There indeed is a silver lining to many clouds floating by, even on a rainy old Monday. As I drove away from the office one recent Monday just before 5 p.m., I had quite a fide to get to my last appointment of the day. I was not looking forward to rush hour traffic, so I decided to head south of Kansas Highway 10 on Kill Creek Rd. I knew I could skirt just west and south of Olathe and then east of Gardner on the back roads.
Soon after I chose my route, the rain began to fall in earnest.
I was headed out to near Bonita, south of Olathe, just off the railroad right of way. A client who I will call Sue had a horse needing a vaccination, deworming and teeth floating. What made this call special was not only the horse but the client. You see the horse was a cantankerous, a 6-year-old, which was part thoroughbred, part shire draft horse. My patient was 17 hand, 2 inches tall, which makes her 80 inches at the withers with an attitude to boot. The last time I saw her, she pinned my foot and throw me backwards in to the gravel parking lot. For the first time in my life I saw stars in broad daylight and heard a bell ringing in my head. The goose egg on my skull should have had professional attention. But that afternoon, my wife and I were heading south to watch our son’s basketball game so I just bit my tongue a lot. I typed in the four numbers to the key pad entry at the front gate and let myself in. From the looks of things, I figured the locked gate indicated the horse flesh within might just be of greater value than my term life and my melting IRA. As I pulled up to the barn, Sue was not in sight and neither was anyone else. Just me and the hayburners. It was quite peaceful to say the least and the stress of the day seemed to melt way until I caught a glimpse of her.
Sue and her teenage daughter, Sara, drove in a short while later and bid me a grand greeting. You see, Sue happens to be the longest standing client I have had since coming to the big city. I’ve known her longer than I’ve known my lovely wife. Her former husband was my CPA when we didn’t know sic 'em about expenses and taxes. Sue is special and also is the “hugginist” woman I know.
As she walked in the door, I turned to the matter at hand and I heard a, “now,where are you going? Come here I need a real greeting.” Sue wrapped me up tight as if my mother herself had done it. That also relieved the stress, and I began to feel maybe I could tackle this equine of hers with a bit more confidence.(It’s amazing what a good hug does for a person. Try it some time.)
Well, we got the horse tied up in the cross ties.It’s an apparatus that ties or hooks lead ropes on either side of the horse’s head. This sometimes takes the edge off the critter. It wasn’t working yet. I did get the mare vaccinated in between its rearing up and then drew blood for a coggins test on the fourth try as she continued to rear. Sue then requested we get her teeth floated, a filing procedure used to smooth the points of horse’s molar teeth and thus improving the contact with the bit during riding. As I got a bit closer to her, she gave me a little love bite, nearly taking my ear off. As blood began to flow and my ear warmed and burned, Sue ran to get something to stop the bleeding. I continued to assure her all was fine and having resigned myself to this type of treatment from this horse. But Sue was not going to let my care go unattended. As I let the affects of a sedative work on the horse, Sue held a compress to my bleeding ear. We talked about old times ,kids and church. Man, one could not help but love this woman. “Good as new,” I told her. “No more bleeding.”
I reassured Sue I was HIV negative and she walloped me on the back and let out one of her contagious laughs. I looked at her and embellished, “if it were not for you, Sue, and your daughter, I’m not sure this horse would get the care she needs or the love”.
As I gathered up all my equipment and medicine, I could hear that old tune of the late 1960s, “What the world needs now is love sweet love; it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of... “
Sue met me with that wonderful smile and arms that reach out to bear hug me again. Somehow,the world just got a little smaller and simpler just then.
Don’t forget to hug your neighbor, love one another, and especially your pet today. (even if it’s a great big old horse.) It’s what the world really needs now.