This job is not for a sissy

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Bill Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area au­thor of this weekly col­umn. Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

The cow got up and then stum­bled back down, and I knew we were in for a tough time get­ting her to the pens. She was ag­i­tated to the last hole on the belt and hurt­ing, so she was ready to fight. She had tried to run but that didn’t do any good, so here we were. And that spot was at the far east end of the leased place, al­most in the other county.

It doesn’t mat­ter how of­ten you see the cat­tle or they see you, they are still cat­tle. They do not think like a man or even like an or­di­nary cow some­times. It could be a quirky stom­achache or a headache; who knows what hap­pens in­side a brain? Ge­net­ics are good when we try to de­cide how calm and easy an an­i­mal might be but, just like peo­ple, that is sure not fool­proof! I know this par­tic­u­lar cow, raised her mammy and her, think back, even her sire was easy to han­dle.

I found the poor old cow against the fence and she was try­ing to run as I drove up. Her right front leg was sorta swing­ing and sure wasn’t us­able. I backed off and let her stop, called for a horse and a roper. The re­sponse was quick, but a four-wheeler and roper were com­ing. All the rop­ers who ride are in school. I fig­ured she had dis­lo­cated the shoul­der and maybe we could get her to a vet and fix the leg.

That par­tic­u­lar pas­ture is not flat but is good grass and has a spring for water. It has some tim­ber and a cou­ple of rolling hills. I de­cided to drive to the area I did not want the cow to go; so as I moved along, so did the cow. Her calf is a good one, and stay­ing pretty close to the cow and not act­ing boogered. I was glad when the cow turned to­ward the gate and tried to walk in­stead of run.

The first loop found the tar­get, and the strug­gle was al­most over be­fore it started. She stood a cou­ple of times, but we got the sec­ond rope on her and urged her into the trailer pretty easy. The calf was an­other story, of course. The youngest off­spring fi­nally got him roped, bull­dogged and loaded. That lit­tle ras­cal planted a hoof square on my left thigh and no, I didn’t cry like a lit­tle girl, but I al­most did!

It was late in the day, and so we de­cided to un­load at home and haul the cow to town in the morn­ing — an­other plan gone awry. I wanted the calf to nurse and fig­ured the pair would be OK for the night. We fed and wa­tered the cow; she was up and lean­ing but at least up.

I started early the next morn­ing and was back­ing into the lot when the off­spring ar­rived to as­sist. I am here to tell you that cow had stomped holes in the stall, wallered the gate al­most down and how she even stood was be­yond me. Her leg was sure bad. The calf was OK; we moved him into the next stall and pro­ceeded to do the lousi­est job of load­ing a cow in the his­tory of the west!

Some of the as­pects of rais­ing beef al­most make me sick. Sure, we were do­ing all we could for the an­i­mal, but I some­times think it would have been more humane to have shot her in the pas­ture. What mis­ery she suf­fered as we loaded her and hauled her to town was pretty sick­en­ing to me. The vet gave her a pain shot and di­ag­nosed the in­jury as a shoul­der out of the socket. Took some time and two strong men, but he got it back in place. We took her home and I made sure we took plenty of pain meds for her.

It is my opin­ion, and ev­ery­one has one, this job is not for a sissy. I have been through some rough spots but, when the an­i­mal hurts, so do I. I’m not talk­ing about the brand­ing, cas­tra­tions, in­jec­tions and reg­u­lar stuff. I mean the re­ally hurt­ing things. I will do what I can for the wel­fare of all our an­i­mals and you can bet I won’t ever al­low one to hurt un­nec­es­sar­ily!

Pol­ish your boots, spring is here and you know a young man’s fancy turns to spark­ing!

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