My Son's First Veterinary Call
One winter night, a dairy farmer called me with an emergency. He said he had a very sick cow on his dairy. It was already dark outside and my family was settled in for the night. I decided it would be fun to invite my 6-year-old son to go with me on his first veterinary call. It was a cold winter night so we bundled up, put on our boots and trekked out to the truck under a clear sky. My son’s eager step and constant questions demonstrated his excitement.
When we arrived at the barn the cow was standing in a stanchion shaking like an aspen leaf in a strong breeze. Cows are big animals so my first thought was safety for my son. I found a white, plastic 5-gallon pail, placed it in the alley, and asked him to sit there. My son’s eyes were huge with wonder at what his dad was doing.
After my physical exam — observation, temperature, and questions for the owner — I determined the cow had milk fever. I put a rope around her head and placed an intravenous needle into her jugular vein. As the second bottle of calcium emptied into her vein, the cow became calmer. I glanced at my son. His eyes were locked on the cow in concert with the rest of us, in our hope for her wellness.
I pulled the needle out and took the rope off her head. She was standing there as calm as can be. My son had a big smile on his face.
I invited my son to help clean up. When we got home, he ran into the house to proudly tell his mother the entire story of how “we” took care of the cow.
Moral of the story: On a dairy, lessons of hope are taught daily.