, after my wife.
So you see, Tauny Cyr, even a novice like me performed some veterinarian work but perhaps you will not be a cow-vet at all but one that looks after pets like cats and dogs or injured small animals.
I think that most money is to be made by fixing pets, nowadays people pay fortunes for dogs and their well-being, really for all kinds of animals, but whatever you will pursue Tauny, I am proud of you by your decision to work and study for something you love.
I made a wish for you at the recent butterfly-release that you will succeed in your endeavor.