Doc, I’ve got a heifer that just had a calf. She’s not accepting it very well. Can I bring her in for psycowlogical counseling?"
It all started with that call from the worried cowman. My veterinary specialty of cow psycowlogy has gained popularity since my article appeared. It was titled "Paranoia in Dairy Cows (Doctor, somebody’s always tryin’ to take something from me!)."
I let the heifer get comfortable on the straw.
"Now, Miss Bo ...."
"Call me Char."
"Char, tell me why you feel uncomfortable with your new calf."
"It reminds me of my past."
"How did you and your mother get along?"
"Same as any cow-calf pair, I guess. Although, she was pretty high in the peckin’ order. It put a lot of pressure on me to achieve.
"Like at the branding. I had to be first! Unfortunately, they let the local banker and the vet rope first. Took forever!
"I remember when I first got my horns. A lot of other heifers hadn’t started growing horns yet. They were jealous, It wasn’t my fault the bull calves thought I was attractive.
"But everything turned sour when they ear tagged me! Yellow! Can you believe it, yellow! I’ve never been so embarrassed!
"Then I got a 104 temperature! I felt so left out. I was hospitalized, intravenous injections and everything!
"Finally, last spring I met this bull. We made plans. He had a future, had cute rounds, too! I was blind to what was going on around me. I didn’t believe the rumors that he’d been seen with other heifers. Then it was too late!
"I had a tough gestation, morning sickness, and strange cravings for mint silage and bone meal. Then I had little Billy.
"I don’t know, I guess, I’m just depressed. Is this all there is to life ... eat grass, have a calf?"
"Char," I said, "You’re a cow. You’ve got to accept it. You’ll never run in the Kentucky Derby or hunt pheasant. You’ll never dance on stage or sing like Miranda.
"Be satisfied with the bovine things you do well."
She looked at me and nodded, "Yeah, I guess you’re right, Doctor," And she left.
As I reflected on Char and my unique veterinary specialty, I realized how lucky I was to have a job that was so satisfying and so easy.
Yup, the world would be a kinder, gentler place if everyone had the IQ of a cow.
Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.