Sorry for the lack of new animal stories lately - it's not that they weren't taking place, just that they were doing so at a pace that left me less time to write about them since Watkins and Kimball Veterinary Clinics merged. For anyone unfamiliar with Murphy's Law, it states that if anything can possibly go wrong, it will. And the law seems to come in to play most often when you have the least amount of time to deal with it.
Example: we all know there are no traffic jams in Watkins, Minn., and when I have all the time in the world to get somewhere, getting through town is no problem. Yet any time there is a cow having a difficult time giving birth, or a horse is in the throes of agonizingly painful colic, or some farm animal is bleeding uncontrollably, or anything else that constitutes a veterinary emergency in my mind, there is always, reliably, without fail, a Buick driving 10 MPH down the entire length of Central Avenue. This is Murphy's Law.
So pulling shifts at two clinics instead of one has created seemingly more occurrences of this nature. A couple weeks ago I was going to "sneak in" a quick farm call between other appointments to deliver a calf, something that can take a few minutes if things go well, or a few hours if a complete train wreck. Had I had the rest of the afternoon open, I'm sure it would have been a 15-minute correction of a common malpositioned calf presentation, keeping the cow from completing the birthing process on her own, and I would have had the rest of the day to write an article about it for the paper. But since I was hoping it would be quick and easy so I could get to my next appointment on time, Murphy's Law applied, and instead it was the unenviable predicament of a calf much too large to pass through the cow's birth canal. The only way out of the situation was to perform a C-section, and an hour after I was supposed to be at my next appointment, I called in to the clinic to see how much trouble I was in. Luckily, the staff was able to predict my ridiculously overly-optimistic time estimates, and had shifted some appointments to later. Meanwhile I was still in a barn looking at the most enormous newborn calf I had ever seen (200 pounds, pretty sure I'm not exaggerating) while closing up his mother's side from which he was delivered.
Another such scenario (sneaking a farm call in between clinic appointments) was a routine cow surgery for a "twisted stomach," most of the time taking an hour or less. I had every intention of achieving this time, until the Newfoundland farm dog that I had a pretty friendly relationship with (greeting, head-scratching, etc) up until then, decided he wanted to take our relationship to the next level. Upon exiting my truck, the man-sized dog immediately jumped up on me and proceeded to have his way with my leg/hip region the entire time I was trying to get my supplies for the cow together, all the while the farmer's wife is yelling at the wild-eyed beast out the second-story window of the house, giving me permission to kick the dog away or whatever I felt I needed to do to get the dog to "dismount." The farmer finally emerged from the barn, conceding that the dog has been getting "too friendly lately," and got him away long enough for me to get started on the surgery. Did it take me longer to accomplish the task than it would have otherwise if not for the confused, horny dog? I guess not - because while it took me twice as long to get my supplies together prior to the surgery with a huge dog's arms wrapped tightly around my waist, I got everything put away twice as fast when I was done in a hasty effort to get away from the animal!
Never mind being assaulted by a male dog. Anyone else been stuck behind a Buick when you were in a hurry? They should come from the factory with an orange triangle on the back.