Column: A real fix | It's the Pitts


“Hello. Is this the vet clinic?” Buck wasn’t completely sure because the last time he’d called the veterinarian was when his 30 year old mare was born.
 “Yes, this is the vet clinic,” answered the absent-minded secretary and without waiting for an answer she asked, “Could you please hold for a minute?”
Of course Buck could hold. It’s one of the few things in life he was ever good at. Buck spent his nights drinking and his days tending to a small, intensely inbred herd of white faced cattle. His herd bull traced his heritage back to the infamous Larry Domino bull, and if you know anything about dwarfism it explains a lot about the quality of Buck’s cattle.
Later that same day the secretary came back on the line. “I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting but we had an emergency here at the vet clinic. Some fool forgot to pick up the donuts. How may we be of service?”
 “Well, I have this real good bull I entered in the upcoming consignment sale. He’s the best bull I ever raised and I figure he could take first prize  but they told me in order to sell him at the sale he needs to be semen evaluated. Can you imagine that? I told them he wasn’t firing any blanks because I already have two calf crops by him but they say he needs a semen test anyway. How much do you charge for some little thing like that?”
To say that Buck was tight was an understatement. The day after Halloween he went around town collecting toilet paper to last him the following year. He could go on a toot in town for two weeks and never change his shirt or a dollar.
 “If the veterinarian has to come out to your ranch the charge will be one hundred dollars.”
 This time Buck let the secretary hold for a couple minutes while he picked himself off the floor. “I don’t want to sell Doc the bull I just wanted to have him semen tested. Can’t he do it any cheaper?”
“Well, if you bring him by the clinic the office charge will  only be thirty five dollars.”
 “That’s still too much but I guess I don’t have any choice if I want to have the Grand Champion in the consignment sale. Since I’m paying such a high fee do you think the vet could fix my dog while he’s at it? I’m tired of playing nurse maid to a house full of pups and I’m buying dog food by the ton. Can you fix her at the same time you fertility test my bull? She’s just a little old Bassett Hound.”
“It doesn’t matter how big she is,” replied the secretary between donuts. If you bring her by this Saturday morning we’re having our annual spay clinic and the only charge will be $35. You can drop off the bull at the same time and pick them both up later that day.”
Despite his unwillingness to pay the exorbitant prices Buck dropped the bull and his dog by the clinic first thing Saturday morning. It was so early no one was at the clinic so he put the bull in a pen and left his mutt in her kennel by the clinic’s front door.
Buck pulled back into the clinic later that afternoon to load up his prize bull and groggy dog. Much to Buck’s surprise his Bassett Hound came bouncing out to greet him. “She sure doesn’t seem too groggy. Must not have minded the surgery much?” said Buck to the receptionist.
“Oh, we don’t have to put dogs under for a simple fertility test. It’s a very simple procedure really, and I’m glad to report she shouldn’t have any trouble having pups. But that old bull of yours is still in a stupor. The Doc had a heck of a time getting him castrated, but I’m glad to report the job is complete. I sure can see why you wanted him fixed. We sure wouldn’t want him siring any calves now would we?”
There is some question who made the mistake, if it indeed was one, but in hindsight it turned out to be the greatest contribution in history ever made by the veterinary profession to the genetic improvement of beef cattle.
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