Friday, September 3, 2010

Two goats, Two trucks, and 2 am

I am a large animal vet and this Monday I received a call from a sweet elderly lady who was distressed about her two goats whom had been attacked by a dog.  She lived an hour away, but I was covering emergency on-call for her normal vet.  After arriving, I inspected both goats and although they had some wounds they were stable and relatively unscathed for what they had gone through.  I finished working and started to leave.  It was dark by this time and I drove off the normal path out of the pasture.  Suddenly, I realize my tires are starting to spin and I am no longer making forward progress.  It is at this moment that I realize that my truck does not have 4-wheel drive.  My last vet truck had 4-wheel drive and I hadn't thought about wether this truck had it until I needed it.  The client's neighbors were there and the tried to pull me out with their truck, but it did not have 4-wheel drive either and was not powerful enough.  AAA was called, the neighbors went home, and I went inside with the client to wait for the tow truck.  The lady was nice and fed me ice cream and turned on a Sandra Bullock movie.  She keep saying how much she liked Sandra Bullock.
The tow truck got there in pretty good time.  The man who stepped out of the truck looked he was related to Mario or Luigi from Nintendo.  He quickly told us that he probably would not drive his truck back to where my truck was because he did not want it to also get stuck.  He and I walked back through her backyard to the pasture where the goats were.  On one side of the gate (just inside the fence) was a septic tank, and on the other side of the gate was a tortoise hole.  He 'umm'd and 'haw'd, and when we made it back to the house he said that unless the lady signed a damage release form he was not driving back there.  He said he was quite certain that his truck would collapse into the septic tank and that it had just happened to him the week before.  The lady looked at me and asked if she should sign it.  I did not want to tell her to sign it and then have the tow truck cave in her septic tank.  The towing man asked if we knew anyone with a 4-wheel drive that lived around here.  I did not know anyone who lived here and the lady could not think of anyone wlth a 4-wheel drive.  The man left saying he was going to stop at the gas station and see if anyone was there who could/would help us.  The gas station was about 5-10 minutes away so we said okay and decided that he would call us either way.  We went back to watching the Sandra Bullock movie and waiting.  15-20 minutes went by and the man had not called so I called him.  He said that he had not had any luck finding anyone, which didn't suprise me, although I was not sure he even tried.  Either way, there would be no help for us that night.  The lady said that she would drive me home, and since my husband, Ericson, had just put Addison to sleep, I decided to take her up on her offer.
When we got in her car she fiddled around and announced that she was not sure when she last drove at night and that she was trying to figure out how to turn on the headlights.  Wondering weither it was worth trying to make it home that night, and trying not to look too concerned, I started to lean over and help her when she found them and switched them on.  On the way home she was asking me if I thought the gas stations would still be open for her to buy a coffee so she didn't fall asleep on the way home.  I was increasingly feeling worried about letting her drive by herself.  She also discovered that she had left her cell phone at home.  Since I have both a work and a personal phone, I left my personal cell phone with her in case anything happened and she needed help.  We got to talk about life in general, and besides worrying for her, I enjoyed the ride home.
The next day my boss informed me that another local vet lives out near this lady and that his vet truck had 4-wheel drive.  This vet, Dr. T.R. Baxter, called me soon after that and volunteered to help pull out my truck.  He had an appointment in Gainesville and he picked me up afterward.  I had met Dr. Baxter at our meeting to schedule the shared on-call, but I didn't really know him.  He turned out to be a nice guy and had a heart for missions.  Once a year, until this year, he had been going down to Nicaragua and helping several villages with their animals.  He and some others had trained some local people to be vet technicians and they were helping the people learn how to use local resources to treat their animals.  This is something that I would love to do someday.  In the last year or two he had introduced a vet to the area that moved down there with his familly and planned to stay as a long-term missionary.
When we got to the lady's house Dr. Baxter started working on pulling my truck out.  He had my truck half way out of the sand when he had to reposition his truck because of a fence.  Once he reattched our trucks together and he started pulling again, his 4-wheel drive stopped working .  As quick as lightning, his truck was also stuck.  Now I was feeling really bad!  Dr. Baxter said not to worry and that he had called his nephew who was coming to pull us both out.  As I was standing around looking at two Ford trucks stuck in sand, I thought this would be a good commerical for a Chevy truck to come and save the day.  As it happend, the nephew also had a Ford which pulled both of our trucks out quickly enough.
This is how I was responsible for two trucks getting stuck and for an elderly lady staying up later than she had in awhile.


  1. Wow, sounds like an exciting 24 hours! I thought you were going to say you invited your client to spend the night at your house. :) I didn't know you were a vet!

  2. I think I did invite her to stay but she wanted to get back home. I am mostly a large animal vet although I do a very small amount of dogs and cats.