February 2006
On the Edge of Common Sense


by Baxter Black, DVM

Dr. G is a veterinarian in the cold country.  They are a tough breed, those vets and cowmen and outfitters who live where the snowdrifts are over a horse’s head and the thermometer has to wear a wool sock in the winter!

One of Doc’s more remote clients had been through two wives.  His thrifty nature and insistence on doing things the hard way was more than they could take.  He had grown sour on women, so Doc was surprised one day when Sourdough, we’ll call the reclusive hardhead Sourdough, dropped by the clinic just to visit.  He hung around, had some coffee and piddled.  Doc knew he had something on his mind, so he waited.  Finally Sourdough said, "I gave a girl a ring."

Dr. G had a momentary vision of Sourdough being swept away by a woman who was able to reinstill his romantic urges and fire his heart to bursting with feelings of true love, mutual adoration and the realization that there is more to life than work.

"What’s she like?" asked Doc with more than a little compassion for his friend.

"She can irrigate," said Sourdough.

"What!" said Doc.

"She can irrigate!  Fix fence, drive a team.  She’s a horse trainer, too.  Turns ’em out better than I do!  Changes her own tires, run heavy equipment," Sourdough was beaming.

Doc was invited to the wedding. He had trouble imagining the new bride.  From her resumé he pictured a female version of Hulk Hogan, but with more hair on her chest.  She turned out to be a petite dynamo, easy on the eyes, and everything Sourdough had said. She’d been a cook in an outfitter camp, a horse wrangler, could weld and spoke Spanish!

A few months after the wedding she came by the vet clinic for something and told Doc about her dream, "Ya know I’m pregnant, and in my dream I wake up in the middle of the night and the time has come.  Sourdough says, ‘Well, it’s a long way to the hospital, and we’d get charged an emergency call, so why don’t we just get Doc to come out.’"

"Yeah," said Doc to the bride, "he’s the tightest man I know."

"But," she continued, "last night I dreamed you did come out and you had your calf puller and chains…and guess what, I had a cat!"

Well, the baby was born, both mother and child are healthy and dad is a proud papa.  But every time Dr. G sees the new mother, he always asks, "How’s our cat doin’?"

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.