by Lee Pitts

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Lee Pitts is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email them at

My veterinarian is world-famous in our county and the only person I know with an unlisted telephone number. There are various reasons why he doesn’t want to talk to me. Maybe it’s the heavy Powder River gate that is off its hinges at the entrance to the ranch or the corrugated road. Or it could be the fact that after he leaves some piece of expensive equipment behind, I call his wife and get him in trouble. Then there is the fact that I sold him some cows once… the keyword here is once. Or, he could be afraid that I will write something about him, which of course, I would never do.

The “Ayatollah Cow” had prolapsed, and I asked the wife to go call the vet while I got the cow rounded up. Ayatollah was only about 30 yards away from the corrals as the crow flies but 30 miles away as the cow flies. The Ayatollah is the smartest and meanest cow in the world, without a doubt.

Gentleman was about to give up after about three hours. So I went with “Plan B.” I thought I knew which new calf belonged to the cow, so we put it in the back of the truck in an attempt to decoy the Ayatollah. I would ride Gentleman behind, gently pushing her in the right direction. The problem was that my wife had to stay in the back of the truck to keep the calf from jumping out, and I had to ride Gentleman. We were one person short, and the vet wasn’t there yet, which was just as well because “Plan B” didn’t work anyway.


We finally had to bring in every single cow and then sort the Ayatollah off. After a lengthy delay, the vet and the cow were flushed with anger. In the meantime, the prolapse had gone back in. Figuring I didn’t want the trip to be a total waste, I had Doc give Gentleman his yearly shots, which is a “sore subject” because that is also the result. Before Doc left, he looked at the baby calf and suggested that something may, in fact, be wrong with it.

Now, there is nothing cuter in the world than a baby calf, and I surely didn’t want anything bad to happen to this one. Doc took a fecal sample. gave me a bag of green pills and smirked when he said to, “Give one pill twice a day until they are gone.”

“Wait a minute, Doc. You mean I am supposed to separate the Ayatollah from her baby twice a day?”

“Yes,” he said with a “Get Even” look in his eye. There must have been a million green pills in the sack that Doc had given me. I think they were reproducing.

In separating the cow from her calf, I sacrificed the dog and the wife once… the keyword being “once.” I used the wife as a decoy with the instructions, “Ayatollah is just bluffing. You get her attention, and I’ll swoop in and give the baby its green pill.” The Ayatollah proceeded to put my wife through the fence before swinging in my direction. I’d given the calf its pill and got out of the way just in time to see the calf spit it out. The calf was losing its “cuteness” real fast.

I used every trick I knew in the dark days that followed to separate the pair. The “Raging Cow” came unhinged, along with my gates, twice a day. I dreaded the routine; my wife was getting tired of washing my Levi’s, and the calf sure looked healthy to me. It could sure kick anyway. I thought of leaving the cow in the squeeze chute for four days, and I called the vet to see if they didn’t make one “great big, long-lasting green pill.” I could tell that he enjoyed telling me, “No.”

When I’d finally used up the bag of green pills, the Avenger called and told me that he’d received the tests back from the lab and, “Maybe, “there wasn’t anything wrong with the calf after all. Imagine that! Heh, heh, heh.”