Trask didn’t draw much attention to himself, except with cars. He drove a magnificent Ford F-250, loaded with the necessities a vet like him might need. Somehow, that truck always seemed to be spotless, and he traded it in faithfully every two years.
Most vets have either small/companion animal practices, or large animal practices. Large animal can be separated further into livestock, like cattle and pigs, and equine.Out of necessity, Trask was a generalist. There are very few vets in the isolated farm counties on the Colorado and Kansas border, and even fewer who will travel. Trask looked at everything with four feet, and even some with two.
We were talking one night about our respective jobs. We both really enjoy ours, but encounter considerable frustration from time to time. The wonderful parts though, those were the most fun to share.
“Trask,” I asked him one night, “What’s the best part of your job?” In response, he sent me a series of pictures, with a commentary.
“One night I was called to a foaling. It was a maiden mare, her first time out. She had been straining more than the usual hour or so, and the owners called me in a panic. They had seen what they thought were the hind hooves, and suspected that the foal was breech. Most foaling happens between about 10 pm and four am, so I knew we were in for a long night. In a breech position, my help is needed to rotate the hips, the widest portion of the foal, through the birth canal. The mare was skittish, but I didn’t want to tranquilize her. I washed up, and gently reached up to grasp the foal’s feet and hindquarters. I had to do this several times, as the mare had difficulty expelling the foal. The owners were calm, and engaged with what was going on.
I read on, riveted.
Eventually, I re-positioned the foal, and got the head and shoulders out. Often, then, the mare will take a minute to rest. The rest of the foal came out, no problem.”
I gazed at the shots of the baby horse standing on rickety legs, Trask hovering protectively by. Amazing. A new life in the world.
“What happened next?”
“Well, we waited for a couple of hours for the placenta. It didn’t come out by itself, so I’m glad I was there. “
“You mean the owners were lucky you were there. ”
“Perhaps. I get too much credit for what I do. Most of these things will take care of themselves. But a ‘retained placenta’ can be very dangerous. When it didn’t make an appearance after a nearly two hours, I removed it, and now both the mare and the foal are doing very well.”
I looked at the pictures of the modest Trask and the beautiful mare and foal.
“What’s it’s name?”
“Who’s? The owners names are Rosanna and Dan. They named the foal Nash.”
“That’s incredible. That’s awesome. After all these years, do you still get filled with a sense of wonder, of awe, every time you help with a birth?”
“Yes, Victoria, I do. Every. Single. Time.”